Photo by Greg Wong
Growing up in Toronto, Canada, Jordan Miller never dreamed of headlining tours, sharing a stage with the Rolling Stones and the Foo Fighters, or having her music listened to by millions of people all over the world. She simply wanted to start a band with her sister and friends in order to have fun. Now, over a decade after she first picked up the bass and formed her band, The Beaches, they’re being heralded as one of the hottest rising acts. Credit their hit single, “Blame Brett,” that became the summer anthem of 2023, and their rocking sophomore album, Blame My Ex [AWAL]. She marvels, “I had no idea it would all lead to this! I thought I was going to go to university, so I focused on my math and science classes in high school. I wouldn’t have guessed that I would be playing bass full-time and touring with my band. I have to pinch myself.”
Serving as the vocalist on top of being the bassist for the outfit, Miller’s alto voice, dominant bass lines, and relatable lyrics have captivated fans who have embraced her pop rock sound—with over 10 million streams and counting. Her foundational and melodic bass work propels every song on the new album, along with stellar playing by her sister, guitarist Kylie Miller, keyboardist/guitarist Leandra Earl, and drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel. Sporting her collection of various P-Basses in the spotlight of their music videos and television appearances, like her idol Sting, Miller thrives on holding down the low end while engaging listeners with her vocal ability and charisma.
How does it feel to be unveiling your sophomore album to the world while riding this wave of festivals and millions of new listeners?
It’s absolutely thrilling. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. I’ve probably listened to this record once a day, for last couple months. I’m so proud of it.
What was the writing process like for this record?
It was long. We started writing the record about a year and a half ago. About five months into the writing process, I was broken up with and that obviously changed the direction of what this album was going to be about. It was such a painful experience, and the only thing that made me feel better was writing about what I was going through.
What were the studio sessions like?
The studio vibes varied day to day. Some days I would come in and share a funny anecdote about a bad date [“Blame Brett”], other days we would listen to songs we wanted to reference to get inspired [“Everything is Boring”], and sometimes I just need a therapy studio session [“Tree Falls”].
What was your bass approach on the record?
I know this is a simple answer, but I’ve always felt that the bass needs to support the rest of the song. That’s my thinking when I write my lines. I had a lot of fun collaborating with my bandmates and our producer Gus Van Gogh, and I’m very happy with what ended up on this music, bass-wise.
You’re partial to Precision basses.
I just think that they’re the coolest basses. You can use them for everything. They are simple, they are classic, and they sound good on everything.
“Blame Brett” is a major hit. How did that song come about?
We wrote “Blame Brett” sometime in January after I had been on a strange third date with someone who had just told me that he loved me. I immediately felt like I wasn’t ready to hear that because I wasn’t over my ex yet. I had this idea to write a song where I apologize to all of my future partners for not being emotionally available yet—with the joke being, Don’t blame me, blame my ex-boyfriend!
How do you record your bass and get your sound?
I usually go direct through a Tech 21 SansAmp, with a Rat distortion pedal and an Empress compressor. I have two signals, the other one goes into a Neve DI.
What are your thoughts on singing and playing at the same time?
It’s very difficult! I usually start by committing my bass parts to muscle memory so I can focus on singing. It’s strange because once I’ve done this, I won’t remember the lyrics to my songs unless I’m playing the bass at the same time. Brains are weird.
How and when did you first start playing bass?
I strated out on guitar at about six years old. When my sister began playing guitar a year later and surpassed me, I switched to bass so that we could play together.
What is a Beaches show like from your perspective?
It’s an experience! We want people to come to our show and be wowed. To achieve this we practice almost every day, we plan out our outfits, our blocking, and our lights, so that the show flows and tells a story. For every tour we change the set and change the vibe. When I’m on stage I’m honestly trying to stay present and pay attention to what Eliza’s doing on the drums. If I’m feeling a little nervous, I’ll try to focus on details in the audience so that my brain calms down and I revert to muscle memory. That way I don’t forget what my hands or mouth are supposed to be doing.
You and Eliza have been working as a rhythm section for a decade now. It must feel natural.
The most natural. I don’t really like to play with any other drummers. They just aren’t as talented and tight as she is.
You’ve shared a stage with Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, Alanis Morrisette, and other big artists. What have those experiences been like?
They were incredible. Sometimes I feel like I have to pinch myself. We’ve obviously worked very hard to get where we are, but I still feel unbelievably blessed for the opportunities to perform with such legends.
Who are your main bass influences?
I love Sting! I approach songwriting and playing in a similar way to him. I also adore Jesse Keeler from Death From Above. He’s a monster on the bass.
Why bass? How does it resonate with your personality?
I think those of us who play bass and sing very much need to be in control. You’re in charge of directing the rhythm and melody. So, take what you will from that [laughs].
What’s your advice for young musicians?
Practice, practice, practice. But also start a band with people you really like, because you’re going to be spending a lot of time together. –BM
Hear Her On: The Beaches, Blame My Ex 
Basses American Fender Precision Bass
Rig Ampeg SVT head, SVT 810 Cabinet
Strings Ernie Ball Medium-Scale Slinky Bass [.45-.65-.85-.105]
Effects Rat Distortion, Empress Effects Compressor
Picks “Whatever I can find in my back pocket.”
Follow Jordan: Here
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