FOLKY-jazz duo The Bean Project likes to see their audiences’ smiling faces.
Hailing from the Dandenongs, guitarist Ben Langdon and French horn player Bryce Turcato are steadily climbing the Melbourne gigging scene, but can’t get enough of the intimate venues their sound resonates so well with.
“You can make a huge venue feel intimate if you’re engaging with the audience. But with small venues there’s something about connecting with people – it’s the same thing as talking to people really. It’s a means of conversing,” Langdon said.
“I like being able to see people’s faces really.”
While the pair had known each other for years and had played in bigger groups, it was only later that a two-piece project came to mind.
The pair has just finished studying music at university – albeit at different institutions – but have been playing together for two years after discovering a synergy between them.
“We found that out by accident and it’s not even necessarily that we listen to the same stuff or write the same stuff or play the same stuff; we just like playing together,” Langdon said.
“We tried it at one of our local venues and we looked at each other at the end of the set and said ‘I actually really enjoyed that’.”
The Bean Project got its first break when it won the 2014-15 FReeZA Battle of the Bands competition, leading to gigs with Melbourne alternative acts like The Woohoo Revue.
Its unique but eclectic sound is complemented by Turcato’s French horn, giving the pair a point of difference in an industry already crowded with talent.
Of course, getting ahead is not always easy when you’re still a student – but the duo credits the foresty surrounds of Belgrave, where they live with their parents, with giving them the serenity and space to create.
“During this entire year of studying, we both had part-time jobs and were trying to make this band work and do as many gigs as possible while doing essays and trying to be good students,” Langdon said.
“It’s been juggling those that’s the difficult thing...but I think my parents are kind of looking at their watches now.”
The Bean Project will play at Babushka Lounge on Friday January 22.
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