INTERVIEW: Beabadoobee and her most personal and genuine record so far

With her latest single ‘Care’ from her upcoming debut record, Fake It Flowers, indie singer-songwriter Beabadoobee talks about her most personal record yet, her musical influences, and how it feels to work alongside her heroes The 1975.

Beabadoobee doesn’t want your sympathy.

“Stop sayin’ you give a shit, because you don’t really care!,” she sings in the pre-chorus of her newest track, ‘Care’, the rock anthem that would definitely feel right at home in your summer soundtrack playlist, and the lead single from her upcoming debut album, Fake It Flowers.

Also read: Beabadoobee shares brand new single ‘Care’ from her upcoming debut album

With her very first studio album, the Filipino-born, British singer-songwriter hopes that it will shed light into who she is as a person as the record is her most honest and personal one yet.

Upon the first listen of ‘Care’, Bea Kristi wears her musical influences on her sleeve, with the song taking listeners back to the alt rock sound that has dominated during the late 90s and early 00’s. It belongs in a coming-of-age film from that era, perfectly capturing that moment in time to the point that it had never left us.

The song, and the album, is the culmination of Bea’s musical journey as an artist, with her musicality having evolved all those three years ago from her humble beginnings as a bedroom pop artist and her first song, ‘Coffee’.

The intimate track, which sees the young vocalist playing guitar and singing an incredibly catchy chorus about preparing coffee for her significant other, may be familiar to TikTok users as it has gained popularity thanks to Canadian artist Powfu’s lo-fi hip-hop remix titled ‘death bed (coffee for your head)’.

More than just a TikTok viral sensation, however, Bea has already achieved more than what many could possibly dream of but not before going through obstacles that some would find all too relatable. Being Asian and having moved to London at a very young age, to an all-girls school of all places, Bea Kristi has struggled to find acceptance among her peers, a sense of belonging that many long for after being away from home.

It was only until after she grabbed a guitar and discovered her knack for songwriting that she found her own creative outlet to make sense of her experiences.

After crafting gems such as the aforementioned ‘Coffee’ and a chilling rendition of ‘The Moon Song’ by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, she has gained the attention of the label Dirty Hit, the very same label where her heroes The 1975 are currently signed to.

Not only would she meet the band that had defined her teenage years, but she would support them on their Music for Cars Tour in the UK leg in February before the coronavirus swept in and caused the tour to be on indefinite hold.

Bea would even go on to meet Stephen Malkmus, frontman of indie rock group Pavement and a hero that she has referred to in countless interviews, even going so far as to name a song after him in her critically-acclaimed EP Space Cadet.

With five EPs under her music belt and being nominated for the Rising Star Award in this year’s Brit Awards, she is definitely one artist to look out for. AsiaLive365 decided to have a chat to discuss about her upcoming release and future plans moving forward after lockdown.

AL365: Hey! Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions with AsiaLive365. How are you and what have you been up to during this crazy time of year?

Beabadoobee: I’ve been staying in a studio house with my band, and Matty and George [Matthew Healy and George Daniel of The 1975], just recording music for the next release after this album.

AL365: Your musical journey has taken you to great places in a short amount of time! I mean, it’s been a crazy 2-3 years for you hasn’t it? Such as meeting your heroes The 1975, and even performing for legendary indie rock group Pavement at a gig.

Bea: It’s honestly the coolest experience because, it’s funny I was telling Matty [of The 1975] this yesterday, how he was like my teenage band. The band I was listening to when I was a teenage girl and how it was the soundtrack to that era of my life! It was crazy how it can go from that to living in a house with him and making music. Sometimes you’d forget that you were even obsessed with a band when now you have a different relationship to them. I just look up to him and think he’s a legend.

The same goes for Stephen Malkmus for Pavement. Well actually, not really, I’m still super starstruck! But it’s crazy and how the cicrcle of life is pretty cool with how that just happens.

AL365: How did it feel to meet Matt Healy for the first time?

Bea: I met him really briefly at my first show, and then I met him again to the London Fashion Awards. It was really fun and made me realize how much of a cool and chill guy he is!

Photo by: Callum Harrison

AL365: How has the creative process for your upcoming album, Fake It Flowers, been like during quarantine?

Bea: Well I fortunately finished Fake It Flowers before corona happened, but during lockdown, it was quite hard to even think about writing music when you’re not going outside and experiencing things. I did have a lot of time to think about and get over a lot of things, and just fix the relationships that were broken because of me being away so often due to touring.

I think the lockdown, with me being in my house and with my own feelings, made me just go inside my mind a lot and pick out little things to sort out which at times didn’t need picking but at times it did. It was definitely needed and I had to write songs from that place.

AL365: Your music has always felt personal and your latest single, ‘Care’, is no exception. What’s the story behind it?

Bea: Basically, it’s just the frustration I feel with everyone around me. I struggle with understanding that people can never fully understand me because they can never go through what happened in my life to be like ‘Oh no, I get why you act like this’. It’s mostly people just feeling sorry for me. It’s me saying I don’t want your sympathy, I want you to listen to me and understand why the actions that happened to me as a child really affected me as a young woman today. Writing the song, and taking something so sad and sensitive, and making it sonically positive, bright and fun, has really helped me get over the fact that sometimes not everyone is going to understand you. Taking all that anger out really helped clear out my head.

AL365: When I listen to your music, it has this very nostalgic 90s sound. Were you always focused in heading towards this direction ever since your first bedroom pop hit single ‘Coffee’?

Bea: I’ve always loved that type of music, most of the music I’ve listened to is from that era. The same goes for when I wrote ‘Coffee’. At the beginning, I really loved Daniel Johnston, Elliot Smith, and Kimya Dawson of Moldy Peaches. Even The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel! It was mostly a mixture of music before I started discovering music from the 90s like Pavement, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Veruca Salt, Alanis Morisette, all the music I grew up to and realizing its the music I’m obsessed with now. That happened later on in my career, and I think it really shows because the influences are more obvious in my music now.

AL365: What were you listening to when developing your album?

Bea: For the album, I was listening to a lot of female-led bands such as Alanis Morisette, Suzanna Vega, The Cranberries, The Cardigans, Veruca Salt. There was also K’s Choice, and Snow Patrol. The movie But I’m a Cheerleader has a cool soundtrack which had female bands from that era.

AL365: Taking all that into consideration, what can we expect from the album?

Bea: I think the whole idea behind the album is everything I was suppose to tell someone but couldn’t. So every song is very personal and honest in its own way. That’s why it’s quite daunting releasing it because it’s a genuine and sincere piece of music. It talks about the entirety of my life and sonically I feel like it goes to songs from ‘Coffee’ which was very acoustic-driven with just me and my guitar to Space Cadet where it’s with a whole band. When I made the album, I wanted to make sure there was a song for everyone and for every mood. When I had so much feelings writing it, I experience so much after tour and I think it really matured me.

AL365: Were there any difficulties producing the record?

Bea: I think in terms of writing there are some songs I probably can’t sing live because they are too sad. There are definitely some songs in my discography that I can never sing live because it just triggers me too much. There are songs where it’s so brutally honest that whoever I made that song about is going to find out it’s about them. They’ll probably message me and say ‘This song is about me’.

AL365: What would you do then if they really did find out?

Bea: I’d…freak out. I’d just be like “No it’s not.” (laughs)

AL365: How did it feel to grow up in London, away from home?

Bea: It was definitely culture shock. There was a lot of differences in my school. It was an all-girl school and predominantly white, and very intense for someone who looks like me. i used to have really bad social anxiety, and I didn’t accept myself and tried to change myself to fit in with these girls. Now, it made me realize how important my culture is and how grateful I am in being who I am. It was very hard, but that’s all about growing and understanding one’s self and coming into terms. Its kinda fuckin’ sick being Asian 🙂 .

AL365: We all go through social anxiety in our lives. Anything you would like to say to fans who are struggling to overcome such struggles?

Bea: I think my tips aren’t very good, like how I get rid of it is just get super drunk and then just talk (laughs). But I think once you start accepting yourself, naturally you become confident in the way you speak and interact with people. Just finding love within yourself rather than depending what other people think of you. Feeling comfortable with who you really are really takes time. Spending a lot of time by yourself helps. It’s a bit daunting but you forget that its quite therapeutic. People can get really freakin’ annoying sometimes and you wanna get away from everything.

AL365: Looking ahead, who would you love to collaborate with?

Bea: I’d love to work with Alex G, he’s such an amazing singer and songwriter. I know this guy named Angelo De Augustine, I feel like his melodies are amazing. I’d love to work with him. Now this next one, I’m pushing, he would be an absolute dream to work with and that would be Stephen Malkmus of Pavement. Also Miki Berenyi of Lush, who’s also Asian and super badass.

AL365: What has been your favorite moment this year, despite the coronavirus taking over our lives?

Bea: This year has been one of the best times I’ve ever had living in a house with my best friends, and George and Matty from 1975, writing new music and one of the best experiences in life I’ve ever had. There were loads of really fun and shitty times during quarantine but I haven’t had a single rainy day.

AL365: What would you love to do once this lockdown fiasco is over?

Bea: I’d love to perform with my band and play some new songs, that’s the one thing I can’t wait, playing to a crowd and hear them sing along. It’s the idea of normality and seeing friends and going to parties.

AL365: Any plans to tour around Asia?

Bea: Oh man, I would love to. Honestly, that place is home for me. It’s the one place I’d go to and play my songs.

AL365: If a fan came up to you and asked for record recommendation, what would be one album you would recommend and why?

Bea: I would probably say Autolux’s ‘Plantlife’ from their album Future Perfect or Duster’s Contemporary Movement. Fuckin’ amazing records. Duster is super lo-fi and grungy whereas Autolux is quite well produced.

AL365: Any last words you’d like to say about the album?

Bea:  I guess I’m just excited for it to come out. Hopefully if it relates to one person out of a million, then I guess I’ve done my job properly. I would be happy. Just a warning that it’s very honest and personal and can get TMI.

AL365: Once again, thank you so much for taking the time. You’ve deserve all the success coming your way, and looking forward to the album!

For more Beabadoobee, check her out Space Cadet EP on Spotify below.

Cover photo by: Callum Harrison





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