Virtual Session: Beabadoobee

Beatrice Laus, known as Beabadoobee joined us from London to talk to Mary Lucia about her influences, what led her to writing music, and her thoughts on Charlie Brown. (MPR)

Mary Lucia: Hey guys it's Mary Lucia and I'm so happy to be hosting this virtual session with an artist that we just started playing this year, Beabadoobee. B, how are you?

Beabadoobee: Hello I'm good thanks, how are you?

I'm fine, I have so many things I want to ask you. But first, here you were at the beginning of the year January 2020 working on this new album having all of these appearances lined up, Coachella, all this stuff and then wham bam thank you ma'am a little bit of a pandemic kind of screwed that up. So what did that do to you mentally like, did you...did it make you just feel like, "Oh lord, the momentum was going and now what?"

Beabadoobee: It was strange like I, I honestly thought like, "This is gonna be my year." Like I was so excited, for, you know, everything that was going to happen but I think I really needed time. Obviously, of course like, corona is terrible but I think quarantine really helped me kind of go through things that happened on tour and just kind of get over that. There was a lot of healing I had to do because I you know I went like, it went from like playing a few shows and going to the U.S. and touring and then two other tours straight after and it was super intense and I think if you know none of this would have happened and I went to Coachella and I did all these amazing things obviously it would still be amazing but I think I wouldn't have time to be in reality again.

Like I missed my mom, I missed my dad, and I missed my brother, and I missed my friends and my boyfriend and you know things happened on tour that I needed to get over and I was like coming into terms of things that would have that happened to me as a child and kind of going over that which helped me write the album. It was, overall, it was really a positive outcome because it helped me mentally.

And you did openings for The 1975 which I would imagine that was sort of a big arena. I don't want to make you relive what what was hurtful about it but, was it something that came unexpected that you thought, "Oh man is this part of the deal?"

Beabadoobee: Oh it was, I honestly the one thing that I loved about tour was literally playing. I loved playing, I loved hanging out with my band, I loved the shows. I think it was just the mistakes I made as an individual. I was just trying to figure myself out, I was really excited about everything, but then you know that tour specifically, that 1975 tour was the best tour ever. The boys were so amazing, the crowds were so welcoming and I finally felt comfortable on the stage despite it being such a huge stage, but it was so empowering it was amazing. I miss live shows so much. I want to play live so badly.

Having this time then to add to the record Fake It Flowers, have you pushed the release date back or is it still just for later this year?

Beabadoobee: Oh it's still full yes it's getting released at the same day October 16th. I finished the album before lockdown, when lockdown happened in London I had to record one of the songs at my boyfriend's house on a four track cassette recorder which was super fun. It was pretty much done and mixed. Mastering happened in the space of lockdown but I'm super proud of it, and time-wise nothing's changed. I feel like it's given us, it's given me especially more time to kind of think about the creative vision of it. I lived at my boyfriend's house and he directs all my music videos and we pretty much inspire each other so we kind of collaborated and I really thought about what I wanted the whole vibe and aesthetic of the of the album Fake It Flowers would be and especially "Care". It actually turned out pretty okay.

It's interesting because a lot of artists who finish an album don't really have any time to reflect because they're immediately out
promoting it and playing it live and maybe you've had that luxury if you will of being able to sort of visualize these
songs and how you want them to come off live and that's something that maybe a lot of artists don't normally get to have.

Beabadoobee: Yeah no especially like I've definitely had that luxury to just live within my album and really think about the
songs and you know think about the visual side and now I'm like rehearsing again. I've had so much time to rehearse all these album
songs with my band and perfecting it so when we go back into live shows like it's going to sound as perfect as I want it to be. It's been a really nice kind of you know appreciating everything that's happened so far and I don't think, I feel like I hadn't I haven't done that
for a while because I was everything was just going so fast and then all of a sudden there's all this time to kind of just sit back and just you know be really happy and content I guess.

So you are going to play a song, this is Beabadoobee it's a virtual session on The Current.

[Music: "Sorry" by Beabadoobee]

That was Beabadoobee doing "Sorry" for The Current virtual sessions and that will appear on the new full-length debut album called Fake
It Flowers in October. I want to know more about you, you have a very interesting backstory and I always find it very interesting when a person, a young person, has a real affinity for - in your case - some of that Sub Pop, that cool stuff that's not always expected that someone like you would go yeah Pavement, Stephen Malkmus, he's like, you know. He's it. So where did all that music just come through to you like what was your resource? Internet?

Beabadoobee: It was definitely the internet. But it was just the people I knew as well, like I found Pavement through my boyfriend's brother who showed me Pavement and I was like obsessed with the band straight away and I think the music my mom used to play in the background of my childhood just stayed with me. You know, like The Cranberries, but then also The Cardigans and Alanis Morissette and just amazing women and I recently got into them and just from that like it's through the internet I see like all these little strands of other eyes like I found Liz Phair and I found Juliana Hatfield and then found Veruca Salt and Sonic Youth and you know these amazing bands. But yeah it's definitely internet and people I know.

And you started playing violin and at what point were you like, "No I need a guitar?"

Beabadoobee: It wasn't, I guess I was playing but it was not forced, but I feel like it was definitely that thing, I was a stereotypical Asian child doing so many clubs and and playing violin and I wanted to be a doctor and I had all this pressure and then thankfully my parents kind of loosened up a bit and just like let me drop all the clubs I was doing and I dropped violin. I was just getting super stressed and super anxious and then it took a few years for me to get on guitar like it took me um like all throughout high school and a year of sixth form and also getting kicked out of sixth form and then being able to play the guitar because I had nothing else to do and my Dad was like, "Oh my god you look so bored here's a guitar just play it because you look so sad." And I was like, "Yeah true." And then I guess I think having that history of playing violin and because not being forced to do all these clubs I guess I was super into learning how to play guitar and it was super familiar to me already because of the violin.

And then you, I love the fact too that you, like anybody, you you learned how to play guitar from YouTube tutorials. What was the first song that you thought, "All right I've got to learn the chords."?

Beabadoobee: This is so funny, but it was "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer and if you listen carefully they're very similar chords to the first song I ever wrote on guitar which was "Coffee". I'm a visual learner so if I typed in like, how to play Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer I'd watch how the person would play, they could have how they play the chords and then mimic it and then just find my own way of playing it and you know I don't know any chord names still, I just like know the shape of my fingers that I play them in um but I guess it works.

I don't know any guitar players that know how to read music. Do you know how to read music from violin?

Beabadoobee: No I used to be so good at reading music but I think maybe because I was reading strings and I couldn't read it, yeah I mean I used to do it so well when I was a kid but for some reason I've just forgotten, it sucks.

No I think the brain eliminates what it doesn't need it's like I don't need you anymore you know I'll figure this out I'll figure this out on my own yeah so when okay so you also recorded in Abbey Road what was that one like?

Beabadoobee: That was insane because I'm a massive Beatles fan, like one of the second posters I ever got in my room. I have like all of their albums on cassette so I went into Abbey Road and I was like "Aaaaahhhh!" And there was a picture I think of Paul and George I think it was George by these steps in the room I was recording in and I was like oh my god they're literally like, yeah it was it was was pretty wild.

I mean you know to go from, like, most artists are making their records at home or in a basement studio or a home studio, and then getting the opportunity not only to go into a studio but then you're going into Abbey Road. Did you feel ghosts in there?

Beabadoobee: Dude it was I honestly cannot remember like I went out the night before so I was not hungover but I was just super...I was in a weird head space and to go into Abbey Road like probably being awake for like 24 hours. I walked in I was like, this is wild. I did feel like a ghost but I think I felt like a ghost before I even entered.

Yeah, oh god yeah.

Beabadoobee: It was crazy. It was so fun, I recorded a cover of "Don't You Forget About Me" with my band and I was like, I don't want to leave.

Have you seen the Martin Scorsese, Living in the Material World with the George Harrison documentary?

[Beabadoobee] No I haven't, I haven't.

Girlllll, girl listen.

Beabadoobee: I'm gonna write that down.

It's religion. I'm telling you it is called Living in the Material World. Martin Scorsese directed it, it's really thorough, it's, I watch it, it's like I don't know if you have movies or documentaries that you will literally almost like books you'll go back to every couple of months yeah remember exactly how it makes you feel you have to rent this and then you have to let me know how changed a person.

Beabadoobee: Oh my god okay that sounds so fun you're making me so want to watch it right now.

I'm telling you right now it is, I could give you a thousand, it's so comprehensive because obviously, and he's my favorite Beatle by the way.

Beabadoobee: Yeah same totally.

So you're gonna do a second song for us here in the virtual session and and which song is that gonna be?

Beabadoobee: It's gonna be Care my new single off Fake It Flowers.

This is Beabadoobee, this is the virtual sessions here at The Current and the song is Care.

[Music: "Care" by Beabadoobee]

You just heard the song "Care" by Beabadoobee this is The Current virtual sessions and that is a song that will appear on the forthcoming debut album Fake It Flowers in October. B, you know who I think is one of the coolest dudes and I think you think is one of the coolest dudes? Mac DeMarco.

Beabadoobee: He's so cool.

Isn't he?

Beabadobee: Yeah, he's so sweet.

Yeah he's real! And you met him you met him in a professional context or social context or...

Beabadoobee: I think it was both, I supported him with my band at his show and we were geeking out because you're like, oh my god like literally my like adolescent soundtrack was Mac DeMarco and then it was super fun. We went out afterwards to karaoke bar and he did a stick and poke on my arm I still have I was going to get on my forehead because I was so drunk I was like, "Do it on my forehead!"

Yeah that's a good idea.

Beabadoobee: But it's literally still in my arm.


Beabadoobee: It's an alien.

And what song did he sing at karaoke, do you remember?

Beabadoobee: Honestly I know I don't know but I just remember getting stick and poke in this karaoke bar in Dublin.

Yeah what's this what's the significance of Charlie Brown to you?

Beabadoobee: It was the far, like the first time people really delved into the idea of mental health, but portrayed it in a a way that is super easy to understand and I think it's just so pure and innocent and just real. Yeah man I yeah I remember going to the exhibition and being like, "This is amazing."

That is so cool well I, I also know that you're really interested in films and and it would be very I think it would be very probable that with your music and with the way you write and the way you sort of compose music that soundtrack should be in your future or at least I mean maybe somebody starts with just getting a song on a movie soundtrack which is incredible but if the goal or end goal for you is to get some soundtrack in let's just get cracking on that girl, cracking on that because that can be so rad.

Beabadoobee: I would love to. My dream is to be that band that plays in the end of a movie when the boy and the girls are at a party and then there's like a band that plays in the background or just being like the main soundtrack for a film like the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack by, it's called Black Sheep - that is such an amazing song I just... yeah man I would love to soundtrack a film that'd be a dream of mine.

The Juno soundtrack had such a profound effect on people, and you too right?

Beabadoobee: Oh yeah The Moldy Peaches, Kimya Dawson is like queen she's a queen.

Okay so tell me about what you like about Kimya Dawson because I'm not going to make any assumptions, but the simplicity and the purity of her writing and playing stuck out at that time, it was just like, "Wow this is really different." Is that what the appeal was to you at first?

Beabadoobee: Oh yeah definitely it was just like the kind of stripped back of the badness of it all like it was just was just so simple yet so endearing and it just makes you listen because her lyrics are just so honest and you know that they're not like fancy and they don't have the all these cool metaphors that people really think about. She just said what she thought in her head. I was never really good at english in my in in school and I couldn't write that well but when I write songs I tend to just say things that come straight up my head and you know when I found The Moldy Peaches it was like, that's okay. It sounds freaking cool, it sounds like I relate to this. I relate to what she's saying. She inspires me a lot very much.

And I would imagine similarly Daniel Johnston.

Beabadoobee: Oh yeah.

For a number of reasons yes, but again the simplicity and the complete purity of what came out of his mouth. Do you have that pad of paper that I told you about the George Harrison? You've seen The Devil Inside Daniel Johnston? Crazy crazy good.

[Beabadoobee] Yeah he's a legend dude I've, I've got a tattoo of an art artwork of his, the eyebrow.

Hi how are you? Oh the eyeball, oh yes, oh my god. Well I am super excited. So the release of Fake It Flowers, the debut full length is going to be coming out in October so I just thank you so much for doing this and have you been doing a lot of these janky zoom things with people? It's weird, just let's just call it like it is. This is just weird if you and I were in the room together, I don't know, I think it would be a whole different experience but this is kind of weird.

Beabadoobee: It's so weird but I guess it's also really pure. I don't know, it's also nice doing it from home as well but then it is also really strange, I would so prefer if we could see each other in real life and wouldn't have that weird thing like, we're not allowed to hug and we have to like stay away from each other. I miss...I miss like touch and I miss meeting people and I miss stuff like that so badly.

I hear ya, well thank you B you're a delight and I can't wait to see what you do in the future and let's just hope that 2021 is like the ass-kicking year that you deserve and uh thank you so much for chatting with me.

Beabadoobee: Thank you, thanks for having me thank you everyone.

Songs Performed

06:08 Sorry
17:03 Care


Host - Mary Lucia
Technical Director - Erik Stromstad
Producer - Jesse Wiza

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