Music Critic Minnie Life sits down with up-and-coming Beabadoobee to discuss lockdown, her musical inspirations, and not fully understanding how to use Tik Tok

Third year student currently studying American and Canadian Studies. I enjoy writing about music, film and culture!
Images by Dirty Hit

At age 17 Bea Kristi (known to most as Beabadoobee) started writing and recording her own music. After her first ever song ‘Coffee’ started to receive positive feedback when she uploaded it to soundcloud back in 2017, she decided to keep going. A Dirty Hit recording contract, 4 EPs, and a Tik Tok viral hit later, she’s ready to release her debut album Fake It Flowers. Now aged 20 she is a lively and interesting presence in the indie rock scene and has made a name for herself by writing heartfelt and honest accounts of her relationships, friendships and her mental health. She’s toured with the likes of Mac Demarco, Clairo and the 1975, and is embarking on a headline tour of her own next year. On Tuesday the 13th of October I sat down to chat with her over the phone about lockdown, her musical inspirations, and not fully understanding how to use Tik Tok.

So, you’ve probably had this question a million times, but how has lockdown been? Has it been a creative time, or just a restful one?

It’s been a lot of focus on prepping for this album. At the beginning of lockdown, everyone was stuck at home. It was quite creative because I was living with my boyfriend and his brother and they’re a very creative combo, and all we did was brainstorm ideas for what we wanted Fake It Flowers to be like. I pretty much used all this time to kind of perfect the vision of Fake It Flowers really, and the aesthetic world I wanted it to be in.

Speaking of Fake It Flowers, which is out on the 16th of October, was there a specific message you wanted to convey with the album? Is there an overall story or idea that emerges for you when you look at this body of work as a whole?

it really does help, you know, to be happy and have a dance

I guess, you know, at the end of the day I wrote this album for myself and I felt like these songs were meant to be heard by my 15-year-old self specifically. Ideally, I wanted this album to be the album girls can dance to in their bedrooms. When I’m sad, I have this thing where I like to dance in my pants in front of my mirror. I can’t dance for shit really! But I put an album on and go crazy, and I want Fake It Flowers to be that album for anyone really. Because it really does help, you know, to be happy and have a dance. It does something to your endorphins or something.

Yeah no definitely, I agree! So, continuing along that line I guess, you were touring a lot early this year and last year. Has this lockdown been a welcome break from touring? Or are you excited to get back out there? As you said, you want this to be an album that people can dance to.

Yes! I think that Fake It Flowers will only thrive at its best when its being played live, and because of the situation we’re living in its a bit sticky isn’t it? But yeah no, I think I needed this time though with my family and my boyfriend. I think I had to fix relationships that I kind of left behind when I was away. I kind of lost myself a bit on tour, and after staying at home it made me realise how I wasn’t ready to go away for that long. I was going to be away for the majority of this year. It’s Crazy! I’m glad I had this time, but now I can’t wait to get back out there, whenever that is.

Absolutely, and continuing from that there’s a big conversation at the minute about the arts and how they’ve been handled during this crisis, especially concerning the live music scene. What are your thoughts, if you don’t mind giving them, as a musician about what’s going on at the minute?

It’s just embarrassing how people, the Government specifically, don’t take any of us seriously when we add like, 30 million or something to the economy. Fuck that Rishi guy! Fuck him! And it’s also really sad to see some of my favourite venues closing down. It just sucks man! I think, you know, the Government always talk about mental health but music and creativeness makes people happy! They’re forgetting that! It’s like, pinnacle in human life. You need to be creative, you need to be passionate. I don’t know man it makes me really angry, it pisses me off!

I 100% agree with you on that one! Moving on to a nicer topic, I’ve listened to the album and I think it’s great! As a long time listener, I noticed that your earlier EPs were much more rooted in bedroom pop. This album and your previous EP Space Cadet comparatively move much more into a rock sound. Is this where you feel musically more comfortable, or do you envision your musical style continuing to be in flux to some degree?

I am always never going to be satisfied, I am always going to want to know what will happen next and what I’m thinking of doing next. I feel like my growth as an artist is definitely not finished yet, I’m still going to grow. Fake It Flowers is me right now. During Space Cadet I was like “Oh my God this is me forever! I’m gonna have blue hair for the rest of my life!” and then I went on tour, and realised “Oh Fuck! I have no idea who I am!” and that’s why I wrote Fake It Flowers. I guess, I don’t know, maybe I’ll have like another mental breakdown and write another album that sounds like, still me, but like a different Bea in that time, you know?

Yeah sure! I’ve also seen you discuss before how much you like 90s culture, was that another reason for or influence upon Fake It Flowers at all?

I guess there is something about that era that is so … interesting and that I’m so drawn to because it was just so vibrant and raw and real

Yeah no definitely! I feel like everyone in society just glorifies the past. Like, people from the 90s loved the people and got inspired by the music from the 70s. It’s like now, you can see this trend happening of everyone just recreating 90s trends. I guess there is something about that era that is so, you know, interesting and that I’m so drawn to because it was just so vibrant and raw and real. The music, to the fashion, to the icons and to the movies. It would be stupid to ignore how iconic that time was! I never lived in that era, and I’m not saying “Oh my god I was born in the wrong time!”, I don’t wanna be that bitch! But it’s like, I love that time! I’m so inspired by it!

Yeah! When I was listening to the album there were certainly moments where I could practically see certain songs playing in a 90s coming of age film. So, I’m guessing this romanticised idea was an influence for you?

Oh yeah! Definitely! I was like, “Oh my god I want Fake It Flowers to be like, vibes.” Like cruising down a highway and it’s the end of a coming of age movie and you’re with you mates and you’re playing ‘Care’ (one of the tracks from Fake It Flowers). Thats the goal!

Yes! I really felt that when I was listening to the album! So, along the lines of generational trends, your song ‘Coffee’ saw a huge boost in streams from ‘deathbed’ by powfu blowing up on Tik Tok. We’re the same age, and I sort of feel like I missed the Tik Tok boat. Additionally, I don’t feel hugely tied to ‘Gen Z’, whilst you’re often very much labelled as a ‘Gen Z’ artist. How do you feel about that?

I mean, I don’t mind it. There are lots of good things about ‘Gen Z’ and how aware we are with certain things about the world, and how we use our platform for good. But at the same time, I do feel a bit like you in that I’ve just missed the Tik Tok world by like only a few months?! I had the app briefly, but I didn’t understand what was going on! I didn’t know how to use it! Do you have the app?

I actually don’t have the app, all the Tik Toks my friends send me I have to open in my browser. It’s so embarrassing honestly, I feel so out of the loop!

Haha! Oh my God same! But I love Tik Tok, I’m not dissing Tik Tok at all! And I also think there’s loads of cool artists from the generation, especially amazing female artists rocking out on guitars and I think it’s really cool to be a part of that community!

You speak a lot about being a young woman in music. Are there any other female musicians that you look up to?

Oh my god there’s so many! The band that for the majority inspired Fake It Flowers was the band called Veruca Salt, these two girls who are so badass. They’re so cool! And obviously, Miss Alanis Morissette because she is a BABE! Juliana Hatfield as well, but also the movie But I’m A Cheerleader. It’s amazing because that whole soundtrack is just girls. They’ve only chosen girl bands to sing on the soundtrack and I thought that was so badass. That movie and The Craft, that they’re also remaking which I have mixed thoughts about but, whatever!

And finally, ending with this continuing conversation surrounding female musicians, you’re playing at next year’s Reading and Leeds festival which I was so glad to see! But how do you feel about the lack of gender representation on these big stages at these big festivals?

Honestly, why is this even this a thing?! How is this still a problem? It’s crazy how many female artists are on the come-up and they’re ALL amazing. And it’s like…WHY? Why aren’t they on there? It doesn’t make any sense! I think I’m really grateful to be in a position where I can also encourage girls to be creative and to also pick up guitars. And I’m also grateful to be surrounded by amazing women who also encourage me. It’s like, the only thing we can do is to continue what we do and feel empowered by it. But why is this still a thing man?! Theres SO many badass chicks in the world, why does no one see that?

Fake It Flowers is out everywhere on the 16th of October 2020

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