Alyx Morley interviews Beabadoobee before she plays at Exeter Cavern on her UK tour
Space Cadet is your newest EP. Could you explain to us this new direction of music towards a more rock-heavy sound?
I guess, it was me gradually growing into my own skin, you know. Obviously, I’ve had so many inspirations that are all kind of in this sub-pop genre from the 90s. And I guess when you listen to something so much, you tend to create something similar. Moving from Patched Up to Love Worm to Space Cadet: it’s me on a journey trying to find myself. I think Space Cadet was me accepting the direction I was going in and getting comfortable in my own skin and the music I make. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to stick to this direction. I do want to branch out and make acoustics things. Space Cadet was just me vomiting everything on my playlist of my own music. The album will be a mixture – just basically some type of crazy-ass journey that people experience.
You’ve mentioned previously in interviews that films have inspired you to write and perform music. What specific films have inspired your songs or music videos?
Definitely. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. That inspired a lot of ‘Disappear’, the lyrics. It was a big inspiration when writing it and making it into an actual record. My boyfriend directed the music video and we both love that movie so much, so we kind of intertwined it with this concept. In general, I want my music to sound like it’s part of a coming-of-age soundtrack.
How involved are you in the creative process behind your music videos?
I’m pretty involved since the director is my boyfriend and my best friend. We both collaborate. I show them the song, I tell them what I want it to be about and then they make this massive concept. I try to be super honest and I’m very particular. In terms of budget, I don’t ever want to go over the budget. I want it to be simple, just to follow the vibe of the song. I think it’s important to be super involved.
I want my music to sound like it’s part of a coming-of-age soundtrack
You’ve been on tour with Clairo in America and now you’re touring the UK, what’s your best memory from being on tour and what’s the worst thing about touring?
We were literally just talking about this (Beatrice laughs, and her manager says ‘Just as you were walking in’). That’s crazy. The best moments are obviously just hanging out around with my best mates and travelling the world and playing shows. Seeing faces: that super enthusiastic and excited look to see me live. Yeah, it pretty sick. That’s what I love the best. Also, the band and crew are crazy, lovely people. The worst things about tour: obviously it’s so fun to be away, but also, it’s really shit being away. Going through shit you never expected you’d be going through. But there’s a good thing about that: you get to learn and grow as a person. But it’s bad because it’s scary. You just have to get through it, that’s life.
You’re very active on social media and interact with your fans a lot, which is lovely. How much do you think the internet has played a part in your success or growth?
It has definitely played a part. Nobody would’ve found my music otherwise. I release music on the internet. I advertise on the internet. We live in that society where music is known from iTunes, from Spotify. Although the internet can be super toxic sometimes, it is really helpful for upcoming artists and people who want to share their creativity with the world.
What’s the best thing about working alongside Dirty Hit? If you had to make a one sentence tagline for the record label what would it be?
Oh my God. Dirty Hit lets you do whatever the fuck you want. Like, literally (laughs). Yeah, pretty solid.
If you had to pick a song (could be yours or from a different artist) that summed up your experience of being a young woman on tour with your friends, what would it be?
Fuck (laughs). Wait, there’s a soundtrack to the tour: there’s Fugazi, ‘Waiting Room’. It’s just played all the freaking time. It would be that. That would be the soundtrack. A song that remind me of tour… basically me and my bassist Eliana grew up on Keane and there’s this one song called ‘She Has No Time’. And like, we were in Canada crying, like, this shit is so true (laughs) – even the title in itself.
SPACE CADET IS OUT EVERYWHERE GO FUCKING LISTEN! Iv been waiting to release songs like this – I guess Loveworm was sort of a bridge for me to be able to create space cadet and I’m in love with everything about it man im so fucking proud of this one pic.twitter.com/JMma5lFBvA— beabadoobee (@beabad00bee) 14 October 2019
Our current political climate means many celebrities are publicly getting involved in large social movements, Extinction Rebellion and the Women’s March are a couple examples. How do you feel about these causes and would you advocate these causes with your platform?
I will defo advocate everything if it helps society. My friends are super involved, and they always go to the marchers and I think it’s truly important to do so. I know Matty talks about the environment a lot and I think it’s great that there’s people in the music industry that are so vocal about it – not just when he speaks but even through his music. Hopefully in the future I will talk about more serious shit but for right now I’m just chilling. In the future it defo will happen. It’s truly important. It definitely shouldn’t be ignored.
While I was growing up, I was the only one of three East Asian people in my Primary School and only one out of ten or so British-Asian people in Secondary school. This meant I faced a certain unwanted attention. Have you experienced anything similar whilst growing up in London, and how do you think it has shaped you as a person or with your music?
Oh, yeah. I didn’t have any East Asian idols that I could look up to and be like: this is who I want to be. I was very surrounded by white privileged girls. I went to an all-girls Catholic school in Hammersmith, so yeah. I think that just really speaks for itself, how hard I had it at school. It wasn’t obvious bullying, but I was very mistreated: lots of back-handed compliments, a lot of bitches, a lot of people talking behind my back. It was rough. To this day, the girls still fucking hate my guts.
Really, even now?
Dude, yeah, like Hammersmith. No-go. I don’t know, they obviously have something strange against me. I remember growing up in Year 9 and wanting to be someone who I wasn’t. I used to wear a lot of foundation, a lot of makeup. I was trying to separate myself from my ethnicity – which is so stupid. And now, I’m so incredibly proud of it. To this day, I’m like why the fuck would I not want to be an Asian woman in this industry. It’s sick. There’s not a lot of us in this industry and I’m glad to be here.
It’s very cool.
Yeah, it’s sick. I remember finding Miki from Lush and being like Asian girls can rock out too. We don’t have to be in the most stereotypical careers: doctor or nurse. Both my parents are so supportive of my career. And I wasn’t even born in England. I was born in the Philippines. I feel pretty proud of myself. There’s one thing I’m gassed about.
Asian girls can rock out too
This last one is a self-indulgent question from me, but I’ve followed you since 2017 and the release of ‘Coffee’ and your cover of ‘The Moon Song’, and what I’ve always wanted to know is how do you achieve the cool smoky eye liner, black eyeshadow and long lashes look you’ve consistently worn?
Oh, okay. I’ll tell you everything you need to know. I use mascara on the bottom lashes. I also have eyelash extensions, get them done every two and half weeks. My bottom mascara is Revlon. And then, my eyeliner is just any old pencil liner. The reason why it looks so smoky is that I never take my makeup off. So, it’s just kind of naturally messy because I’m fucked all the time. Like, last night I was too fucked to even take off my makeup. That’s how I achieve that smoky look. I line the insides of my waterline and just add a little wing. I don’t line on top, I only line the side. I cheat as well by drawing it out and opening my eye a bit. Yeah, that’s what I do. And everyone’s always like: how the fuck do you do it? Just don’t take off your makeup off for a while. That’s how you do it.
Right okay, so Revlon, any liner, then just sleep in it.
Just sleep. Or you can take off the mascara and leave the eyeliner on. Or smudge it with your finger – sometimes I do that.