Beabadoobee has had quite the year. From being featured on the BBC’s Sound of 2020 longlist, to winning the NME Radar Award and supporting label mates The 1975 on their UK tour, to releasing her debut album in October, the 20 year old has been kept busy.
Following a string of singles and her 2019 EP, Space Cadet, album Fake It Flowers covers topics such as heartbreak, self-harm, strength, and reinventing yourself, accompanied by grungy guitars, ethereal melodies, and everything in between. Her sound, a heavily 90s-inspired combination of strong guitar, soft vocals, and painfully honest lyrics, is appealing to a younger generation who weren’t around in that decade but relate to her outpourings of angst and shout-along choruses – and those who like a fresh dose of nostalgia.
Fresh from the album’s release, we caught up with the London-based artist to discuss her artistic process, releasing an album during a pandemic, and her plans for the future.
How did you find the process of writing and recording your first album, compared to your previous EP and singles?
The writing process was different for the album, because of the experience I had. I just had so much to write about because of the tour [with The 1975] and stuff. But recording-wise, it was very much the same. I think my band is much more involved, because I wanted them to be, and I got a new guitarist. It was really fun working with people who like the same type of music as me.
Did lockdown affect your recording process at all?
Every song on Fake It Flowers was actually recorded prior to lockdown except one, which was ‘How Was Your Day’. I recorded that on a four track recorder. I think I was going to do that anyway because the song was, I guess, just really raw and quite vulnerable. I wanted something to match that sonically.
Was there a particular song from the album that you were especially excited for people to hear?
I really wanted people to hear ‘Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene’ and ‘Dye It Red’. They’re my favourite pair off the album and I think they’re just fun.
The themes of change and independence come through strongly on the album, particularly in ‘Dye It Red’. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Definitely. That’s the reason I wrote this record, really, for people to feel that, so it makes me happy seeing that people did.
Can you tell us about your input to your music video concepts?
My boyfriend directs all my music videos, so it’s been really easy collaboratively because we’re always together. Obviously he’d know what the song is about and interpret it in his own way. We’ve known each other for like five years. I agree with all of his ideas, I love them all, so I kind of give him creative freedom in that sense.
Do you have a favourite music video of yours so far?
That’s so hard because I love all of them! I guess they all have different vibes, but I think ‘Care’ was a special one to make because we filmed it all through lockdown. We all lived together and it was just a really wholesome time.
Did you hold any tracks back from the album that we might hear at a later date, or any ideas that you decided to steer away from for the album?
Not really! I kind of recorded every song; I remember we had a whiteboard filled with all the music, all the songs we wanted on the album, and we recorded pretty much everything.
How do you navigate social media as an artist – do you think it’s a help or more of a hindrance?
I think, you know, it can be both, and it depends how you see social media. I think social media is a great way to interact with your audience. And I think it’s really fun being myself online and being able to talk to people from the other end of the world. You also get stupid people hating on your shit; but that comes with everything. I feel like I’ve only now gotten used to that, and I think it’s just funny. So it depends how you see it.
You’re heavily influenced by 90s music and culture. How do you think it would have been different if you were living and making music in that time?
I think if I was releasing my music in the 90s it wouldn’t be as special, because it’s so inspired by that time. I think it is still very hard, because it’s me who’s right here. I’m a 20 year old from West London who’s being really honest, and I think that’s what sets it aside and what makes it still relevant. But I don’t want to be that person who’s like, ‘Oh my god, I was born in the wrong era!’. I just like paying homage to that time.
One theme that features throughout the album is how to overcome relationship difficulties, especially on ‘Together’. Do you write to process things as they happen, or is it more retrospective?
It was definitely a very personal song, and it was kind of me organizing the thoughts in my brain, just being like: Okay, this is what’s happening? This is what I feel. And I think that’s how I pretty much write most of my music. It’s making things make sense.
You’ve hinted that you’ve been working on something with Matty Healy and George Daniel of The 1975. Can you tell us anything about that?
All I can say is that it’s really good. You’ll see!
How did touring with The 1975 influence your writing for Fake It Flowers?
Playing arenas really inspired me to fill that massive space, like I wanted to create music that was big and loud and could fill a space that big.
You’ve got your own tour planned for next year. Are you letting yourself get excited for that, with all the uncertainty at the moment?
It’s definitely a weird time for that, but I‘m trying to remain positive. Hopefully it will go on; I do miss touring a lot. It’s one of my favourite things.
This interview was first published in the December 2020 issue of SNACK magazine. You can read the full magazine below on your smartphone, tablet, or pc.