Monday, July 18, 2022

Inside Bea’s Mind: beabadoobee on her sophomore album, and imaginary world, ‘Beatopia’

"Everyone’s invited”, is the message that emanates from our interview with beabadoobee

Like most kids, at the age of 7 beabadoobee created a fantastical world that she could escape to when school was over - she called it ‘Beatopia’. Years later she’s letting us discover it for ourselves, and everyone’s welcome.

As a concept and paracosm, ‘Beatopia’ celebrates the experimental and the imaginary, and the album reflects exactly that. As her second album, we see an experimental side to beabadoobee and a welcome exploration into a new genre for the artist.

We were lucky enough to get some time to chat with Bea about the album and what we can expect to hear.

Our Extended Play’ had a distinct slacker rock coming-of-age vibe to it, especially tracks like Last Day On Earth, whereas ‘Fake It Flowers’ took bedroom pop and made it grunge. What does the ‘Beatopia’ album do differently? 

Beatopia’ is where I experiment more than ever; where we have a real sense of having fun and going somewhere we haven’t before. Playing with more electronica but keeping the indie bedroom folk influences in there too. We had fun messing around with lots of electronic gear and sounds on the production side. There were no rules really. It’s basically the album I’ve wanted to always make.

For ‘Our Extended Play’ you retreated to Oxfordshire with some famous faces, including Matty Healy, to write and create – did you do something similar with this album? And where do you find you are at your most creative? 

I retreated to a stinky small two-person studio space with Jacob (my guitarist/producer) on this one, haha. Essentially we did the whole thing, and it was all done in London. There were a couple of moments Matty popped over again and I also did some demos with Starsmith and Jack Steadman, but the bulk of the album was me and Jacob sweating out and getting stoned in this room while there was a lockdown. In that sense it was a way to be our most creative, truly zoning into what we needed and wanted to do. 

How did your creative process differ for this album? 

In the past, songs were written in the bedroom and then taken to studio to produce up, whereas this one we had a lot more experimenting and trying things on the go. There may have been parts pre-written in my bedroom half the time, but a lot was made in the moment. There was lots of trying new things and finding something we haven’t done before to run with! We had a playlist of songs we knew we wanted it to feel like, so I think we were able to do that and give something new in the process. 

If you had to pick one song that you’d most like people to listen to from ‘Beatopia’, what would it be and why? 

That would change day to day. ‘10:36’ was definitely one of them and, maybe coming up with all this good weather, my next song ‘Sunny Day’. I think there’s a song for everyone on this album and for every mood: from being alone and reflecting, to up and partying. Right now, I’m thinking ‘Broken CD’ or ‘Ripples’ are what I want to show people. ‘See You Soon’ was a song I was showing everyone before it was released, haha.

What made you decide to release ‘Talk’ as the first single from the album? And what is it about Tuesdays that made you want to write this track? 

It was the track that most felt like ‘Fake It Flowers’, and I was easing people into the transition from that to ‘Beatopia’. It’s also upbeat and kicks off the comeback with a bang and a full band and it felt like the right first choice for me. I kept finding myself out on Tuesdays and enjoying it more than the weekend. It’s funny when you notice that and it’s just about doing things you shouldn’t necessarily be doing, but you continue to. Unhealthy things like going out on what’s meant to be a quiet day but sometimes it’s needed. It’s probably a reflection of breaking out of lockdowns and wanting to be out again. 

The music video for ‘Talk’, directed by Alexandra Leese and Luke Casey, features the band surrounded by mushrooms and an audience of moshing, dancing, and kissing 20-somethings; is this perhaps what Beatopia would look like for you now? 

Yes there is a big element of this in ‘Beatopia’. One because it’s this made-up fantasy world that is far from the world we live in, but also because I was getting on it and wrote on shrooms a few times for the album. ‘See You Soon’ was one and it really does open your eyes and mind. Do it safely and carefully, of course, but there’s a lot of those experiences trickling into the album, plus they look really cool and it’s funny.

See You Soon’ and ‘Lovesong’, two singles you’ve released ahead of the album, see you take a step into romantic lyricism – particularly in ‘Lovesong’. Is ballad Bea someone we might see more of on the new album? 

There’s a few of these moments for sure. Heartfelt and stripped back is something that’s always in me. The love of folk or Elliot Smith or the ‘Juno’ soundtrack are all things that I keep feeling; it’s very much how I began and is just me at the end of the day. Me in a room with a guitar.

PinkPantheress is an exciting addition on the album, how was your creative experience together? 

I’ve known her for a while now, before she really grew into everything that’s happening for her. We had some songs and had been in the studio together a few times. We just chatted a lot and then we had Tinkerbell and she sounded so good and right on the beat and pace. I love her voice; she absolutely crushed that song ☺ 

We’ve learned that ‘Beatopia’ is a Bea-themed paradise you made when you were younger, full of creatures, characters and even a whole language you formulated. What did you find in ‘Beatopia’ that inspired you to write these songs? 

It’s going back to that time and how it was unfinished. I felt like now is the right moment to close that idea and soundtrack. It’s something that popped up in my mind and I feel like, as I was creating a new world of music for this album, I can tie it into some world I created when I was young. It went full circle and it went nicely hand in hand. In a lot of songs I tap into childhood experiences or ideas and feelings from my teens.

If you could invite anyone on a tour of ‘Beatopia’, who would it be?

Maybe Simon Pegg, he’s been such a big supporter and I just want to give him everything, haha. Either him or my brother … and honestly, everyone’s invited. It’s a time to escape and everyone needs a bit of that. Come to Beatopia!

In interviews you’ve mentioned that this album made you realise how many good people you have around you. Do any of these songs pay homage to any particular friends, family, or musical inspirations?

There’s a long list of people that have been there for me, my close team and friends and family. There’s a lot of gratitude for everyone and everything that’s been a help along the way.

Finally, what can we expect beabadoobee to be taking on in the future? Are there any major goals you hope to accomplish? 

I’m just moving into my own place for the first time ever, so maybe learning how to be alone and be happy with that. I’m looking at making new music too, I have a lot to write about at the moment. Touring the world now that we’re back to normal shows and seeing the EU, Asia, Australia, new places I’ve never been to and sharing ‘Beatopia’ with everyone.

You can listen to beabadoobee’s new album now on all streaming services.

Maddie Bridger 


Image: ‘Beatopia’ Official Album Cover


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