The Beths | FUTURE ME HATES ME
Slipped in the back of an alley in East Los Angeles, is a door into Weber-Rations gallery/ concert space, a platform where DIY musicians and artists from across the globe share their work. I was there to interview The Beths; a Four-man, guitar heavy, pop/rock band from New Zealand who was set to play later that evening.
A few hours before their set, I swung open the venue door to find The Beths actually duel as an amateur cricket team. Elizabeth Stokes, Jonathan Pearce, Chris Pearce and Katie Everingham were substituting their instruments for bat and ball as they played Cricket between the walls of a long, narrow hallway. Back in New Zealand are The Beths counterparts, Benjamin Sinclair and Ivan Luketina-Johnston. Chris and Katie are friends helping out for this string of live shows and cricket matches.
In between cricket matches, with Heavy rock music shaking the walls and Fat Burger on its way, we sat on the floor to discuss their newest album, Future Hates Me, out tomorrow via Carpark Records. Check out part of our conversation below:
Meag: How did The Beths come together?
Liz: We knew each other from school and we all played in different bands. Auckland’s music scene is small enough where you know the other bands around. We knew each other and would play with each other so, Jazz school and after Jazz school is how we came together. We all have day jobs back at home and it has always been something that we really like doing.
It was maybe around Christmas or New Years when we were like well, lets do it now. So, I quit my job in April and spent the whole first bit of the year planning this tour. Over Christmas we had just started talking to Carpark records and they came aboard this past January. We decided on August for the record.
Meagan: Can you tell me a little bit about your tour so far? Is touring in The United States different than touring in New Zealand?
Liz: Yes, very different from New Zealand. There are great opportunities in New Zealand though. New Zealand goes like this; you do a tour in Auckland, you do a show in Wellington and then if you are lucky, you do a tour in Christchurch and Dunedin of the Southern Island. Then you’re done. Apart from there, you can do a big regional tour of all the small towns as well.
Liz: In the states, we have had a really nice time. Good turn outs! Not like thousands of people but there has never been a show where we were playing for about five people, its a bit depressing and they don’t seem impressed. We haven’t had that yet, its a bit lucky.
Chris: Yea, especially in new cities that can happen.
Liz: Some times its really weird. You know, Paris was probably our toughest show. The venue got closed down because they couldn’t have people in the basement space. We had to have it in the upstairs bar and it had to be acoustic. We showed up kinda dead after a nine hour bust ride to find that out.
Chris: We were in a back room, on the second floor basically playing for whoever walked up into that corner of the bar.
Katie: It was our 9th consecutive show. Even that was not terrible. We just felt dead honestly, people received it well.
Liz: It was a little bit punishing playing our songs the way we don’t normally play. Two guitars and vocals to a small bar of people, looking at us being like, “oh what is this?”
Jon: Yeah, I definitely have some sort of acoustic inferiority complex or something. I feel like we are a proficient electric band but when we have to play acoustic, I’m like, there are people who are really good at this and I feel like we are shoe horning our music into this situation or something.
Meagan: I’ve heard some acoustic of you guys and its beautiful for the record. But, I can understand the frustration in setting oneself up for electric and having to shift into acoustic, its very different. Do you write with the intentions of playing electric?
Liz: Oh, the amount I use power chords is shameful! I probably wouldn’t do that if I was writing on an acoustic guitar.
Meagan: Do all of you take part in the song writing?
Liz: Yeah, I write most of the lyrics for the songs. There is one song on the EP that is written by our drummer, [Ivan Luketina-Johnston] who is back in New Zealand with Benjamin Sinclair, who regularly hits the Bass and vocals. Chris and Katie are our tour musicians.
Meagan: Who is the mind behind your music videos, Happy Unhappy and Whatever in particular?
Liz: Videos are really hard and cost a lot of money. With the Whatever video, that was the first video we ever made. We lucked out that it turned out so great. Alex Hoyles directed it and that one went kinda of viral on reddit. That was cool. The Happy Unhappy one, we actually had a video that we had made with another director but it was really behind. We were kinda stressing out, we shot it before we left to go on tour and it was supposed to come out. We had deadline and about 24 hours before it was clear that it was not going to work out.
Jon: This is at like 3 am…in the sleeping night of Manchester, we had to solve this fucking problem.
Liz: Yea, we asked our friend Callem who is an artist and in this band (shirt)…said we would give him a thousand dollars if he could make a lyric video for us in twenty-four hours and he did it.
Jon: He just had all that pineapple footage lying around. He is the kind of person who just gets footage for no reason other than for the joy of it. He said, I think I have got the perfect thing for you and then the first draft was perfect. He is a genius. We changed nothing except for like one lyric.
Jon: It was our mistake initially.
Liz: Yea, one of the lyrics I sent him was actually wrong! When we got it, we thought it was perfect and told him not to change anything.
Meagan: It has got to be fun having your friends involved in your projects, including you guys in a band as friends and your friends coming to your shows.
Liz: Oh yea, home town shows are the best. All your friends come through. This is has been crazy, there are people who know the songs, which is insane. I mean, to go to the other side of the world and have people knowing your music, singing along. There is this element of excitement in almost having to win over a room like that. I think we can do it.
Meagan: I am stoked to watch you do so tonight and stoked for your album release August 10th!
The Beths come out with their first-ever full length record, Future Me Hates Me August 10th via Carpark Records. Alongside an upbeat “sun-soaked” sound, The Beths juxtapose cutting, straight forward sincerity. As disarming as pleasurable, the combination is forever taking me to a contradiction of feelings I’ve felt before but can’t put my finger on outside of the moment. The Beths give thoughtful accounts of painful, real life events and wrap them up nicely with harmonies and a sound that makes you want to move. Tomorrow is the day, check out Future Me Hates Me August, The first full- length album by The Beths August 10th, via Carpark Records.
Written and Photographed by Meagan Rafferty