Wendy Bevan | A Conversation before the release of her new EP 'Falling' on June 11th
Wendy Bevan is a prolific photographer & musician whose art in both arenas is informed by her theatrical, surrealistic, and cinematic approach to the creative process. Born in the UK and now based in LA, Bevan has been working hard in preparation for the release of her newest EP, Falling, set to release on June 11th. In addition to her music, her photographic works have been featured in leading international publications such as LOVE, i-D, POP magazine, Harpers Bazaar, Vogue Italia, Marie-Claire Italia, and Flaunt just to name a few.
Since the release of her Debut album Rose & Thorn in 2016, Bevan continues to evolve her unique style of alternative electronic rock. In light of the forthcoming EP we spoke to Bevan for an inside look at her artistic process, impending projects, and the icons that inspire her, accompanied by exclusive self-portraits shot by Miss Bevan herself.
FLAUNT: There's a general sense of retro goth that vibrates off of both your music and your videos. How influential are the 90's alt legends like Marilyn Manson and Shirley Manson to your aesthetic?
Wendy Bevan: Marilyn and Shirley are indeed legendary figures in music and share a passion for theatricality, which also vibrates through in my work. Marilyn particularly is a showman of theatre. But there are also many other artists that influence me more, not just from the 90’s, Nick Cave, Siouxie Sioux, Kate Bush, the list goes on. I go through phases.
Who are your favorite dark, magical female musicians (and otherwise) in pop culture right now?
WB: One of the most magical female musicians for me is PJ Harvey and on the darker side, I love Diamond Galas’ voice; it really takes you somewhere above bellow and beyond. I saw both artists perform last year in LA, they couldn’t be more contrasting but, both such immensely talented and inspiring ladies.
Would you say your music is informed by your visual ideas like your photography, or would you say vice versa?
WB: My music and my photography work inform each other, they come from the same vision and voice but, they are also two separate skills which allow me to express myself in different ways, with different platforms. I think what actually brings these skills together more than anything and perhaps, the most informative part of my work, is my love for performing and the theatricality, that I seek out through my work; in the photograph, song or stage in creating characters and stories. Some people have compared my music in the past to a literal voicing of my photography work. Sometimes there is more of an obvious link, other times I think I’m exploring two different things and that's ok too.
A lot of your photography gives off the vibe of twisted Ziegfeld girl. Is that an archetype you relate to?
WB: Haha. Possibly...
I love the refined Ertè silhouette of the Ziegfeld Follie. Woman, during that period in show business remain to be an influence in my work, it was the ultimate time for elegance, mystery, glamour and debauchery. Some Hollywood stars that started their careers as Ziegfeld girls and some big names who were discarded after their audition and never made the line up; including Joan Crawford, who’s work as an actress continues to inspire me sometimes more than the Ziegfeld girls themselves. Joan and of course Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond. I grew up watching these stars on screen. I’m also from a theatrical family, its what I know....both my parents are actors and my sister- it is no coincidence that I chose to live in Hollywood.
How important is it as an artist these days to have a visual eye as well as a musical ear?
WB: I think as an artist its extremely important to be individual and have your own voice, be it visually, musically or both. Social media platforms like Instagram, push artists into having an immediately accessible visual identity. Its a required part of the art form of existing as an artist today, you can express yourself fully and thats an amazing asset to have at your finger tips. But of course, the best part of being an artist, which maybe some of us forget in these times- is rebelling against all that is socially expected, and thats how subcultures and movements start. I can’t imagine that when the true Punk Rock scene emerged, they would ever imagine that in decades to come we’d all be so worried about hashtags. Where that leaves us, I don’t know.
Who would be your dream celebrity to photograph?
WB: David Lynch.
What are some things that inspire you that might surprise someone who doesn't know you too well?
WB: Comedy. When I laugh, I open my heart and then I feel inspired.
What references - musical or not - did you draw on for this new EP?
WB: Lyrically my work is never completely literal but, I often reference my own life experiences. I write lyrics everyday, chains of thought, notes, sometimes just a few words, changing the shape of stories and making new ones. The words feel right at the time but, its often later down the line upon reflection, I understand their real meaning. They are like riddles. Musically I love Kate Bush’s work, Anne Clark’s vocal delivery and poetry is always cool, I love her track Our Darkness. Yazoo- Alison Moyet... how can anyone forget the work of Alison- amazing voice, and lyrics... just a few influences for these EP tracks I’m happy to name.
What goals did you have when you set out to make Falling?
WB: To keep my voice and my music flowing out there in to the world. Its life or death for me, I need to keep singing....
They’ll be more music to come...
I have a few live shows lined up in Los Angeles in the next couple of months too. You should all come to see the show.