The Beths

Sounds Like: Snail Mail, Great Grandpa, Remember Sports

This month we caught up with New Zealand indie-rockers The Beths about their latest album, going on tour with The National and what new music from the other side of the world we should be listening to… Check out our chat with lead singer Liz below and of course, thanks to the amazing Nakisha Kiely for this fabulous illustration!

Hey its The Beths! Thanks so much for chatting with us – how are you guys doing today?

Medium! Could go either way from here!

We feel you… Please introduce yourselves to our readers:

Hi I’m Liz from the Beths! I sing, play guitar and write the songs. The rest of the band are Jonathan, who plays guitar and records the band, Ben on bass guitar and Tristan on drums. And everyone sings backing vocals too.

Describe your sound in five words:

Fast Fun Melodic Power Pop

Nice. You released your awesome new album ‘Expert In A Dying Field’ towards the end of last year – what’s the album all about? Are there any themes running through it?

It’s funny, it’s hard to know what an album is ‘about’ until it’s close to coming together. I draw from experience and emotions when I write, so I’m not usually intentionally building a body of work with a particular theme in mind. But then when it’s nearly done, you can step back and look at the album as a whole and see the patterns. It’s weird to examine your life with a critical eye and analyse it like a piece of media.

Do you have a favourite track from the album?

Not really. I don’t like picking favourite things, they feel so permanent! I like to pick different ice-cream flavours every time, depending on how i’m feeling! I think the title track is the song I’m most proud of, but that’s not what favourite means is it? ‘Favourite’ is all vibe.

What’s your songwriting process like?

A little different every time. When I’m intentionally in writing mode, I try to write a lot. Prose in notebooks, little wordplays, ideas or analogies in my notes app, melodic snippets and guitar riffs in my voice memo app. Things come together in different ways. I usually like the song to have a central idea or perspective that is clear, I want to be understood. That isn’t a given, I’m a huge fan of a lot of music that is totally inscrutable. Something else I feel is that when writing, there is a real direct correlation between input and output. By which I mean reading, or watching a movie, or having a good conversation or interesting experience… those words and ideas get absorbed and swirl around and a song comes out.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

Heaps! Rilo Kiley, The Breeders, Weezer, Alvvays, The Mint Chicks, The Buzzcocks, Death Cab, Bic Runga, Ben Folds Five, Courtney Barnett, Crowded House, Frankie Cosmos…

If you could collaborate with any artist – dead or alive – who would it be?

Flight of the Conchords

YES! The last time we saw you live was at The Great Escape in Brighton in 2019, so we’re BUZZING that you’re coming over later this year – what’s your favourite thing about the UK?

This question makes me think of a great song by Jeffrey Lewis called ‘What I Love Most in England (Is the Food!)’. This is so lame, but when you tour in a van you eat a lot of lunches from petrol stations. And the UK has great road stops! Little mini supermarkets where you can buy decent, reasonably priced, diagonally sliced sandwiches. I’m a big fan. In America we eat a lot of string cheese and cheetos.

What advice would you give artists starting out in the music industry?

Find your people. If you are wanting to be a musician, it probably means you like music. It’s really important to find other people around you who are making music or art that you like. Go to gigs, support your friends’ endeavours, become a part of a community. Being an artist, particularly a solo artist, can be lonely and difficult if you try to go it alone.

Are there any New Zealand based emerging artists you’d recommend?


Indie stuff: Phoebe Rings, Pickle Darling, Hans Pucket, Lips, Na Noise.
Hip hop: Melodownz, Church & AP, Polly Hill, Skilaa.
EDM: Amamelia.
Heavier Stuff: Dick Move, Earth Tongue, Wax Chattels, DARTZ.

Amazing thanks! can’t wait to check these out. What are your plans for the rest 2023 – any festivals in the works?

Yep we’re touring pretty hard over the summer and autumn. Lots of festivals, excited for Latitude, Primavera and Bonnaroo. A few more in the UK too. We’re also supporting The National on tour in the US, and then supporting on the Death Cab For Cutie/Postal Service tour in the US as well. I’m shaking in my boots.

You’re living the dream. Any final pearls of wisdom?

Don’t listen to me, I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Never… Thanks so much Liz! Xxx

Catch The Beths live in the UK at the following dates:

24th May – Bristol – SWX
25th May – London – Electric Brixton
27th May – Leeds – Live at Leeds in the Park
28th May – Manchester – New Century Hall
30th May – Glasgow – The Garage
31th May – Dublin – Whelan’s

Photo credit: Frances Carter
Illustration credit: Nakisha Kiely

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