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The Beths

The Beths

Interviewed by
Sophie Scott-Maunder
Wednesday 25th May, 2016 9:55AM

Auckland four-piece The Beths have steadily been building up a reputation as an indie-rock act to look out for. Following the release of their five-song EP Warm Blood earlier this year, The Beths (which is made up of Elizabeth Stokes, Jonathan Pearce, Benjamin Sinclair and Ivan Luketina-Johnston) cruised down to the capital to play Eyegum’s Wednesday residency at San Fran. Collective member Sophie Scott-Maunder caught up with the band before their set with local band Beatcomber…

First of all, how would you describe The Beths in three words?

Beths laksa ever [they just ate dinner at the infamous Aunty Mena’s on Cuba Street].

All of you have been involved in other musical projects before The Beths. How did this line-up come about?

Liz: We all played together in different bands and we all studied music together at the University of Auckland. Ivan and Ben went to the same high school and played in bands. I went to the same school as Jono and so Jono was in Artisan Guns and I was in Teacups. More recently we are all in Ivan’s project which is Sal Valentine and the Babyshakes. In different iterations I wanted to start writing and playing music in a guitar band. And these guys all wanted to do the same thing and we were seeing each other all the time anyway.

Ivan: It was really serendipitous because I was living with Jono and we were discussing how cool it would be if there was a rock band with Liz singing - and then it happened.

Liz: I was actually thinking about starting a wizard rock band first, seriously considering it. I tried to write some songs but it couldn’t quite work because I couldn’t convince myself I was a wizard.

Your debut EP, Warm Blood, was released earlier this year. Elizabeth, you wrote the majority of the songs on the EP (with the exception of 'Rush Hour 3' which was written by Ivan). What genres of music and bands do you think (consciously or subconsciously) influence your sound?

Liz: Consciously for me it’s been a mash up of 90’s guitar music, mixed with the hookiness of early 2000’s pop-punk and then influenced with the poppy backing vocals of the 60’s and 70’s - plus a mixture of what any of us were listening to at the time.

Jonathan, you’ve recorded and produced tracks for the likes of Anthonie Tonnon and the Naenae Express (just to name a few). How does recording somebody else’s music differ to the recording process of your own band?

Jono: Probably the biggest challenges are in editing and in saying “yeah, it’s good enough. That was a good take, I’m happy with that”. It’s quite a lot harder to do when it’s your own thing. You feel like there’s a little bit of ego or hubris or something - thinking you can do better all the time. And you have too much freedom and lack of deadlines. You’re in a position of too much control.

You guys recently went on your first South Island tour of Christchurch and Dunedin. How’d it go? How do you think South Island audiences differ to North Island audiences?

Liz: It was really great. South Island audiences differ in that I don’t know as many of them personally. Which is part of why it was really fun and that it was a big surprise that people came out.

Ivan: It was really flattering. Very surprising.

Liz: I was fully expecting it to be: first gig - ten people turn up. But we got good turnouts in both places and both the venues we played were really nice. It was pretty stress free and fun.

Ben: There was a goodwill awesome response especially in Dunedin. The people who showed up to the gig were fucking stoked to be there and stoked to hand over the cost of the door and be like “yes, this is my night, I’m having a great time”. It was just really awesome. There was possibly a little bit less apprehension and pretension that you get with Auckland audiences maybe. Our mates in Auckland tend to go to lots of gigs so it could be the third time they’ve had to pay a $10 cover charge that week.

What’s in store next for The Beths?

Liz: We’re going to go and start recording an album. We’ve got some songs and we’re just going to just do it.

Time to get serious, what’s your all-time favourite funny YouTube video?

The History of Japan.

Enjoy the brand new video for 'Whatever' below...

Tonight's Eyegum line-up will see Harris and Strange Stains grace the San Fran stage in Wellington. Head over here for more details.


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