Beau Lightning chats supernatural visions and the enduring influence of the 60s and 70s

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Beau Lightning – Adelaide’s newest rock ‘n’ roll export. He dropped his debut single, the swaggering Last Night, which has already racked up its share praise from blogs, local radio and triple J Unearthed with comparisons to Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys and Royal Blood getting thrown around. He also played his very first show at his hometown haunt, The Jade, just last week, with plans already in the works for more.

The future is looking bright for Beau Lightning, so to get to know the man a little better we had a chat to him about where he records, what inspires him, and what we can expect in the coming months.

Beau Lightning

Fresh off the back of releasing his debut single, Last Night, we had a chat with Beau Lightning about the supernatural vision that inspired it and the enduring influence of the 60s and 70s.

HAPPY: Hey Beau, how are things? What are you up to at the moment?

BEAU LIGHTNING: I am just waking up, I do shift work and have been on a run of night shifts. In terms of music, I’m just getting the single out there at the moment.

HAPPY: The song’s been out for a hot minute now, how are you finding the reaction so far?

BEAU LIGHTNING: Yeah it seems really positive so far, I’ve had a lot more feedback than when I was previously releasing songs under my actual name Eli. I was lucky enough to be invited into a local community station in Adelaide called WOW FM where they have a great indie local segment called High Fidelity hosted by Shannon Mowling. So I got to chat about Beau Lightning and perform a live acoustic version of Last Night. That was a lot of fun.

HAPPY: What’s the track about?

BEAU LIGHTNING: The track is basically using an experience I had when I was really young, about eight, as a metaphor to talk about, or ponder the existence of, a higher divinity. Basically asking myself if there is a God or not. The experience I had was in the middle of the night, looking out my bedroom window and seeing depending on what you believe in, a ghost, or demon or spirit. At least that’s what I thought I saw as an 8 year old. It scared the hell out of me at the time. And in the song I’m asking myself the question, did that experience change me or what I believe?

HAPPY: You launched the track – and yourself really – last Friday at The Jade. How did the live show go down?

BEAU LIGHTNING: The show went alright, we had a bunch of technical things go wrong which was really frustrating, and probably put us off a little bit. But a few whiskies down and it was heaps of fun, all my friends and family were there so it was a really good time. For a first show though, can’t complain too much.

HAPPY: What does the live show look like? Are you solo or have you enlisted a band?

BEAU LIGHTNING: Yeah I wrangled a band together. Pretty random bunch, none of us really knew each other except the drummer and I were in a band together a few years ago. All my close friends are busy with their own musical endeavours or other life commitments so I had to ask friends of friends if they knew anyone who could help me out. There was five of us: a drummer, bass player, pianist, guitarist, I played guitar and sang obviously.

HAPPY: When you shared the gear you record on, we were pretty impressed by your vintage-inspired amp and Tele. Is that classic time in rock ‘n’ roll a big inspiration to you?

BEAU LIGHTNING: Yeah I love that amp and guitar combo. It definitely does. Artists like Elvis are a big inspiration for the persona, but then bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Doors and the darker side of the Beatles influence the sound for sure. Also, some not-so-classic rock ‘n’ roll from the 60s and 70s is pretty influential. David Axelrod, The Electric Prunes and Ennio Morricone who did soundtracks for all the western Clint Eastwood films like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

HAPPY: What’s the name of the studio you recorded in? The place looked mad.

BEAU LIGHTNING: Well it doesn’t really have a name. At least not yet anyway, but John – the owner/builder – has thrown around the idea of calling it The Sound Emporium. I think that was it. And yeah it is mad – doesn’t get much more DIY than that. I am lucky enough to live in the same building so I get full access to it when it isn’t booked.

HAPPY: Nice. Gotta ask, what else is in the works? We’re itching for the next single already.

BEAU LIGHTNING: I got some physical copies of an EP made called Finding Colour. That’s just the single Last Night and the songs I released under Eli, slapped together. Every song sounds different, hence the EP’s title. I don’t think that will end up being on digital platforms, just a limited run that I will sell online and at shows – CD, vinyl and cassettes. I want to start doing as many gigs as I possibly can for a while to get more confident on stage and master the persona/stage presence I’m going for. There’s a music video for Last Night in the works, and then after that is just deciding what song to release next. I have a heap in the pipeline.

HAPPY: Thanks for the chat!

BEAU LIGHTNING: No worries at all, it was my pleasure.

Beau Lightning’s debut single Last Night is out now. Listen to it on Spotify.