Something has been brewing across the ditch. It sounds a little happy, a little sad and possibly like the lovechild of Car Seat Headrest and Third Eye Blind.
We’re talking about Auckland’s very own The Beths, an outfit who have crafted a sunny kind of pop-rock that brims with post-teen angst, introspection and a loud vulnerability.
Listening to The Beths makes you want to slam your door shut, crank your speakers, and light a cigarette as you ponder on the complexities of human emotion.
The woman behind the magic is Elizabeth Stokes, who fronts the band on guitar and lead vocals. Jonathan Pierce, Benjamin Sinclair and Ivan Luketina-Johnston form the rest of the line up on guitar, bass and drums respectively whilst all lending a hand at backup vocals.
With not many moons to go before the release of their debut album Future Me Hates Me – a record soaked in self-explorative potions of love lost and found – The Beths play the waiting game as they simmer on low heat.
“I’m feeling kind of detached I guess, but I think that’s my brain protecting me in a strange way. If I could actually physically feel all the nervous excitement, I probably wouldn’t be able to get any work done… I’m sure the excitement will boil over any second now”
On the back of their well-received lead single, which just so happens to share its title with the album, Stokes reflects on the space she was in when the song came together.
“…I thought it might be confusing naming the album after the lead single… it’s not a themed concept album, but the common threads seem to be to do with new love and mid-twenties anxieties, and Future Me Hates Me just seemed to encompass those quite well.”
“I was newly on my own, for the first time really, and just getting used to it when this new thing started happening. And it was just my logical brain being like ‘it’s bad timing, don’t do this’ and then me just being like ‘hmm? Oh yeah, you’re right’ but doing it anyway.”
This year has served up some pretty serious frequent flyer points for The Beths, touring across Europe and more recently the US. Stokes maintains they had a bloody good time, even if selling out of most of their merch on the first stop couldn’t sedate some of the worry that comes with playing on foreign soil.
“It was really great… I was also extremely nervous. I mean the States feels like a big movie set to me, just barely real, and playing there was so invigorating. For a country that is so scary from the outside, on the ground we just met the most friendly, lovely people.”
Next month The Beths head down under to give us an overdue dose of their playful, energised melancholy at Brisbane’s BIGSOUND. With what’s sure to be a hell of a time, Stokes has a few acts she’s keeping a close eye on.
“I’m excited to see some of our friends from NZ again, Wax Chattels and Miss June. Plus, I haven’t seen Estére yet and would love to see her set.”
There’s a reason these Kiwis have been making waves at home and abroad – apart from the fact that listening to them makes you want to slam your door shut, crank your speakers, and light a cigarette as you ponder on the complexities of human emotion.
Make sure you’ve got your hands on a ticket to BIGSOUND if you want to see what all the fuss is about.
Future Me Hates Me is out August 10th. Pre-order the album here.
On September 24-30 Happy Mag will celebrate our inaugural NZ Week, shining a light on the best music, arts and culture New Zealand has to offer. Find out more here.