If you haven’t heard of them from our 10th anniversary issue cover, or from their SXSW sets, or their recent debut album, it’s about bloody time you got to know folk-pop duo Beau – and what better place to start than their latest acoustic session that we’re premiering right here at Wonderland?
Heather Golden and Emma Rose Jenney are the inseparable best friends, born and raised in New York, who make up Beau. Their debut album, ‘That Thing, Reality” encapsulates their dreamy, nostalgic sound – think First Aid Kit meets Lana del Rey. Immerse yourself in “Oceans” and “Animal Kingdom” from their exclusive session, and then learn a little more from the ladies themselves in our interview below!
Why did you pick these two songs for your session?
Heather: We did “Oceans” and “Animal Kingdom”, and, I mean, I think we did them because they’re awesome!
Emma: They’re some of our favourite songs. It’s a good juxtaposition I think, because “Oceans” was one of the first songs we ever wrote, when we were probably like 14, and then “Animal Kingdom” came a little later, like 17. And I think it shows some type of growth. There’s a story for both of them.
H: And they’re different.
E: They’re very different!
What do you think is the biggest difference between those two songs, other than being younger and older?
E: Confidence, and there’s like a strength in both of them, that started out when we were like 13 when we wrote “Oceans” and then it obviously evolved and matured into “Animal Kingdom”, where we’re basically talking about the relationship between man and animal.
H: I think we moved on from just talking about love, and just drowning in sadness or something. We talked about something other than that. Which was a milestone for us, because we only wrote love songs.
E: Even though they’re actually pretty similar in terms of detail, “Oceans” is more – it’s kind of a love song, but not really. It’s about being stranded with your own feelings. Very literally, like being stranded on an island. But also, being stranded in your head about another person.
And you wrote that when you were 14? That’s deep! Although, everyone’s an emotional teenager. You haven’t done teenage years properly unless you were having deep thoughts.
H: We just grew up really quickly.
E: I think in New York you have no choice but to mature twice as fast as most other people in the US. I think it just happens. You’re exposed to a lot.
You’ve been at SxSW recently! How did that go?
E: It was craziness, total and utter madness.
How many shows did you do?
Did you get to see anyone else while you were there?
E: Heather saw Blood Orange
H: I saw Blood Orange which was awesome.
E: Lewis del Mar we played with, who were awesome, and then…
H: Mia Fuller, which is like – she’s another woman taking the stage and being powerful and giving all that she has
E: – We almost saw Erykah Badu. There’s so many shows going on.
Wasn’t Obama there?
H: Obama and Michelle were there! It’s such an important part of music culture in the USA.
What are you like live with a huge crowd watching you?
H: Probably pretty similar! A little bit more turned up, I guess. It’s really amazing how people in the room can totally change the energy and make it more live.
We have to talk about your album! How does it feel to have it out in the world?
H: Crazy. The first day I was like, “wow”. I had friends sending me photos of the album at record stores and stuff. I feel accomplished now, honestly.
E: When we get home to our hotel, here in London, we’re going to have our vinyl waiting for us. We haven’t gotten our vinyl yet. We got our CDs but we haven’t got our vinyl. I just never thought I’d ever make a vinyl record.
How did you know that the record was finished, cause obviously you could keep doing it forever and ever? You could keep changing songs and re-recording.
H: It was kind of like when we decided we were going to record an album, we hadn’t had the songs finished, but we kind of made that decision, and then we booked a flight to London, and then booked a session in the studio with the producer, and then finished all the songs cause we kind of like waited until last minute with everything. I mean everything – finishing songs for us is kind of like finishing a plate of pasta. You save the final bite for last. When it’s done, it’s done.
E: We had written a lot of the songs when we were very young, so we’ve developed a lot. We’re talking about like 14, and then we were signed when we were 17, turning 18, and then we got into the studo and we were 19, turning 20 I guess. So we were still playing songs like Oceans from when we were 14, but they had developed and matured over time. Like aged wine – we were letting them age. We kind of knew what songs were our strongest, cause we had so many songs. We just had like hundreds of songs. On my iPhone I have 400 recordings, easily. So we just kind of chose our strongest ones and went for it. And we also had deadlines from our label! They were like ‘you’ve got 40 days in the studio’ and we were like “Ok, ok!”
H: And we do well under pressure like that. We’re yet to experience writer’s block. We’re really lucky. Because we grew up in such creative environments, that it’s like, the idea that that kind of stuff wouldn’t be flowing through our minds is impossible.