Transport yourself to an American high school prom with the singer-songwriter’s new synth-pop tune.
London-hailed singer-songwriter Be No Rain is back with his latest jaded tune “All Night, Right?”. Taken from his highly-anticipated debut album Strawberry Backstory, Be No Rain, blends elements of contemporary pop and indie rock with lovelorn poetry for an addictive tune. The synth-pop tune has us reminiscing of American teen dramas with building basslines, distorted vocals and electronic echos.
Speaking on the new song Be No Rain says, “I wrote it at a time when I felt like I’d experienced every iteration of nightlife available to me. It was about feeling unbearably alone in a crowd, how experiences endlessly repeated and how even new faces seemed eerily familiar. It was also about coming to terms with the fact that being more restrained and abstemious was making me feel better than I ever had.”
We caught up with the rising star chatting inspirations, the debut album and what’s next…
Hi, Be No Rain! How are you? How is lockdown treating you?/How has it affected your creativity?
It’s actually been one of the most productive periods I can remember. My producer, Rob Brinkmann, and I decided to lockdown together and began working on my second album. We’re trying to solve ‘difficult second album syndrome’ by finishing the follow up before the debut is released. But the outside world has definitely crept in. There’s a sort of dissonance to feeling creative and productive during a time when so many people are suffering, which I’ve found very uncomfortable.
Can you explain your name? And what was the moment you realised you wanted to make music?
Be No Rain is a Gil Scott Heron lyric from the song “I Think I’ll Call it Morning”. I’ve loved it from the first moment I heard it; the phonetics of it, the ambiguity of it. It’s unclear whether it’s an observation or an incantation, or even whether it’s positively or negatively valenced. I wanted that sense of ambiguity to be elemental to the project. A lot of the work is about uncertainty. I used to work under my given name and I found it impossible to suspend my disbelief for long enough to explore anything truly personal.
The story behind your new single “All Night, Right?” is really interesting, like this moment of realisation – What do you hope it teaches other people?
When I first wrote the song I was mourning because I felt this sense of profound fatigue for the first time. I felt like I’d lived every night before and was destined to experience them endlessly repeat. As the song developed I came to the realisation that some amount of self-care and restraint is a gateway to having a sustainable and interesting social life. It’s not the end of abandon and exploration, it’s the beginning of living a more deliberate life.
How involved were you in the creation of the music video?
I worked closely with two amazing artists, Aoife Blair, who’s the creative director of the whole project, and Jacek Zmerz. The idea for the videos came from a practice we developed in the studio, where I endlessly compiled clips of films that embodied certain emotions or ideas. We started tracking vocals while watching these short loops of movies projected onto the walls. Jacek took those clips and made a supercut that can be watched alongside my entire album. One of the ideas he came up with was so strong that we decided we wanted to replicate it for the official music video. It comes down to the idea of videotape as a stand-in for memory. In the videos we watch an unseen, curatorial eye pause and rewind footage from a film, dwelling on certain moments, hastily skipping past others. We saw that as a proxy for the act of remembering and the film itself as a proxy for the personal mythologies we build in our memories.
You’ve just announced your upcoming debut album – can you explain the name and some of the inspirations behind the album?
I suppose the whole album is about memory or the act of remembering. The album took years to record and is comprised of songs that I wrote over the course of my whole adolescence and young adulthood. By the time we were finished, we’d rewritten and reconstituted the songs so many times that the subject of the material had become distended. There are breakup songs about a breakup I could hardly remember the pain of. There were songs that had been revisited so many times that they had an impossibly panoptic view of an experience.
Where do you hope your music transports people?
We made the aesthetic backdrop of the album to resemble a high school movie. We even had a prom-themed launch party at the end of last year. Having never been to a prom, it exists in my psyche as this totemic threshold moment. It’s so often the centrepiece of the teen-movies I grew up with, I suppose I wanted the release of my debut album to be imbued with that sort of significance. It doesn’t need to transport you to my vision of prom, but I hope it transports people to their own version of it; a place where they can be shamelessly romantic and exuberant.
What’s next for you?/What are you excited about?
In July my third single “Call Back” will be coming out, with an incredible animated video. My debut album Strawberry Backstory will be released later this year, I can hardly believe that’s all happening.