Graham Reid | | 3 min read
With their fizzy, upbeat power-pop-cum-indie rock debut album Future Me Hates Me, Auckland Beths bounced straight into contention with one of the best albums of the year.
It is unashamedly good fun but also gritty, has plenty of pop swagger and millennial slacker cool, and rides a bunch of great guitar-driven melodies.
The Beths – back in Auckland after some US dates – play The Others Way Festival on August 31 (see below) and so it was clearly time to ask singer Elizabeth Stokes some questions . . .
The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .
I remember methodically learning all the lyrics to my mum's copy of Celine Dion's 'Let's Talk About Love'. I think 'Immortality' ft. The BeeGees was maybe my favourite.
Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .
I think Jenny Lewis was my first musical role model. I had always wanted to play music, but she was maybe the first woman I saw in a rock band that I really connected with, as a quiet teenager. She wasn't super glam or grungy or a 'Rock Star'. She wasn't a tragic figure, in fact she's a career musician. But she wrote music that i loved and played in a band, and I still look up to her a lot.
Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?
Why these choices? Just know that a lot of these decisions are arbitrary. Lennon, Ramones, Gaga, Michael.
If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .
I would have studied a BA in linguistics and and from there it was a big blurry fog. When I decided to study music the fog cleared.
The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .
Anthonie Tonnon - The Capital , this song always makes me emotional. Being in NZ in your twenties is basically having all your friends leave at different times, and sometimes if you wait long enough they come back. This song really makes me miss the people who have left. And up until this year, that person had never been me. Now it has, I thought the song wouldn't make me feel as sad but it still does.
Sidney Gish - Sin Triangle , Sidney Gish is my Album Of The Year, her songwriting is my perfect mix of great melodies and a nerdy sense of humour.
Alvvays - Party Police , this song is maybe one of my favourites of all time. Molly's vocal melodies are perfect to me. I can't really explain what this song means to me, a lot is circumstantial, but I still think it's a special song.
Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home...
Jenny Lewis threw yellow roses into the audience when I saw her in Melbourne. I caught one and I still have it.
The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .
I enjoyed How Music Works by David Byrne. I took a few things away from it, and also left a few things.
If you could get on stage with anyone it would be?
If we're going truly hypothetical, I'd love to sing all of Emmylou's parts with Bright Eyes on 'I'm Wide Awake It's Morning' is that specific enough?
The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .
I don't really like movies. So... Mean Girls, 10 Things I Hate About You, She's The Man.
The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include...)
We couldn't buy many physicals on tour, but I did buy a CD of Ailie Blunnie, an Irish artist we played with in Dublin who completely blew us away. Recent streaming has included Snail Mail and Coach Phillips.
One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . . .
I'm not sure I understand this question sorry.
The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .
I love ours. It's by Eleanor Barker, a local artist from Auckland. She listened to the album and came up with the concept and painted it and I think it's just beautiful.
You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .
a dog. Any dog, all dogs are good.
David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where and doing what?
If I only have five years left? I don't know. Am I dying? Is everyone dying? I have a lot of questions and I don't think I can answer this one without knowing the full extent of the situation.
And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”
Because we worked really hard on it to make it good.