Beabadoobee: ‘I want to be the girl I needed when I...

Beabadoobee: ‘I want to be the girl I needed when I...
Beabadoobee: ‘I want to be the girl I needed when I...
THEAt first glance, Beatrice Laus’ success looks like the plot of a far-fetched movie like the one Netflix beat it up in hopes of captivating an audience of tweenage girls on overnight stays.

The seventeen-year-old outsider learns to play used guitar after being expelled from school. writes the first song, publishes it online “because I wanted my friends to hear”, and then watches in amazement as it goes viral (49 million games on Spotify and Counting). This leads to a record deal and forms the basis for a Canadian hip-hop single that turns into a huge global hit: Powfus Death Bed (coffee for the head) that has accumulated 10 billion plays on TikTok within three months. She becomes the subject of online tutorials devoted to copying her makeup and looks, touring America, playing arenas that support 1975, learning valuable lessons from life (“It made many things clear to me, I’m a much more responsible kid now, a nice kid ”), radically reworks her sound, attracts critical acclaim and is celebrated as the voice of Generation Z on both sides of the Atlantic. Slow fade and end credits, perhaps over a track from their highly anticipated debut album Fake It Flowers, an impressively fresh take on the kind of US alt-rock you heard a lot about in the early ’90s: The Breeders, Belly, Juliana Hatfield , Veruca Salt.

This is what has happened to Laus, now 20, over the past three years: a road to success that has led to some unlikely moments, not least as a tribute to Pavement, I wish I was Stephen Malkmus, in front of an audience that has a Stephen Malkmus stated, “He was so cool, it was a sick experience.” However, she points out that unexpected success comes with certain disadvantages. “Beabadoobee!” She laughs. “It literally came from my Finsta account because I didn’t think this was going to be a thing. My friend Oscar said I needed a stage name when I put a song online, and I said, “I’m not an artist, I’ll be a kindergarten teacher, my friend will hear this song.” When it all came up I thought: It’s too late to change my name? I mean, I literally wrote lists of all the names I could have had. I get jealous of bands like Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth: such cool names look great on a t-shirt. “She laughs:” And I’ll fuck Beabadoobee. ”

Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr: These are very Beabadoobee-esque reference points. She says she really didn’t intend for Coffee to go along with the fashion of bedroom pop, the muted, melancholy sub-genre “Sad Girl” that is occasionally belittled as “Spotifycore” for its predominance on the streaming platform: she just worked with the gear she had on hand, motivated by Daniel Johnston and the Moldy Peaches. It was only with the Space Cadet EP last year that she found the sound she really wanted, influenced by Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies and Pavement: what she calls “raw, inspiring” music “from a time when I didn’t exist”.

It’s a sound that suits her character better: at least one thing that seems to draw her to early 90s alt-rock is the preponderance of tough, unpredictable female role models, from Courtney Love to Bikini Kill to Kim Deal. “People expected me to be super cute and calm or whatever, and then they found out I had a big fat mouth and went to a girls school and they kicked me out,” she says. “And I’ve been through shit, so much shit in my life that I’m not going to shut up. I just wanna be the girl I needed when I was 15 for someone you know ”

She says her school experience was “intense” even before she was expelled for “a combination of bad grades and bad behavior.” Her parents moved to London from the Philippines because they thought she would get a better education, but she suffered a breakdown at age 11, followed by the “isolating” experience of being one of only a handful of Filipino girls at their Hammersmith To be secondary school.


Earn her stripes … Beabadoobee. Photo: Callum Harrison

Things got even more intense when she made a group of friends. “It was honestly the saddest I’ve ever been, but it was also the funniest I’ve ever had,” she says. “There are a lot of things that happen in girls’ schools, a lot of trends, and they really suck sometimes. There are some girls who glorified pain, glorified to be sad. It was that or drugs or whatever, my group was known for that kind of shit. I’ve done a lot of drugs. In a summer there wasn’t a day when I was sober and so young: 15 or 16. It was crazy, we just stimulated each other. I think we just wanted to escape a bit or fill a hole. I felt empty inside; I was neither happy nor sad, I just wanted to feel something. ”

In the end, it all went into her lyrics, which deal heavily with everything from insanity to infidelity, albeit always with hope: a refusal to indulge in “the glorification of the sadness one sees,” she says [online]: ‘I’m so depressed, everything sucks.’ You must have hope, man. ”

Sitting in the otherwise deserted offices of her record company, she glows in a brightly colored crochet top, hair clips and plastic jewelry, and a pair of those elongated Converse boots that come down to her knees. You can see why there are sections on the internet where teenage girls are copying their style even though they confess in amazement as to why anyone would do so. “I got canceled from my own TikTok because I said something like, ‘I don’t know why someone would do their makeup like me’ – because they looked ten times better than me – and people got it wrong and thought it was in my own ass or whatever. ”

She shakes her head: “I don’t really understand TikTok. I mean, I think it’s cool, but it has a required sense of humor. I watch TikToks five times and just don’t get it, I don’t get the joke. ”

In fact, Laus doesn’t seem straightforward to an artist whose career has been significantly promoted by social media, not least the pressure she puts on artists to be a “clean, flawless bitch.” bad news for someone who tends to both write songs and speak “without a filter”. She laughingly compares the disapproval she aroused by mentioning on stage that she had period stomach cramps – “Girls online say it was gross” – to the 1992 incident where L7’s Donita Sparks removed her tampon and threw him into a reading to the festival audience: “Society asks girls to behave in certain ways, and I think some people do [online] got into this trap … I don’t know, sometimes I feel like people have gone backwards a bit. I’m obviously so tame compared to [L7] But as soon as I act, people get angry when I’m loud in my mouth. ”

It used to bother her, but she claims that during the lockdown she had with her boyfriend, she “stopped fucking” planning the artwork for her debut album, “feeling good and knowing that I was an amazing group of people around me and I don’t feel like I have to make new friends. I am very satisfied at the moment. ”

And why shouldn’t it be? Things are going a lot better than she ever thought. Actually, that’s the good thing about calling yourself Beabadoobee, she says. “It reminds me of where it all came from. I was kicked out of school, I had no idea what to do with my life. My father was so worried about me, my boyfriend was worried about me. It reminds me that it came from this you know I’m still the girl who doesn’t know what the fuck she’s doing. But … I just ride the wave. ”

• • Fake It Flowers is released on October 16th on dirty hit

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