BEA1991 has been gaining traction since 2014 as a multi-disciplinary artist and musical polymath, but her intentions are far from achieving mass critical success or fame. Her music and live performances balance power with beguiling ethereality, intimacy with full immersion in sound and visuals. Her multiverse of talent has led to projects with fashion houses Eckhaus Latta, Camiel Fortgens & SUNNEI, as well as collaborations with fellow artists and friends, Blood Orange and Porches, to name a few. Since dropping her single ‘V4’ in November, BEA1991 has been revving up towards more. Her latest track titled ‘My Own Heaven,’ is a mesmerising trip through slow-burning synths and sensual guitar, with enchanting vocals beckoning the listener in further. We spoke to BEA1991 to learn more about the story behind her latest single, her creative working process, and the freedom of living in the now.
You describe yourself as an 'emotional athlete' - can you talk us through what you mean by this?
Everything I’ve ever done or made in my career as an artist so far has been driven by emotional calculations and initiated by emotional triggers. Being self-taught in every area, it’s something that I’m very enthusiastic about. It’s a field of research I’m gradually reading into (the emotional motors of the brain and how, anatomically, we are built to continually integrate our implicit emotional expertise into daily routine). It’s so interesting! Rational and Emotional aren’t just two separate parts in the brain, they interconnect all the time and the Rational is (proven) more influenced by the Emotional than the case vice versa. The truth is, I think many very grounding emotional qualities are overridden in modern day society, and I’m working in the area of re-establishing a loving awareness towards them.
There's a mood of escapism and ethereality in the music you make and visual aesthetics - where do you think this stems from?
I’m not sure I can explain that or even should if I could. What I make is for you (the receiver) to interpret and for me (the conceiver) to make, right? that’s the beauty of the exchange – for me to vocalise what my intentions are sonically or visually would be to break away from the trust I have in the work explaining itself. Besides, I’m way more interested in hearing other people’s interpretations than telling someone my own.
Can you talk us through the making of 'My Own Heaven'? What was the process like, and what were you influenced by?
‘My Own Heaven’ is a song about the experience of ultimate euphoric joy within a paradox: in that this experience of exhilaration is still one that happens in your own mind, it’s something you can take away with you, or discard, or doubt. Are feelings of joy strictly emotional experiences that happen within a singular mind? Sometimes the feeling is shared, but still the individual experience is personal, right? It’s not easy to embrace this fact, but it seems everyone has a very different idea of what happiness is and when it can come about. This is probably why we’re not often in mass-euphoric harmony – expectations vary, perspectives clash, and observational judgement between groups from afar, above all, can rule out a lot towards the option of sharing it.
What are the most important elements for you to consider when it comes to creating and making music?
The process is infinite and can feel so shit and mostly is NOT in your control. If you don’t accept that, you’re banging on a dead wall. Also fuck making hit songs. I’m most excited when I’m simultaneously disgusted and impressed by something I wrote. That ambivalent quality wants to be explored.
Apart from making music, what other forms of creativity are you passionate about and do they all intersect with each other?
This is how I see it: I don’t think I AM a lot of different things, but I want to DO a lot of different things. Important nuance! Photography is something I’m really drawn to. I design and sew, and sometimes collaborate with designers and sell a limited series of items semi-branded as BEA1991 merchandise. I’ve also started curating other people’s work and art directing their autonomous route. I try to bring them back to their inner drive and detect an (often overruled) chore strength that might need more of a spotlight. I’ve loved doing this over the past months. The idea comes first, then the tool or medium to facilitate it. So that tool or medium can end up being anything.
How has splitting your time between Amsterdam, London and NYC fed into and influenced your creative process?
Not so much. Apart from me working with people who are based in these cities and have added to my process in the music-collaboration sense. I don't really have the time to take in New York or London fully as I go straight into the studio most of the time. Perhaps I’m more of a small-town girl anyway and prefer the country side to big cities. Or maybe a healthy mixture. It’s confusing I know.
How do you see your work developing in the future? What do you hope to achieve through your creativity?
I’ve been in my mind a great deal and have thought about my developments, to the point where they’ve stifled me. I’ve always just worked like mad and have been critical towards myself. This past year or so, I’ve turned it around and made a point of letting go of all these potential future scenarios. My objective now is to live in the moment and surrender to the fact that all I have is the now. Running over achieving certain goals – I’ve done more than enough of that. I won’t stop challenging myself to evolve creatively and professionally. Because it’s all I want, but right now I'm going to live out everything I have prepared in the previous years. Exit the dream state.
interview MORNA FRASER
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