- Words Ross Mondon
- Photo Credit Joshua Atkins
For one that doesn't follow the traditional concepts of the music industry, Dirty Hit alt-pop prodigy beaux is winning fans over.
Inspired by the one and only Freddie Mercury and true rock stars Green Day from a young age, beaux found himself strutting round the house with a studded belt and black eyeliner as a young teen who taught himself the world of music. Though still running up and down the corridors of school and avoiding trouble, beaux had one sight, and that was the dream of touring and releasing music. Fast-forward to a couple of years, the dream is real.
After a chance DM to Dirty Hit after seeing The 1975 in the fields of Reading Festival, beaux now sits between the slots of beabadoobee and Wolf Alice. He admits: “I’ve had some crazy opportunities, and although I’ve not yet solidified my place in the music world for the rest of my life, I feel like I’m currently starting to live out my original goal of making music and doing shows – which feels really great.” And he’s not wrong, with multiple projects to his name, international recognition and a headline show at the Camden Assembly on the horizon, the sensibilities of his own quirk blended by the taste of modern indie pop are already winning fans over.
With his latest single, “benadryl” now out, Notion found out the story behind it, the excitement of his first headline show, and the prospect of new music on the horizon.
Congratulations on the release of your first single of 2022, “benadryl”. What does this song mean to you and what inspired it?
Thank you! This is my first release since being able to do live shows, and I feel like you can really hear the influence that performing live has had on my sound with this song. I want to keep exploring and expanding on this new direction with my music and this feels like the start of that.
The song was inspired by my girlfriend’s hay fever and her reliance on Benadryl to get through summer. I wrote it around the time when I first started to go and visit her at her uni in Cardiff.
Did you always want to become a musician, or was there something else you dreamed of?
When I very young, I wanted to be David Attenborough, but being a musician was also up there.
Growing up, who were some of your musical heroes? Do you think they influence your sound today?
First it was Freddie Mercury – I had this DVD of a live show Queen did that I watched incessantly. Then my brother introduced me to Green Day and Billie Joe Armstrong became my musical hero, and still is to be honest. I wore studded belts ‘cos of Billie, black eyeliner and learnt guitar because of him (exclusively learning Green Day songs for the first few years). In more recent times, I’ve been massively inspired by The 1975 and Matty Healy as a songwriter and live performer, and George Daniel as a producer.
I think in my first EPs, you can hear The 1975 influence in my production, but with “benadryl” and the more recent music I’ve been making, I think there’s also been a lot of influence from Green Day, a little bit of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Weezer, Pavement, Dinosaur Jr etc… things like that.
In the past few years you have finished your A-Levels early, signed to Dirty Hit, and released multiple projects. How would you describe your musical journey?
I think my musical journey has gone in a load of different directions and at different speeds – the first few years, when I was really young, were obviously a lot more directionless, I was still at school but also posting covers on social media. But I was still just as focused on the goal of one day becoming an artist who could just tour and release music for a living, even if i wasn’t doing either of those things at that point yet. Things changed quite dramatically when I signed to Dirty Hit and then even more so post-Covid. I’ve had some crazy opportunities, and although I’ve not yet solidified my place in the music world for the rest of my life, I feel like I’m currently starting to live out my original goal of making music and doing shows – which feels really great.
How would you personally describe your sound?
It’s an amalgamation of everything I’ve ever been inspired by and my own personal quirks and techniques. I learnt how to produce using YouTube tutorials, but also mostly through trial and error, which I think means I do some things in unconventional ways – I may not do everything in the most technically correct way, but I think it adds a certain individual character.
How did you approach the creative process on “benadryl” compared to previous work? Do you believe you have grown as an artist?
The creative process with this song was quite different to my earlier music – I didn’t do this one in my bedroom, I did it at Jonah Summerfield’s studio. We recorded live drums, which is actually a first for me. Usually I’ve just programmed them myself or in the case of EP 3, Freddy Sheed programmed them on a few of the songs. There’s also just a lot more guitars in all of the music that I’ve been working on. It all feels more live!
I do think I’ve grown as an artist and I think live shows have helped a lot with that, and the creative process has definitely developed. But I also want to spend the new few months back in my home setup, working on my laptop by myself for a while – I think a mixture of working alone at home, and then in the studio working on production with other people is cool. I think I might take a PROPER break from social media and all that at the end of the year and just really focus on the music making.
What is your songwriting process? How has it developed?
I feel like my songwriting has developed, but the process has not changed that much – I like to write my lyrics by myself, because I feel like they’re more authentic and specific that way. I usually just sit with a guitar or put the logic project on loop and just write over the top. I wanna keep pushing myself to go deeper with my lyrics and further expand the topics I’m writing on.
Are there any artists you would love to collaborate with in the future?
I’d love to do something with Deaton Chris Anthony, the production he does on his music is so sick.
You’re planning to hit the road and headline Camden Assembly this October – how excited are you to perform your first ever headline show, and what’s the dream venue to play?
I’ve had a great time doing festivals and supporting other artists, and I hope I can do a lot more of both. But the idea of doing a headline show is just so exciting for me – being able to have a night where all my family and friends who always hear about the music can come down, and the fans who’ve been listening and supporting me since 2020. We can finally congregate in one place and sing the songs that they’ve helped to build and shape. I really am so excited and can’t wait to get into rehearsals to put it all together, since it’s gonna be a way longer set than I’ve ever performed before, gotta double the amount of songs!
I would love to play Roundhouse or Brixton Academy.
There’s whispers of even more new music just around the corner. What can we expect from you for the rest of the year?
Who’s been whispering??? Got quite a lot of music coming out after “benadryl” this year, it’s all ready to go, I’ll let you know when I know the dates…