beabadoobee: The Future of Indie Rock

Beatrice Kristi has a one way ticket to world domination


 

I think its fair to say the British ‘guitar band’ scene has been rather monochrome over the past few years. Yes, we’ve had some excellent groups appear from the underground (IDLES and Black MIDI spring to mind) but in terms of mainstream successes there’s been a whole, whole lot of white indie boy bands, half of which were relevant ten-fifteen years ago and are just getting airtime to appeal to the average bucket hat donning BBC Radio listener.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Catfish and the Bottlemen sing-song as much as the next guy - but as a band they’ve released three identical albums and are showing no signs of artistic development. They still sell out arenas - but how long will that last? The 1975, for example,are a group that is difficult to constrain into a singular style. Their sound dips in and out of multiple genres, and they do try to utilize their platform to speak out against genuine issues. Key word being try. It’s not that groups like Catfish and the Bottlemen are bad bands, that’s not the case at all. They just make very little effort to bring something new to the table.

And yes, that’s virtually impossible. All music crafted over the last fifty years has magpied bits and pieces from their contemporaries but looking to the other side of indie and into the infamous ‘bedroom pop’ craze, we can see that artists who didn’t evolve were doomed to fade into memories and obscurity, and those that did are busy creating great music (see Clairo in all of her DIY wonder.)

Mentioning Clairo is apt here, with the artist’s 2019 Immunity tour featuring a supporting act that is poised to demolish the establishment of British music and stake her claim as the future of UK rock. Bea Kristi is a 19 year old musician from London and known by the stage name of beabadoobee, this Filipino-British songwriter is currently rocking 25 million monthly listeners on Spotify (what the fuck,) most of which were racked up before she finished her A-Levels (I repeat: what the fuck). But is the hype justified?

Yes, I believe it is.

 

Rather than attempting to appeal to a millennial generation (*cough, cough* Matty Healy), Kristie actually is part of this generation. As an artist she is well-embedded into the sensations and concerns of 21st century teenagers, but yet her music fuses 90s alt rock, shoe-gaze, indie folk, and grunge, among others. Generally, these aren’t the genres 25 million millennials would choose to listen to, but under the banner of beabadoobee all things coalesce into an unignorable musical package.


Is she the future of British music? Yeah. Definitely. Despite having only a handful of EPs under her belt, Bea is genuinely reworking a worn out genre into an angsty, yet poppy, millennial daydream. Instead of coming out of the Arctic Monkeys carbon copy factory, Bea and her band (Eliana, Louis and Jacob) idolise the left-field icons of the 90s. Daniel Johnston, Elliot Smith, Kim Gordon (Ed: sick), Stephen Malkmus, etc.

Another hint towards the future of the alternative landscape is collaboration. And no, not the ‘Ed Sheeran featuring every half-relevant artist in order to make a quick buck’ kind of collaboration. Songs, artwork, music videos, etc, are all collaborated on with friends and loved ones (first seen in the mainstream with the phenomenon that is BROCKHAMPTON.)

Bea blew up in 2017 with sweet lofi tune ‘Coffee’, produced by best friend and now label-mate Oscar Lang. All her music videos have been directed by Bedroom Projects, one half of which is boyfriend Soren Bryce. This level of intimacy within the creation of this angsty bubblegum world makes everything more personal. And it's working. More artists are going to follow this route in the coming years. Instead of some boardroom deciding on your album cover, why not get your best mate to design it?

 

While Bea’s music might not be considered particularly groundbreaking or revolutionary, her ethos and artistic processes are definitely something to be taken note of. Less than a year ago she played her first gig with her band. Now she’s the 67th most listened artist in the world on Spotify. And with an album on the horizon, Beatrice Kristi has a one way ticket to world domination.

I don’t wanna be that guy, but I cannot wait to say ‘I told you so’.

Listen to Space Cadet here:

 

James Mellen is a very bored student in his final year of compulsory education, waiting to study music production and performance at degree level. He is passionate about music, guitars and music. He also watches films sometimes.


Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based in London, England.

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