INTERVIEW: The Beths | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Image: The Beths by Frances Carter

Catching up with a touring band is no easy feat, and so it proves with New Zealand pop rock darlings The Beths. Fortunately, during a well-earned night off in Germany I’m grateful lead vocalist Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Stokes graces me some of her free time for tour-based questioning.

The band’s live schedule is pretty punishing; they began playing their own US headline dates back in February following some festival appearances down under, and they’ve been hopping the Atlantic from Europe to the US, ever since. So, genuinely concerned, I ask Liz how things are going?

Things are going great! It’s been a busy tour, zooming around in the van alternating between headline shows and festivals. Busy is a good thing though!” I need more reassurance asking whether the switching back and forth across continents is actually enjoyable or just a ‘part of the job’? “It feels a bit like a marathon (not that I know what a marathon feels like) but I imagine it’s about careful management of energy. I feel very lucky that we are a group where everybody is kind and helpful even when operating on very little sleep. Though lack of sleep along with extreme hunger can be a challenging combo that we try to avoid.”

The camaraderie and sincerity of the band, and their music, is something audiences have a huge appetite for too. The Beths’ crisp melodies, intricate harmonies and upbeat indie rock tunes infuse smiling crowds everywhere, even when the lyrics bite harder, and onstage they’re an absolute riot of fun.

The Beths’ crisp melodies, intricate harmonies and upbeat indie rock tunes infuse smiling crowds everywhere, even when the lyrics bite harder

So following more US gigs the band will return to the UK playing festivals and a Newcastle show at the Boiler Shop on Wednesday 19th July. “Our schedule is quite dense, and for us playing a show well is the best and most satisfying part of touring.” Is downtime even a thing then? “This tour there hasn’t been very much time to fill to be honest. I’ll bring my Nintendo Switch. I didn’t this time, instead I have been doing crosswords on the NYT games app, watching Bouldering finals on YouTube, and I brought a little Hercules Starlight mini DJ controller. I am learning how to DJ, though I am still very bad.” The strains of touring mean that writing new material can be tricky. “I don’t really write ‘songs’ on tour, my brain kind of melts. But I do get lyrical ideas or song ideas, usually just phrases I think are funny, or imagery or wordplay. I’ll jot them down.”

In August the foursome are US bound again supporting The National, finishing up in October with future dates planned for the Southern Hemisphere including Jakarta, where Liz was born.
As fans of the band know, they’ve blessed us with three albums to date, released at two-year intervals, the most recent being Expert In A Dying Field, so I tentatively enquire if 2024 might promise another. Sadly, it’s unlikely. “We’re much busier now with touring than we were in 2020/21, so we’ll need to give ourselves a bit of time. So maybe… 2025?”

You heard it heard first. Officially, kind of. Before then you can undoubtedly see one of the hardest working bands live somewhere in the world, right now.

The Beths play the Boiler Shop, Newcastle on Wednesday 19th July.


Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout