Her latest single ‘See You Soon’ explores the artist’s shroom-induced drive to spend time with herself
Bea Laus, best-known as beabadoobee, spent the day alone at the “shittiest natural history museum’” in Vegas. She wandered solo on the streets of Chicago, admiring the architecture and watching the trains dart past the streets. In London, she made dinner for one, and actually enjoyed the quiet of cleaning her new home. Life as a touring artist means long stretches of alone time, but for Laus, alone doesn’t necessarily mean lonely anymore. “It doesn’t mean I’m not gonna get fucking FOMO from not hanging out with everyone,” she explains. “But it honestly just feels so necessary being by myself.”
Creative evolution via psychedelics has earned its position as an artistic trope, and though the process may be a cliché, the results can be revolutionary. Laus has proved the method to be a tried and true means of production, but I imagine the likelihood of success is at least somewhat dependent on preexisting talent, which her past non-psychedelic-influenced work suggests she has. “See You Soon” is the product of a shrooms-driven realization that forced her to face herself and her mistakes. Since then, solo time has become a beloved staple to beabadoobee’s routine.
Laus is 21. I am not entirely sure what age technically qualifies a person to be a prodigy, but her success is undoubtedly impressive for her age. Her youth has allowed her fans to watch her evolution into adulthood. Her impending album Beatopia, out July 15, is a reflection of that evolution as she traverses the process of accepting individuality in the age of the internet. “I had this revelation where I was like, ‘Oh my god, the artists I love all have one thing in common, and it’s that they make music where they don’t give a fuck if no one understands what they’re writing about.’”
“See You Soon” embodies that attitude, dipping into a variety of genres and experimenting with styles of creation. Where Fake It Flowers, beabadoobee’s last album, depended on electric, Beatopia revisits the artist’s relationship with the acoustic guitar. The return to simplicity made it easier to break the rules she once followed.
Laus joined Document to discuss her sonic maturation, “See You Soon,” and its video, which premieres today.
Megan Hullander: What does it mean to be a pop star in the internet age?
Bea Laus: I don’t really consider myself as a pop star, because I don’t feel like one. I feel like a lot of eyes are watching me because I am on the internet and that’s, like, an inevitable thing. But I think you have to be aware that whatever you do can be an influence on other people. Do you know what I mean? Because your opinions are online, you show yourself online, and you post pictures online… I just make sure that whatever I’m putting out there is positive and good. Something that people can take away, sit with, and be happy about. I don’t want to get anyone angry.
Megan: What do you think are the defining points of your generation and how does the music of yourself and your contemporaries reflect that?
Bea: We’re definitely outspoken. We say things that people don’t like and I think we’re much more vocal with our opinions online, whether it’s to do with politics or something like sexuality. I feel like a lot of things in the world have changed because of how outspoken we are, especially beliefs. A lot of things are born from the internet, and it ties into what I said before about influential people, especially in this day and age with TikTok. Everything is so much more accessible, so you tend to learn a lot of things from the internet—and who is on the internet more than Gen Z?
In terms of music, Gen Z romanticizes the past a lot. Other generations, especially old men, think there’s no point in doing that, as there are bands from that time, but I feel like we take inspiration from a lot of things and add our own twist to it. We talk about the problems we experience now, and that’s what makes it so relatable to everyone. I feel like female artists and female-led bands talk about issues that every girl goes through. In terms of music, I think musicians nowadays feel like they can just make the music they want to make and they don’t have to follow the most stereotypical route—people are posting TikToks with their songs on it and it’s, like, blowing up. There’s a lot more freedom in that sense.
Megan: Do you feel pressure to fall into the tropes of the internet generation with the way you create, dress, perform?
Bea: I would be lying if I said I don’t—and anyone would be lying if they said they don’t. Inevitably, it’s subconscious—even if you don’t see a picture on Instagram, and you’re not directly like, ‘Yes, I am going to copy that look and I’m gonna remember that look and I’m going to do it.’ Like, at times, it could be without you even realizing when you see something and you’re just like, ‘Oh, I’m getting really into ballet flats.’ It’s probably because you’ve seen people wearing them in a few videos and it’s an inevitability at this point. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, though, because you can take inspiration from things, put your own twist on it, and make it your own.
The internet can be really helpful with that, because I can look at loads of photos and, a lot of the time, the things that inspire my music are art and film. I feel like it’s way easier now because everything is just so easy to find, but I don’t worry about it at all. I’ve got really cool friends that teach me a lot of things. In no way am I taking credit. I don’t want to be that person that says, ‘Oh yeah, I found everything myself,’ because my friends are the people that recommend things to listen to and watch.
Megan: Are you able to set boundaries for yourself that allow you to maintain a sense of privacy and personal space, while still opening yourself up to your fans?
Bea: A hundred percent. I think I do that without really thinking about it. I obviously want to be honest and true to myself in front of the fans and people who follow me online, but I think there are some things that are better left unsaid and private. I’ve always found it quite easy, because I’ve been on the internet for so long—though it’s probably better now than it was when I was a teenager, because I would say lots of stupid shit on the internet back then.
Megan: How do you think your youth has served your music?
Bea: I feel like it tends to influence a lot of how I write my music. I tend to look at my youth a lot when writing my songs because I’ve been through a lot in my life. I’ve even had the stereotypical all-girl Catholic school teenage years thing, and I feel like I have a lot of experiences to pull from and write about. Even just being a 21-year-old girl. That’s enough for me to write a lot of things that people can relate to because, at the end of the day, I’m just like them and we go through the exact same shit. So, I feel like my life plays a really big part in the way I write my music. That was definitely the case with my last album Fake It Flowers. And then, in the case of my new album Beatopia, I am looking back on my youth and not looking at it in a really negative way, but in a way that I can really grow from. It was the first time I really looked back at it fondly. It was strange, but it was really healthy.
Megan: What’s the story behind ‘See You Soon?’
Bea: ‘See You Soon’ is almost like what I just explained with the premise of Beatopia. In general, it’s me talking about finally spending time by myself to reflect on a lot of things in my life and realizing how it doesn’t paint my character. It’s about how my past doesn’t define me. I only realized that when I went off by myself and just did my own thing. I met my friends, and I did shrooms, and I just had like this, like, revelation. I wrote ‘See You Soon,’ the day after that, and it was really just therapeutic. Sonically, I wanted it to sound like a breath of fresh air… almost like you’re going through the same realization that I had. It’s one of my favorite songs off the record.
Megan: Where were you when you were writing it? What is your writing process like?
Bea: I started writing ‘See You Soon’ in my bedroom and then finished it in this little studio with my guitarist Jacob who did the album with me. I’d written all the chords and written the words, and he brought the song to life. He had come up with so many amazing ideas and so many strange ways to make it sound like my voice was all around you. We really wanted to encapsulate the idea of tripping on drugs with ‘See You Soon.’ We wanted it to sound like a massive trip, as if it was engulfing you. It was really, really fun to make, but I wrote it in my room one night after I came back from my night on shrooms. It’s quite funny.
“I met my friends, and I did shrooms, and I just had like this, like, revelation.”
Megan: What are you trying to say with it?
Bea: That it’s okay to spend time by yourself, and that I feel like alone time is really necessary in terms of reflecting on your life and understanding yourself because, if you’re constantly surrounded by people, that means you have constant distractions. I’m not saying your friends are distractions, but I feel like you are your truest self when you’re left alone. You can think about your life. That was definitely the case with me and ‘See You Soon.’ I was thinking about, like, my past and how I thought it had affected me when I wrote about it on Fake It Flowers, but it was the first time I felt like it did not define me as a person and that I could grow from it—that I could use it to my advantage rather than look back at it and feel trapped in it.
Megan: Tell us about the concept of the music video.
Bea: I wanted the video to be very simple, just like the song is. Funnily enough, the video was shot in Brighton and I love going there. I love getting fucked up in Brighton. It was also right next to Jacob’s family home. We didn’t even realize that ‘til we actually arrived at the location and it just connected everything so perfectly—the idea of youth, the idea of childhood and, you know, going back to your roots and realizing that you’re moving past it. I think that was the whole premise of the music video, and me being in the back of the pickup truck. I just wanted it to be like some sort of performance and just wanted the art to communicate the lyrics, you know? I didn’t want a lot of things going on and I think it ended up quite beautiful, in my opinion. I don’t think it’s the most flattering video of me, but it’s the realest video of me.
Megan: What inspires you to create?
Bea: I think life has always been a big inspiration for the way I create. That’s always going to be something I’m going to use, but I think a lot of things that have been inspiring me to write recently have never really inspired me before, like films and art. I try my best to see a lot of galleries now that everything’s opening up. There’s so much happening in London. Other people’s stories really, really inspire me. At times, I don’t even look at my own. I get inspired by friendships and friends and what they’re going through. I’m always that friend that people go to for advice, even though I’m shit at it. It almost feels like I can put that into song at times.