Interview: Beau

Bringing back the power of song.

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“Lovers and music”—the first thoughts of Emma Rose and Heather Golden, collectively known as Beau, upon waking on an average New York morning. For these unspoken leaders of the bohemian youth wave, music is literally and metaphorically life’s soundtrack. With 2015 marking Beau’s debut EP before either’s 22nd birthday, the months to come promise ageless perspectives from the indie-soul duo.

The names Heather Golden and Emma Rose seem almost too fitting for a dreamy American folk collective called Beau. These stage names, derivatives and simplifications of their given ones, are ever-evolving signatures in Beau’s joint coming-of-age transition. It’s a relationship that began at summer camp during elementary school, catalysed by their painter mothers’ companionship in Greenwich Village. So far, so boho. Growing up together, they managed not to grow apart, their character differences creating a remarkable “yin-and-yang” compatibility, they tell Glamcult.

While Rose describes Golden as “funny”, “creative” and “psycho-active”, and Golden pins Rose as “flirtatious”, “concise” and “adventurous”, their shared values of honesty, friendship and support—a “kind of love”, as Rose puts it—summon seamless creativity. Since the precocious age of 13, the duo has written a stockpile of songs that would eventually go on to comprise their self-titled EP. The venues where they debuted their sound, however, did not predict this eventual accomplishment.

Trade now poster-worthy New York locations such as the Chelsea Hotel for typical teenage house parties. In between the hip hop and dance tracks of these informal get-togethers, Golden and Rose’s friends insisted that the pair play their heart-felt anthems. “We’d be, like, ‘Really?’” says Rose, as the room suddenly quietened for their impromptu performance. “We started feeling like this entity,” she continues. “And that’s what turned it into something, you know, much greater than we thought.”

An impulsive trip to Paris pursuing Golden’s boyfriend of the time unfolded into an adventure more promising than young love or house-party performances. After gathering the necessary funds to make the cross-Atlantic flight, Rose joined her best friend, and through mutual acquaintance and Parisian graffiti artist André Saraiva, Golden and Rose met Kitsuné co-founder Gildas Loaëc. Despite having carried notebooks at all times since the age of 13 and amassing pages of poetry, melodies, lyrics and eventually songs, this was far from a premeditated attempt to jumpstart their career. In fact, they were especially ill prepared to play for Loaëc—“I didn’t even bring my guitar,” quips Rose.

“We did have all these songs, but we just didn’t know what to do with them, nor did we think about what to do with them,” Rose recalls, her giddiness a contrast to her generally considered demeanour as the pair relives an experience they describe as “incredible” and “surreal”. “Gildas was, like, ‘So, you know, maybe we can work together,’” Rose recalls. Golden intervenes: “And I was, like, wait—this is the guy we just met who has this record label, right?” Their impromptu meeting with Loaëc outlived Golden’s Parisian fling and solidified Beau as a group.

The vision of the album that resulted from that opportune Parisian meeting is “this teen angstmeets-coming-of-age-meets-girl out of New York,” Golden explains. Powerful songs like Lost Soul, Rose’s favourite, written during their early years, satisfy even the most jaded of listeners. “You hope when everyone listens to your song they get this deep, gutting feeling, whatever it may be,” Golden continues. This teen-to-20 transition resonates throughout their debut EP, but also creates an unintentional universality to their music

Making their journey together linked the sister-like duo in intangible ways. Just the other day, Golden explains by way of example, they wrote parts of a song in complete isolation, which effortlessly combined into a united whole. “In order to have a seamless work ethic you need to have the kind of connectedness that we have,” Rose explains. “It’s based a lot on energetic compatibility.” For early 20-somethings, Beau’s understanding of the world’s nonphysical composition extends beyond expected levels, especially with respect to their relationships. “Working with someone on a creative and emotional—like, very emotional—level is really beautiful, and I think that’s the root of all humanity,” Rose concludes.

Beau are able to channel their energy into vivid lyrics that strike the intellect through indisputable constructs—ones that the girls know people relate to, have thought about and visualized. “Maybe not necessarily a horse with no lungs,” Golden quips, referencing their own lyrics. “But everyone knows what it’s like to be as small as a grain of salt in this huge world.” These lines are just some of the many gems that reverberate through an EP they modestly labelled “coming-of-age”.

Metaphors like these come with minimal effort, “like word vomit” according to Golden—where they “can just spit things out,” Rose continues. “There are things that brew in our minds and our psyche,” she clarifies of their noteworthy lyrics. “It’s these elements, these kinds of truths, that I think most of the time are released very spontaneously. It’s almost like something you’ve always wanted to say.” And the duo has allegorical boxes full of perspectives to share.

Shared beliefs on the state of mainstream music stimulates Golden and Rose’s contribution to the industry. The duo feels that the “essence” of classic singer-songwriting has been flattened—or rather, misdirected—through overuse, electronic tracks and the tendency toward simple instrumentation. Music in its “raw form” provokes the duo to apply an intentional approach to their creative process. “We really stick to our guns in the way that we work on our vocals. We work on guitar, we hand write everything and we have real drums,” Rose explains. “We take pride in that.”

Beau’s aspirations are at odds with the disaffected air of the majority of their peers. “Yes, bring back the power of song!” Golden declares in full confidence: that’s their never-fading goal. It’s an intention influenced by past greats but entrenched in current storylines. “It’s obviously not trying to relive a different time where it was Bob Dylan, Neil Young or Joni Mitchell,” Golden continues, “but to find whatever it can be today for the world and for our generation.” The duo hopes to join artists like Alabama Shakes, Flo Morrissey, Tallest Man on Earth, CocoRosie and Adele who all, according to Beau, are pursuing the same goal in either more classical or experimental ways.

Beau’s inspiration extends beyond music to the thrill of everyday exploration. “Life in general, it’s just so… it’s flourishing. It’s really intense. Every day is an adventure,” says Golden. The duo takes time to go out, observe and slow down from today’s virtual pace. “There’s this instant gratification in the cyber world now, where you just see something, and, nope… next… next… next!” Rose explains. “You really absorb less energy, and you take less time to feel things.” Be it outer-space, colours, paintings, a sunset, the moon, flowers, struggles, politics, Alice in Wonderland or New York and its characters, inspiration does not stop at their doorstep. “It’s really interesting when you’re writing a song to think about the world. I think songs can be very self-involved sometimes,” Rose confesses.

The ambitions of Beau centre on sharing their spontaneous, heartfelt experiences with an audience. “Music is a gift that you get to explore yourself and give back to other people,” Golden explains. “It’s one of the only forms that really touches the senses instantly and gets you feeling so much.” While Golden and Rose anticipate their upcoming album, Glamcult awaits their next turn of unexpected events that could once again propel their music and career into a completely new domain.

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By Emily Vernon

Photography: Katharina Poblotzki

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