RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW WORTHINGS BETH SARAH
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
My parents are both musical, so I grew up thinking that music was just an integral part of everyone’s lives. Turns out I was one of the lucky ones, being surrounded by it! I wrote a few songs as a child to sing in Church plays, then started writing properly when I was 14 years old – the first being on the back of a napkin in a high school history lesson.
Introduce us to the members of the band and your musical history. I have historically performed on my own for a number of years and only recently decided to try a band sound. I’m never going back! I had a few opportunities in my teens to pursue a music career but everything had to be put on hold while I concentrated on parenting a child with additional needs. Now they are old enough to be independent, I am embracing music like never before – with the added bonus of already having hundreds of songs written during the time when I couldn’t perform or record. In my band now I have James Howard on keys, Dom Pallat on bass and Dominic Myers on drums. I play acoustic guitar and a bit of piano/synth sometimes.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in; how do you feel you are doing? I’ve learnt so much in the past couple of years about what it really means to push for a career in the music industry. You need to be confident but not arrogant and it can be tricky to make sure you don’t cross the line. I feel like I’ve covered a lot of ground in 2022 – mainly through networking and getting new contacts in the industry all the time. Knowing people is a huge part of making it work.
How have your song writing skills developed over time? When I first started writing songs they were totally heart-on-sleeve about falling in love, break ups, make ups and other teenage angsty themes. I used to write so often that I have a folder full of hundreds of pages, and I always recorded the songs on to cassette so I could remember how they go. These days I spend longer on each song as I craft it, and ensure that I’m completely happy before deciding that it’s finished. So I suppose I utilise more of the songs I write now than the songs I wrote earlier in my life.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help? I’m not sure that anyone can change other people’s behaviour. You can challenge it for sure – but how can you know who is going to a gig when they buy tickets? Certainly security is a must but that should be in place anyway. Straight answer – I don’t know.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips? Just keep on plugging away. Socials are exhausting but you have to stay on top of it because that’s what drives engagement – and the more your followers engage, the more the algorithms will start to share your content in other places. Also, as I said previously – networking. Go to events like the Ostereo seasonal meet ups; they are great places to meet other musicians, producers, reviewers, labels etc.
Tell us two truths and a lie about you. When I was 19 I was flown out to Majorca for a band audition with Chic Murphy, the guy who financed the Spice Girls. / My eldest son is in a Beatles tribute band as George Harrison. / As well as being a musician, I also walk dogs as my day job.
What are your thoughts on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry? I think that tools are there to be used. Even though it’s frustrating how streaming has completely changed the music industry and an artist’s ability to make money from it, I still appreciate what Spotify does and how it has opened up a whole new world of music for me. I am always an advocate for moving with the times and changing how I do things to make the system work for me.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? No. I would rather not look too deeply at things like that because I have enough on my plate right in front of me to deal with. That’s parenting for you!
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic? Oh, so many things. I bought a full setup up for streaming on twitch in my studio but never use it anymore – cameras, lights, another mic, a mixing desk – all sitting there doing nothing now.
What was the worst experience on stage? Actually, on stage, I’ve not really had any bad experiences but leading up to stage time I can think of a few gigs! This year we had a gig at The Dublin Castle in Camden and there were three bands and a DJ on the bill. We turned up exactly when we had been asked to, along with the other bands, and the sound guy just never showed. The promoter (who also wasn’t there) eventually sent another sound guy, by which time one of the bands had gone and we ended up late on stage. I also didn’t have anyone there from my hometown to support me because there were train strikes and no-one could get there, so we played to a bunch of locals. What fun!
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about. I have a master’s degree in Early Childhood Research!
What makes you stand out as a band/artist? My life experience. Being at an age where I know exactly what I want to be doing and having a whole team of people around me who are helping to get there. I’m unsigned but who needs a record label when you have the best friends who can help with all those things?!
I hear you have new music; what can you tell us about it? I have an album coming out on 1st February 2023. The first single, Let her go, is winging its way to online stores as we speak and will be available on 30th December. The whole album is based around this song and documents the journey I have been on, from experiencing trauma to change and the resulting freedom and release.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune. Let her go is a mantra to myself; it’s about letting go of who I used to be – feeling like I could never say yes to an opportunity and had to always squash my creativity to be all the things to everyone else. So as I am embracing this new perspective of throwing myself into music like never before, I say goodbye to the ‘me’ that I once was.
What was the recording process like? We recorded the whole album at our local college, utilising their amazing facilities while also providing material for the degree students to work on as their projects. Our engineers were students and we all learnt things from each other in the process! We recorded in a live setting, all in the same room playing at the same time, and then I re-done the vocals at home as I have a home studio (not big enough for a band!).
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes? Since having a band, I’ve had to think more about the arrangements of songs and what each band member is supposed to play. Generally, they all seem to just get my vibe straight away and I haven’t really had to give much direction. That’s what happens when you work with top-notch musicians!
Would you change anything now it’s finished? I had the three singles mixed professionally and I’m so happy with how they have turned out. If I could afford to have all of the album tracks mixed professionally, I would do that. But I am still really proud of the work I’ve done on these tracks myself, and I’ve learnt so much in the process.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world? Just that I hope you enjoy it – this whole work has been a labour of love and I keep crying at how it’s finally materialising. Getting these songs down and having them sound how they did in my head when I wrote them is such a gift and I really hope that the lyrics bring comfort and encouragement to others.