Irish trio Beauty Sleep recently released their debut album, ‘Be Kind’ – a soundtrack to your summer, full of positive affirmations about self-love and good intentions.
We had a chat with them about music, and being kind.
Describe your sound in three words.
Groovy optimism with synths!
Your debut album ‘Be Kind’ is out now. What has the journey been like in writing and recording it?
We started writing/recording it early last year. We always said that when we do an album we’re gonna write it from scratch and try and tell a story. So we started with a blank page, which we naively thought we’d fill in a couple of weeks, but it took a bit longer than that!!
It was essentially just me and Ryan in a room, often late at night, writing and recording as much as we could for months. After a while, that scenario really burnt us out. This album really pushed us to make a decision on what we wanted our sound to be and what we wanted to say and it was a challenge! A good challenge, I’m so proud of the outcome and so much more confident about Beauty Sleep’s sound, but it was definitely a journey!!
We started super excitable, writing and recording a huge amount of songs we were really into. We got a quite burnt out, introspective and doubtful in the middle, we felt like we lost perspective on what we wanted to say. So we went to Donegal and shut ourselves away from the world – jumped in the sea and climbed cliffs and suddenly the music started flowing again. When we went back into the studio we could suddenly see what we were trying to say and what the album was about. That was super magical. It all came together and got finished really quickly after that!
What is the theme throughout the album?
The theme throughout the album is about being kind. Hence the name! This band and this album have marked a time in our lives where we really felt like we were growing up and changing. That awkward mid 20s era of trying to settle into the adult human version of yourself. We were learning how to be the best people we could be while facing challenging times – dealing with disappointment and fear and responsibility in ways we hadn’t before. Walking through anxiety and stress and loss. We were trying to be honest to ourselves and our loved ones, stay true to who we were but grow at the same time. These songs are a really honest depiction of that journey for us.
The overarching lesson we learnt was a mantra we would often repeat to each other – ‘just be kinder to yourself.’ Stop beating yourself up for no reason, it only holds you back. Extend that kindness and empathy to others, try to find the joy in the tough times. These felt like the most important lessons to hold onto and send out into the world in our music. So it felt fitting to call the album Be Kind. We hope people get some empowering comfort from the songs as they walk through their own journey. The whole album is a celebration of us feeling down and getting back up again!
What does 2019 and beyond have in store for Beauty Sleep?
We’re finishing off our album launch tour in our hometown Belfast in The Mac on June 29th! We’re so excited as the rest of the tour has been so amazing. The energy in the rooms has been insane! So this will be a big homecoming celebration.
For the next few months, we’ll be playing lots of festivals and shows across UK, Ireland and Europe, celebrating Be Kind whenever we go! Beyond that, more songs, more albums, more shows. This band has been such an adventure for us and seeing the joy it brings others makes us want to do it forever!
We love new music at Indietronica. What new music are you listening to?
At the minute we’ve been listening to a lot of new releases from WHY?, Two Door Cinema Club, ChakaKhan, PillowQueens, HexHue and Soak. We’ve got extra long playlists at the minute from all the touring, so I could go on for ages!!
Sounds like: All Tvvins, Pleasure Beach, Passion Pit, Bleachers
We are huge fans of quirky Icelandic electro-pop provacateur Máni Orrason‘s new single ‘Numb’. In fact, we are slightly obsessed with all of the visuals for his last few releases, portraying a broken yet endearing persona of desperation and a need for love.
The visuals for ‘Numb’ flashback to straying and emotional neglect, “I had this desperate need to be seen and to be comforted. I guess i was really lonely at the time”, Máni recalls.
The EP ‘BABY ANGEL’ is out now via Humming Records.
It’s time to end this week’s gems on a funky number from cross Atlantic trio, TriOrca.
Comprised of multi-instrumentalists and writers, who between them have an ecclectic array of work connections – including Jessie J, Sam Henshaw, Empire of the Sun – their modern, yet nostalgic music fuses neo-soul, hip hop and 70’s psychedelica.
We challenge you not to become obsessed with ALL THE REST, a band from Georgia comprised of best friends, Caleb Smith (vocals, guitar), Baylee Waller (vocals, guitar), Jud Harris (drums), and Tre Housman (bass).
Their electro-pop catch, ‘Our Youth’ represents captures the essence of the band – loneliness and love while representing those who are “all the rest” of society.
Hailing from Milwaukee, CrystalKnives (aka Spencer Mutsch) is a 22-year-old jazz drummer turned electronic producer and songwriter.
His passion for melody and pop music illuminates through his production sound and style which has gained the attention of many listeners and industry watchdogs alike. He has teamed up with vocalist,
Sarah Warren and the track is out now via Elysian Records.
Moving on from a relationship can be challenging. The best thing to do is to write it into a song. This is exactly what Nashville-based Mokita (aka John-Luke Carter) has done with ‘Til I Don’t’.
Mokita started playing the piano and at the age of six and singing in the choir shortly after. After adding the guitar to his list of skills later on, he eventually ended up in the world of music production; giving him everything he needed to begin crafting his body of work as an artist.
When two talented multi-instrumentalists get together, the result is Triptych Miró.
Effortlessly combining electronic jazz & soul, the duo – comprised of Erez Sivan & Sapphire Adizes from Los Angeles via Tel Aviv – melt boundaries with their ultra cinematic, but heartwarming production.
Brighton trio Suzi Island shares vibrant new single, ‘Halo’.
Produced by Larry Hibbitt (Nothing But Thieves, SundaraKarma, SeaGirls, Marmozets), ‘Halo’ has a bittersweet sound throughout and is a clear bound forward for Suzi Island following their last two singles.
Sounds like: Nothing But Thieves, Sundara Karma, Sea Girls
Young & Sick is the project by musician and visual artist Nick van Hofwegen.
After a stroke of luck following a move from his home country of Holland to London, Nick was commissioned to put together artwork for artists such as Foster the People, Maroon5 and MikkyEkko.
If that wasn’t enough to contend with, this creative genius has taken his pen music and the result is funkily brilliant. His new single ‘Bitter End’ “is a celebration of seeing things through completely. It’s looking back at a pretty wild year of countless obstacles and turbulent skies. Through the eyes of an unstoppable maniac”.
You can purchase Young & Sick’s ‘Ojai’ EP on limited edition 7″ vinyl here, out now via Neon Gold Records / B3SCI Records.
He also plays some live dates supporting Our Lovely Friends and The Knocks (tickets here), where you can likely expect a multi-faceted experience of music performance and interactive art.
Jan 24 // Vancouver, CA @ Fortune Sound Club
Jan 25 // Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
Jan 29 // Chico, CA @ Senator Theatre
Jan 31 // Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
Feb 1 // San Luis Obispo, CA @ The Fremont Theatre
Feb 2 // Los Angeles, CA @ The Novo
Feb 5 // Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
Feb 6 // Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
Feb 8 // Dallas, TX @ Dada Dallas
Feb 9 // Austin, TX @ Historic Scoot Inn
Feb 10 // Houston, TX @ Bronze Peacock Room
Feb 12 // St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
Feb 14 // Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
Feb 15 // Columbus, OH @ A&R Music Bar
Feb 16 // Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
Feb 17 // Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Feb 20 // Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts
Feb 21 // Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Feb 23 // Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
Sounds like: Von Sell, The Knocks, Passion Pit, Summer Heart, Goldroom, Roosevelt, Sofi Tukker
Comprised of Robin French (Cuckoo) and Antonia Thomas (Misfits, Lovesick), these two creatives write seductive bossa nova music paired with calypso pop sensibilities that would fit well on the soundtrack of ‘The End of the F***ing World’.
On the motivation behind Bethnal Green Blues, Robin states,
“Sometimes you write a sad song from a happy moment. This came to me while I was flying to South America to see a girl I’d fallen for. It’s about the emotional ice age after a romance fails, but it was written as that ice melted under the Argentine sun..”
We love an indie anthem, so thank you to five-piece pop-rock, Dancing On Tables.
The band, school friends from school in Dunfermline, a small town just outside Edinburgh, have released ‘Colour Me Good’ – a groove-laced, vintage indie-pop track that encapsulates sun-drenched, dance-able songwriting with a distinct Scottish charm.
Sounds like: Sea Girls, Biffy Clyro, Circa Waves, The 1975
Slenderbodies is a California-bred duo who write forward-thinking, dreamy synth-pop.
Their new single ‘The One’ is intricately subtle musical medication, shared in preparation of their upcoming EP, ‘SORAYA’, to be released through Los Angeles indie label Avant Garden, which is also home to Emotional Oranges.
From summer season to ‘Sad Season’ with former professional cyclist Gavin Haley‘s latest single.
While competing with the national cycling team, Haley suffered an injury that resulted in a collapsed lung, setting back his travel by several months. During his recovery, he explored and found inspiration in Europe’s underground music scene, becoming enamored with energetic live performances filled with a grit and energy.
Starting with a simple West Coast-inspired guitar riff, ‘Sad Season’ soon picks up and exposes determined pop and R&B.
Canadian songstress ROYAL debuts with ‘Vessel’, the first of six new tracks that appear on her upcoming album, ‘Heart of Shadows’.
Covering the topic of heartbreak, loss of identity and raw self-reflection, this is electro-pop at its finest in 2018.
Speaking about ‘Vessel,’ ROYAL says,
“This song is about heartbreak – having to let go of someone you love, and then realizing the emptiness and loss of identity that ensues. I wrote this song it while trying to find myself after getting lost within a relationship for many years and then feeling shattered by the loss of a love I thought would last a lifetime.”
Sounds like: VÉRITÉ, Lana Del Rey, Evvy, Noosa, Dominique, The xx
Last but not least, our favourite breakthrough act – self-taught producer, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Von Sell.
After a bout of vocal pain and subsequent treatment, we are pleased to say that Von Sell is on the mend and returning to our stereos with ‘Scene OF A Crime’.
Taken from his forthcoming sophomore EP, ‘Digital Sleep’, the song reflects on unrequited love, but, due to its uptempo nature, it will ultimately leave a taste of confusion in your mouth because you can’t help but dance despite the disconcerting subject matter.
Sounds like: Summer Heart, Hazel English, Teen Daze, Peter Gabriel, Alt-J, Thomas Azier
We do like a good festival, and after hearing that NOS Alive in Lisbon, Portugal is up there as one the world’s best music festivals, we decided to plan a trip in July to find out what all the fuss is about!
In the mean time, buckle up and check out our ones to watch within the indietronica genres (looks like we’ll mainly see you at the Sagres Stage then!).
THURSDAY 12 JULY
Friendly Fires, Sagres Stage
Energetic Brit boys Friendly Fires return to the festival circuit after a hiatus.
Having already had massive success with hits such as ‘Paris’, ‘Jump In The Pool’ and ‘Skeleton Boy’, their new single ‘Love Like Waves’ doesn’t disappoint and continues the theme of tropical-tinged synth sounds.
Expect a highly fun and bold performance at NOS Alive.
One artist we are super stoked to check out live is Khalid.
The American singer/songwriter originally started writing music during his college years, where he was also declared prom king. Amalgamating an array of sounds from classical, pop to hip hop, Khalid shows a real sense of urgency in his music.
We can’t get enough of his track with Billie Eilish, and can’t wait to see him perform at NOS Alive.
Sounds like: Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Father John Misty, Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, Lorde, James Blake, Billie Eilish
Indie rockers Wolf Alice have been our firm favourites from the UK for some time now. They never disappoint at a live show, fronted by a fresh-faced Ellie Rowsell’s seemingly blasé but endearingly nervous attitude.
Expect a set full of their most brilliant tunes…so that’s all of them then!
Sounds like: Black Honey, Peace, Superfood, Foals, Circa Waves, Harry
Sampha is to be one of the UK’s best musical exports in 2018.
He has a knack for writing songs with deep and personal lyrics of pain and reflection, some of which have unfortunately has stemmed from health hardships suffered with his family at home, and we can’t help but think we are supporting him on this journey.
Truly thought-provoking stuff, definitely worthy of a slot at NOS Alive.
Sounds like: Jessie Ware, Frank Ocean, Solange, Moses Sumney, James Blake, Chet Faker, SBTRKT, Dallas Green
Future Islands‘ front man Samuel T Herring’s dancing is reason enough to go watch these guys at NOS Alive. And of course, the US synthpop band are wildly brilliant in as many unique, refreshing and inspiration ways possible.
Kicking off Saturday’s ones to watch are Lisbon natives, Lotus Fever.
They fit somewhere in-between Alt-J and Pink Floyd and it’s really refreshing to hear. We are expecting a super tight performance, thanks to their longstanding stint together since 2011 and it being their local city.
Their music has tendencies to sway in the 60’s, psychedelic market – imagine riding on a surfboard in space. However, we expect their set at NOS Alive to be a relaxed affair, where you can chill out and have a cider…or ride a surfboard in space, whatever takes your fancy!
Kasbo is an exciting Swedish producer whose music fits nicely alongside the likes of ODESZA and Aquilo.
His current release ‘Aldrig Mer’ (translating to ‘No More’ in English) combines organic elements including real instrument recordings and electronic synths, as well as the boundless vocals of rising UK duo TENDER.
Expect Kasbo’s debut album to come out on Foreign Family Collective/Counter Records on 23 March.
Cub Sport‘s new single ‘Good Guys Go’, questions just that – unreciprocated love, unfortunately a common theme in a lot of relationships.
The neon video, directed by Joe Agius is shot in real time with one roaming camera, and tries to capture an intense feeling of loss, inspired by images from fashion magazines and music videos by Michael Jackson, TLC, and Perfume Genius.