The Beths, from New Zealand, will play a not-to-be-missed show for indie rock fans on Thursday, July 25, at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) at 9 p.m. Since the release of last year’s Future Me Hates Me, the catchy creators have rapidly risen as one of the world’s more exciting new rock bands. They’ll be joined by L.A. rockers Girl Friday and Ontario, CA, surf rockers Ariel View. I emailed vocalist/guitarist Liz Stokes about their tour, life since their debut, and harmonies.
How was the first leg of your North American tour, and what are you looking forward to about your second North American leg? The first leg has been great, our expectations have been exceeded for kindness and hospitality, and Girl Friday are just such a good band and are a fantastic influence on the tour environment. Lots of these shows have been first times to a place … the list is long. That’s lovely, but I am looking forward to revisiting places we’ve been a few times in the last year. Returning to L.A., where some of our best friends in the world live. And many more places for the first time too. And playing more shows with Girl Friday!
What are your thoughts on playing Santa Barbara? Have you ever been? Never, but looking forward! It sounds like it might be one of the more … European-style … cities in the USA? It will be interesting to see, and the coast — Auckland is a coastal city, so we’ll feel that after being in the Midwest for so long.
In what ways has life changed for the better since the release of your debut album? Touring is a crazy, unique experience and having done it for 18 months, I’m so glad I’ve had this opportunity. You meet so many people from such diverse backgrounds. You live music like you never would at home. The group you’re with becomes very close; you take care of each other — like a family. And for the common thread through it all to be our music, it’s very special. It’s a dream come true in so many ways, but it’s been hugely challenging too — the hardest, and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
You all are great harmonizers. Who are some of your harmonic inspirations? How and when do the harmonies come along in the creative process? Most of the harmonies usually come to me when I’m writing and become baked into the song. We work on it in practices and it sometimes develops from that starting point, with all of us adding or streamlining parts. We are constantly tweaking them, and hard as we try, we’re never totally satisfied after a gig. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins and Bright Eyes are big for me, but also pop-rock harmonies, the singalongs and overlapping parts of Fall Out Boy, as well as the whole call-and-response thing of ’60s groups. Although I think this has mostly filtered down to me through later groups. If there’s more than one voice in a major key, you’re never too far from the Beach Boys.
Touring can be a bit monotonous. How do you keep it fun? Playing shows is pretty fun. It’s the most fun thing we do. But silly games between us, van language, in-jokes, all of that goes on. Ben writes a blog which we are all involved with, I think that might be the shining achievement of the last few tours, it’s called breakfastandtravelupdates.com and it’s a pretty great record of our lives and breakfasts on tour.