Interview: Bela Takes Chase

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Being beautiful can sometimes be a curse. There’s always the underlying problem of having to prove that you are so much more than just a pretty face. There are also some in this world who are born with the unique gift of effortless talent, making superficial beauty seem like a past time for Barbie dolls. And then there are those who combine the two to make ‘the whole package’. Bela Takes Chase is a prime example of one of those ‘whole package’ lucky souls.

The blonde (but bright) Aussie-born, singer songwriter is fit with ambition, looks and musicality, all of which have contributed to the impressionable debut EP Rough Luxe. The varying acoustic and electro-pop tracks on the EP are a library of soulful lyrics and Lenka cross Stevie Nicks vocals, all of which have led to an escalating fan base in both London and her home town Newcastle, Australia (home of The Screaming Jets and Silver Chair). Between the videos, interviews and upcoming tour dates, Drunken Werewolf’s Rachel Lily managed to catch a quick ten minutes to chat to the rising star.

So, we’re now 2 months in to 2013. How has it compared to 2012 so far?

Hmmm, well we're 2 months in and it’s already really busy! 2012 to be fair was very fast paced, but I think 2013 is going to go at superman speeds! It’s good though of course.

We know you have a lot of gigs lined up, is there a particular pre-show ritual you like to go through before hitting the stage?

It rather depends whether I'm doing a full band gig or an acoustic. Acoustic is a little more relaxed. I just kind of wander around aimlessly. I have been doing acoustic gigs since I was 15 so I kind of know what I'm doing. Live band ones though are a little more electric; there’s a lot more to do. I stay close to the band and make sure everything is working (it still goes wrong on stage of course) and basically just calm myself down but at the same time psych myself up.

We love the EP Rough Luxe’and its musicality. Has music always been a big part of your life? 

Massive.  I don’t remember a moment of significance or even non significance where music wasn’t involved in some way. It was just something that was always there, even if I tried to do other things, I would always end up coming back to it, I guess it’s my foundation.

The name Rough Luxe is an unusual one. How did it come about?

Yes! It’s actually the name of the hotel I did my 2012 photo shoot in for the release of the EP. It’s this amazing hotel in Kings Cross, completely vintage. The moment I saw it I was like I either need to become a concierge here or we're doing a photo shoot here. Needless to say I didn’t get the job, but I did get the photo shoot.

Your music has often been described as “delicate” and “fragile”. Is that something you would say is true of your personality too?

Yeah, but also strong willed and committed as well. It’s too easy to put women into these stereotypes.  I guess in some ways I've always been someone who tries to see all things from every angle.  I often look at music as being something incredibly whole and big. It’s a space where I can kind of speak about everything, even the more personal parts of my character

bela1Who are your musical influences?

Lots and forever changing.  Since childhood I've always been influenced my Simon and Garfunkel, Radiohead , Bach and Johnny Cash. At the moment I'm listening to a lot of M83 and Nick Cave. It's never just one thing for me though.

What kind of music do you absolutely detest?

I don’t know if you’ve experienced this but if I had to say something it would probably be  walking into a classroom of young children trying to play the recorder…it’s horrific... your hearing takes days to come back.

Your fan base in London is growing bigger every day. What made you emigrate from sunny shores to England and how has it compared?

Hmmm good question and in the middle of winter I ask myself the same thing... However! I've always had a yearning to kind of grow and explore and I think London offers the challenge of becoming a better musician through experience, so I felt that it was the right decision musically and personally for me.

 Just for the stereotype clarification, do you have a family member or friend named Sheila? 

Ha ha… No, however when I was 12 we had a Canadian exchange student come and stay with us whose name was Sheila. See! It’s not just Australians who come up with ridiculous stereotypes… It’s the Canadians too.

Your lyrics are exceedingly profound and poetic. Where do these ideas come from?

If I knew that my life would probably be a lot easy... I think they very much arise from experience or raw emotion, usually something that I can’t really control at the time and thus have to write about it. I think there’s a part of me that just wants to be bitterly honest in my lyrics but at the same time I feel it’s not my job to spell it out clearly, usually because I haven't figured it out yet myself. Lyrics are usually always a work in progress even if the song is finished.

Are there any ideas of what you want to do next? (asides from the current gigs lined up)

Well I know there are festivals getting booked up for the summer, a little tour would be great and of course, as its already underway, my second release. I'm back into the studio so I'm hoping to release something by april/may.

If you could have any other career, what would it be?

I’m not too shabby on cocktails… But I've always been fascinated by scaffolding. Maybe I could combine the two. Man on the edge anyone?

And in your dream artist duo, who would you most love to collaborate with?

It’s a tough one; there are lots to choose from.  PJ Harvey always! I’d have loved to have sung with Roy Orbison, but for now, if I have to choose, it would have to be Thom York.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. BBC Mixtape 06 Jan 2014 | Fresh On The Net - 05/01/2014

    […] BÉLA TAKES CHASE – Radiate [Starts 48:00] http://belatakeschase.com “I’m a singer/songwriter originally from Australia” says Béla “who’s jumped on a plane to London to find out what this capital of Europe is really about. I’m a girl who’s intention with music is to always be looking for sounds/grooves/and vibes that match the music in my head and the songs that spring from my fingers and mind. At the moment I’m marrying the reverby dreamy state with a more pop kick genre, but the next set of recordings might well be with an upright bass and a string section. And the one after that with some synths. It all depends on the song really. I’m about to release a new single, ‘Radiate” The video will also be out shortly and its all way exciting. with a little London tour through out Jan and Feb as well…” For more info about Béla, try this nice interview by Tiffany Daniels at Drunken Werewolf. […]

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