Freya Beer is a refreshing talent who is carving a space of her own in the alternative music scene. Her stark sound binds poetic lyrics and intoxicating vocals with a visceral accompaniment of powerful drums and electric guitar. The songstress has been championed by BBC Introducing as well as BBC Radio 6 Music, the latter of which debuted her sensational new single, ‘Siren’. Beer has also supported the Bard of Salford himself, John Cooper Clarke and renowned bands and musicians such as Brix & The Extricated, Stella Donnelly, and Kristeen Young. It’s safe to say that this exciting young artist is building anticipation for the release of her debut album which has been produced and recorded during lockdown.
The unsettling abundance of free time brought on by the pandemic sparked an opportunity to explore creative avenues for Beer: “I love watching films and discovering new art and books and this has really helped to fuel my creativity. I’m a very visual person so having all this time has been really beneficial.” She continues:
“It’s been an interesting experience because all recording has been from home so I have been expanding my skills and buying decent equipment to get the best out of what I’ve got. With recording all you need is communication with who you’re working with, whether that’s your producer or, in my case, my drummer Owain Hanford who I’ve been communicating with over video. It’s been a fun experience because I want to expand my own recording skills and eventually record and produce my own music.”
Most musicians would find the prospect of creating their first album incredibly daunting, but Beer explains how, for her, it became an almost natural process:
“It all sort of came together even the timings of the album. I’m the type of person to go with the flow rather than stress about how many songs I will have. Originally my manager suggested to have 10 to 12 tracks and at that moment you are like ‘what! How am I going to write 12 songs?’ However, it just happened. The song choices all connect together and subconsciously they have a similar meaning, even the titles of the songs are linked.”
She explains how she has already progressed onto writing songs for a second album, developing her recording skills and creating demos on the Apple recording software, Logic:
“I’ve been sending demos I’ve made to my managers and they suggested that this could be a starting point for album number two. I think that this is something to work towards rather than releasing the first album and being like ‘what now?’ So I’m keeping busy because that’s what you have to do, especially in this pandemic.”
In keeping with her insatiable drive, Beer has not only spent this past year finalising an album, but also playing charity live streams and performing an eclectic selection of cover songs. She explains that doing covers showed her audience that she can “sing in a style other than drum and guitar based alternative rock and do something different like a piano cover.” Beer transformed Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ into a barely recognisable brooding and enchanting rendition of the festive classic, with all the proceeds of the track donated to Salford’s Loaves and Fishes food bank charity.
‘Siren’ is the latest single released on Beer’s own label Sisterhood Records and proves to be yet another compelling track. Crafted from the influence of J.W. Waterhouse’s masterpiece of the same name, ‘Siren’ seamlessly interweaves captivating lyrics with heady riffs and explosive percussion. Beer agrees that although the track holds the same vigour as her previous single ‘Dear Sweet Rosie’, vocally ‘Siren’ takes her voice in a new direction: “The way I sang or spoke ‘Siren’ is keeping it close to its original form since the song was originally written as a poem, so in this way it’s sort of like spoken word and that makes it more interesting for the listener.” The track was originally written and recorded in 2019 around the same time as ‘Dear Sweet Rosie’. “It was dug up by my manager who said I should rerecord it and so we did with Pete Hobbs from The Boy Least Likely To. We recorded ‘Arms Open Wide’ with him and I think he brings a completely different feel to my tracks, he’s also the one who plays lead guitar in the song. He brings an essence of Bowie’s Scary Monsters mixed with Roxy Music and without him I wouldn’t have thought of that. It was nice to have a fresh pair of ears on the song and I’m very happy with the results.”
Beer’s strong influence of poetry, prose, photography and art permeates every aspect of her work, even her Instagram posts show the artist looking not to dissimilar to a woman from a Pre-Raphaelite painting. When asked if she will bring a similar vibe to a video for ‘Siren’, she explains that she “will always have that element of being brought up with Pre-Raphaelite art. In this music video, however, its rooting from surrealism such as Salvador Dali and Man Ray. I’m filming it with Say Goodnight Film who did ‘Dear Sweet Rosie’ and the themes link back to my first single ‘Six Months’ where I self recorded a video of myself painting. The viewer might therefore think ‘oh this is a link back’, and for me it feels a bit full circle and shows my progression up to this point.”
Beer is currently set to tour in May and the beginning of June, but with so many gigs being rescheduled at the moment it’s important to be hopeful and look forward to the eventual return to normality.
“When I can gig it will be a breath of fresh air. We took so much for advantage and when we go back to some sort of normality it’s all going to be appreciated a lot more. You’ve got to be grateful for what you’ve got and have the hope that it won’t be like this forever. It’s a hurdle we need to get over it’s just taking time. I’m really busy now which I feel so grateful for, I love talking about music and it’s coming to that point where I can do that now and with the covers and recordings it’s all starting to pay off.”
Watch this space for any confirmations and updates on Freya Beer’s upcoming tour.