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Local Listens: Beth Torrance is bringing you tiny flowers

LOCAL LISTENS | ARTS & CULTURE | INTERVIEW

Written by Liam Hansen (they/them) | @liamhanse.n | Editor-in-Chief


Aotearoa is often highlighted for it’s natural beauty - the grandness of Lake Tekapo, the tranquil glow-worms of Ruakuri Cave, the vibrant sunset skies that only ever seem to exist in a Pak n’ Save parking lot are some of the core reasons tourists tend to visit our corner of the globe. Similarly, our creative exports see artists from around the motu punching far above our weight by breaking into international charts, playlists, and festivals on a yearly basis. 


These aspects come together in the music of Beth Torrance (she/they). Having been releasing music since 17 and writing it for years before that, Beth echoes images of the various landscapes and environments she grew up in throughout the years, from the seaside of Thames to the forests of Helensville. In early 2022, she independently released her debut album ‘let’s move to the seaside and never feel lonely again’, catching the attention of LA based Cool Adjacent Management, and Particle Recordings in Tāmaki Makaurau. 


They’ve just released their first single since their debut release, “Tiny Flowers” - carrying on the atmosphere of her early releases while embracing her growing list of resources and letting the songs grow into something more. We caught up to chat about the release, her upcoming EP, and more. 



Liam  

So, feel free to introduce yourself and your music to the readers that aren't familiar with your work.


Beth  

I'm Beth Torrance, and I make indie folk. I'm a big fan of artists such as Joni Mitchell and Elliott Smith. A lot of my music is rooted in a connection to nature - in my songs, you'll see quite a few ocean references and nostalgic stuff like that.


Liam  

Is that where some of your new track, ‘Tiny Flowers’ originated?


Beth  

Yeah, I wrote it when I was still living on the Coromandel Peninsula in Thames. There was this hill by my house, and in spring it would be covered with these tiny yellow and white flowers. And I always found that so wonderful and mythical. If my first album was about coming to terms with the end of things, maybe the EP is more about the wake afterwards. 


Liam  

That album, ‘let​’​s move to the seaside and never feel lonely again’, came out about two years ago. How do you think that your sound has evolved since that release, or at the very least, since you were writing the songs from ‘let's move to the seaside’?


Beth  

The first album was written and recorded almost entirely in my room, so it was a very organic approach. I felt very close to those songs and their evolution. I worked with Karl Steven to produce and re-record a couple of them, which was a really great experience. For the upcoming EP, a lot more has been done in the studio - a few songs were re-recorded, sometimes just portions, while tracks like ‘oh, isn’t it so beautiful this life’ and ‘corridor’, were live takes. I always want to be true to that vision that I have when I'm first making a demo of a song, but I don't want to hold myself back from experimenting in different ways and using what the studio can give you.


Liam  

It was recorded at Bigpop Studios based up here in Tāmaki Makaurau, and released through their new imprint Particle Recordings. What has it been like to switch from being entirely independent, both in recording and releasing, and now being on an indie label?


Beth  

It's really lovely to have that community element. When you're putting things out independently, even though it's a great experience, it's just more difficult to run all of the admin and organization and stuff. Whereas working with the team at Bigpop, and Particle Recordings, there's just sort of that support system, and people you can bounce ideas off. It's just less of a solitary venture and more of a communal effort.


Liam  

A lot of these were written back when you were still in Thames - now you're back in the Helensville area of Tamaki Makaurau. How do you think the different environments that you've been in over the past few years have kind of influenced your songwriting? 


Beth  

Thames is a seaside town, so I was really connected to the ocean, the environment, the dark hills behind the town and stuff. It was all very formative for me. I think the landscape sort of just made its way into my songs, through a stream of consciousness. I think, coming back to Tāmaki Makaurau, the tone of my songs may have changed a little in that I'm making more guitar driven songs with the intention for more of a band sound. I think that the tracks on the EP carry the tone from the tracks on the album, but I have developed in the way that I play guitar and approach songwriting. I work a lot in open tunings now, like open D, so I think most of the songs on this release experiment in that realm. 


Liam  

Is there anyone else you’ve been working with on the EP?


Beth  

I've collaborated with Chris Riddell, who is the political cartoonist for The Observer and has worked with artists such as Neil Gaiman and Phoebe Bridgers. He has illustrated the cover for the EP, and done an illustration for each of the songs which is very cool. They emulate various fairy tale-like and gothic drawings that I feel perfectly embody the spirit and ethos of not only the EP, but just the music that I find myself making.


You can find Beth's music on her Bandcamp page or your preferred streaming platform. Keep up to date with the release of her upcoming EP through Instagram: @beth.torrance



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