From our chilly Amsterdam HQ, whilst LA was bathed in a golden glow, we spoke to the ever-sunny Raven Artson.
BEA1991’s voice is like a lucid dream. It has an eerie register, in an almost otherworldly octave. Currently, she’s based in both London and Amsterdam. The world is her oyster. And with waves between us, we decided to set up a Skype date. A sea of thoughts on her safe ground, H2O love, and moral holidays.
Where are you right now?
I’m at the studio now with Sega Bodega. It’s work in progress we’re really excited about. He makes hardcore clubby music; I don’t. So we’re kind of making a cross-fertilization out of that. It’s really interesting to work with people who do completely different things.
They say home is where the heart is. Where is that for you?
‘With distance, the people that matter most become more clear.’
I’ve learned that a physical home isn’t necessarily connected to feeling at home. You can eat and sleep anywhere, that doesn’t make it a home. Being creative with my feelings gives me happiness. Doing what I love, that is home for me.
How would you describe the aura of London?
Well, a lot of emission gasses, really. Interesting looking people. Incidental fashion. There’s also a very serious biking culture – dedicated, bizarre outfits, cameras attached to helmets. They’re like sci-fi bikers, adding a new dimension to the city.
How do you kill time when you’re travelling?
I’ve just started something new, Softly John, a still life photography project. Most of the time I’m either editing pictures for that, or reading.
What is your safe ground, what makes you feel calm?
I love showering, it’s so meditative. I feel reborn right after. It’s the first thing I want to do when I arrive somewhere. I also find pleasure in cooking and listening to the radio while doing so.
What do you listen to on the radio?
I don’t really listen to music on the radio. Most of the time I listen to interviews, theater plays, and podcasts. I’m a big fan of the BBC.
Does all the travelling have an influence on your friendships and relationships? How do you keep the feelings alive?
‘I think my life is currently one big fat moral holiday.’
Funnily enough, the feelings are only getting stronger. There’s a lot less noise. With distance, the people that matter most become more clear.
Which life philosophy travels with you?
Fewer screens. Less laptop. Less phone. The digital world is a really good tool, but it’s shit to your physical body and mental state.
Has it transformed things in your life already?
I’ve been initiating more conversations with strangers (asking directions, sharing my curiosity about them) and I’m reading a lot more. The internet as a phenomenon, and “post-internet” visuals used to be part of my BEA1991 aesthetics, but it shouldn’t be at the heart of what I do anymore.
What do you carry with you on tour?
I’m addicted to water. I drink so much water. Even when I go out, I don’t really drink a lot of alcohol. It’s essential on my rider. Such a bizarre phenomenon if you think about it, how it looks, feels, moves.
Like Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein. Looking at the things in everyday life we got used to.
That’s my philosophy in general I think. An experiment in taking steps back and reflect.
How often do you go on a moral holiday then?
To be honest I think my life is currently one big fat moral holiday. I constantly float in the grey space between working and playing – but always with discipline and self-reflection. I’m trying to connect both worlds in my work. That in-between zone has become part of how I look at the world.
Best of both worlds.
BEA1991 plays 21 December at OMG there are horses in the void! at OT301, Amsterdam. Show free for members.