Continuing to extend her talents way beyond the norm – singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, performer and former world beatbox champion Bellatrix is set to define herself as a true force to be reckoned with as she preps for the release of a new EP, 'I Was An Aphid' later this year.
With new single 'Golden' offering a surprising, genre hopping exploration of Bellatrix's multi-faceted world, we caught up with the rising star to learn whats' to come from her new EP and what's next on the agenda.
Hello! How’s it going?
Hey! I’m good thanks, I’ve just finished moving house so I feel a mix of kinda uprooted but also reinvigorated. I like change.
Talk us through your journey into music - did you have a musical upbringing or is it something you stumbled into naturally?
I was lucky that music was such a staple of my childhood. The community was super musical and all the adults and children would jam together on the regular.
I think the fact that it wasn’t anybody’s job (my dad is a mental health nurse & my mum works with children) meant that music was always about self-expression, socialising and joy. I played bass in a number of bands as a teenager, and got into beatboxing around the age of 14.
I actually ended up becoming quite successful as a beatboxer really young, and became the world beatbox champion at 19. I also earned enough money through beatboxing to go to study jazz at Guildhall School of Music, which was such an incredible opportunity and one of the major stepping stones to becoming a professional musician.
You’ve become an extremely versatile musician, what would you say is your favourite aspect of the songwriting process?
I’m actually a really unstructured person and my process is always changing. But one of the big lessons I’ve learned is to always see creativity as play. I have a tendency to be a massive perfectionist if left unchecked, which is really destructive. So part of my practice is about living life in the moment and paying attention to the tiny details. Returning to what music was about when I was a child and it wasn’t my job. Easier said than done of course, because life is a complex and changing soup that will not be tamed!
‘Golden’ is the new single - tell us a bit about that one and where the idea behind it came from?
Yes! I actually wrote Golden a few years ago now, at a very challenging point in my life. I was in an abusive dynamic with my partner at the time, and although I knew something wasn’t right, I wasn’t yet able to be honest with myself about the situation. Golden is a searching, and a commitment to taking the first steps of a journey into the unknown. The lyric “You’re Golden To Me” is a promise of protection from a grounded and seeing part of myself that knew how to guide the jumbled rest of me through.
Actually now the song seems to still be becoming itself, and holds whole new realms of meaning to me. My current understanding of Golden is about peeling off and shedding layers of unwanted social conditioning. It’s quite a big one!
It’s taken from a forthcoming EP - what can you tell us about that?
I wrote the EP in real time over the final year of that relationship. It basically documents my experience from searching, through to realisation, dissolution and then finally escape. I’ve name it “I Was An Aphid”, an idea that came from an Audre Lorde essay “Uses of the Erotic, The Erotic as Power” where she says "women are maintained at a distant/inferior position to be psychically milked, much the same way ants maintain colonies of aphids to provide a life-giving substance to their masters”. Actually the whole essay is life-changingly banging and I thoroughly recommend it.
Do you think ‘Golden’ is a strong glimpse into what’s to come from the EP, or are there some surprises in store?
Hmm maybe both! I’m think the EP as a whole sits pretty comfortably in it’s own little sound world, but from the people with whom I‘ve shared it so far there has been a wildly varied reception of what they like / don’t like. I guess the answer is I’m not really sure, but I hope you come back to find out!
You’ve previously shared stages with some major names - if you could choose any artist to perform with, who would it be?
Yeah I’ve been lucky over the years to have played with so many amazing musicians - big names and unknown ones too. Oh wow that’s such an overwhelming question hah! Are they allowed to be dead?
I want to play bass with Prince. But I’d also like to play double bass with Nina. Also it’d be sick to perform with Bjork. See you can’t be asking me that and expecting just one answer! But also, I actually feel so lucky because my friendship circle is full of extraordinary musicians that I get to play with all the time, and I wouldn’t trade that in for anything.
What’s next for you as an artist?
Hopefully gigs coming back, and promoters booking my band! I really really miss gigging so much. Honestly though, I feel like the landscape looks like a big unknown in front of us all at the moment. I’m lucky because I have my fingers in a lot of pies and am working on a bunch of interesting musical projects.
But regarding my own thing, it’s all about making right now. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio writing new material, which I’m feeling excited about. And there are some exciting things in the pipeline that hopefully I’ll be able to talk about soon!