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by Adam Tait

Tags: Bebe Black

In Demand: Bebe Black

'I make pop music. It's goth-pop-step' says London newcomer

 

In Demand: Bebe Black

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Bebe Black first came to many people's attention when she lent her vocal talents to Benga's 'Icon', but she'd been plenty busy before that and already had an album recorded by the time she was approached for the collaboration.

This week saw her release her Deathwish EP, and before the end of the year we should see her debut album surface, and Black's keen to make clear that her track with Benga doesn't make her a dance artist.

"My A&R man asked me if I'd be interested in having a go at that track, because apparently a few other people had had a crack already, and I said yes, as long as I can change the words a bit.

"I was a fan of Benga, but I wouldn't lie and say I'm massively into that genre, I don't know the ins and outs of dubstep. I played a couple of shows with Benga and you see how hard those guys work, their lifestyle's mad."

But while she's not willing to be pigeon-holed as a dance act, she's also not happy with the term 'singer/songwriter'.

"I hate the term singer/songwriter, it sounds almost folky, it makes me feel like I should be sat with an acoustic guitar doing an open mic night.

"I make pop music. That's my thing. Pop music.

"If I had to describe it someone, it's like dark goth pop-step," she laughs slightly. "Yeah, it's goth-pop-step."

Watch the video for Benga's 'Icon' ft. Bebe Black below

The title track from her new EP, Deathwish, is a drum & bass influenced slice of dance music, but other tracks on the new record see Black producing piano-led ballads and tracks fuelled by organic rhythms.

Bebe Black isn't interesting in being boxed in by genres, and says she's pleased to see the walls between genres start to fall with artists trying out different styles, sometimes on the same track. And she thinks it's something the British can take credit for.

"I think drum & bass has been on it's way back to the mainstream for a while. Taylor Swift just brought out that track - 'I Knew You Were Trouble' - that's kind of like dubsteppy country, it's weird.

"We'll always talk about genres and compare artists to artists, but the boundaries between genres is breaking down, people like Emeli Sande can make drum and bass tracks and then also put out a piano ballad. That's something that's come from here, the British are really good at that."

Listen to Black's new track Deathwish below

If you believe (some of) the press, 2013's going to be the year of the guitar bands, but Black's not quite convinced yet, instead pointing to the emerging hip hop acts as those likely to give the year its flavour.

"I think the guitar thing is definitely going to blow up massively, but I think maybe not quite yet. I think maybe this'll be the year that sets it up for the 'year of the guitar bands' but I think not quite yet.

"For one thing I'm here and I'm ready and I'm not a guitar band. I'm really excited about the rap girls - Angel Haze, Azealia Banks, Iggy Azalea - because I think hip hop's about to have it's moment again, A$AP Rocky being the prime example."

Talking about dream collaborations reveals yet more influences for Black, not to mention a love for Josh Homme and Queens Of The Stone Age.

"Josh Homme would be great to work with, just because I think he's a genius. I just did a cover of 'No One Knows' actually that we're going to record and somebody said it sounded kind of like a James Bond tune, which is cool.

"I'm very excited about the new QOTSA album, I'm hoping they're going to confirm a tour and not just do festivals, but they're not going to bring Dave Grohl and Mark Lanagan are they? Maybe they'll bring Dave Grohl out as a surprise, like Jay-Z did with Beyonce. Dave Grohl's the Beyonce to Josh Homme's Jay-Z!"

Watch Bebe Black perform her cover of 'No One Knows' live below

While the Deathwish EP might sound full of disparate influences and styles, Black says there is a sonic thread to the record, and a theme that will be made clearer when the album's released.

"I don't like to say it's a break up record, but it's a break up record," she admits. "When I was writing it it was all about break ups and heartbreaks and that business."

Even though her debut album is still waiting to be released ("I've been told it'll be this year," she assures), Black is already looking ahead to the next project, but will have to look elsewhere for inpsiration.

"I fell in love last year so it's a bit like, shit what am I going to write about now? I'm ready to start writing the second album already.

"I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself, but I want it all," she concedes.

"I want longevity, but that's easier said than done."

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