L-Fest Interviews, Back Stage with Beth Prior

Beth Prior, welcome! What a set, they were loving you in the Green Tent! 

Thank you! I really enjoyed it. 

So do you have any pre-gig rituals? 

Pre-gig rituals, let me think. I like to make sure that I eat

Haha! What do you like to eat? 

What I love to do is eat a massive, really big ass dinner. Something really heavy but like hours before. Then go into a food coma and then have a snooze, wake up and having a banging coffee and loads of water and then just at that peak where you're not hungry at all, but not full either. But you still have space for pints. 

Haha! That's some impressive timing skills! 

It is considering my long running history of punctuality issues... 

Oh really? 

Yeah I'm chaos with that. 

Is it a particular meal? 

It can be anything but it if it's really nice and near to where I'm playing- ah god, it's a proper lesbian thing but it can be falafel and hummus. 

Haha, that is hilarious. What is it with lesbians and falafel! So why did you decided that you wanted to perform? 

Generally- because it's all I know. It's absolutely all I know. So all the way through school, I just really didn't get on at all. I wasn't an arse but I quickly decided mid primary school that algebra, maths you know was just never really going to serve me. I just didn't identify with them at all. English, I sort of got, because of words, stories and fiction and creative writing. I found it interesting and I liked the thought of that. Generally Art and Languages really interested me all the way through and I was dragged through boarding school in my teens. It was really hard work. Like it was three years of hell and I would never wish that upon my future children. I fled in disgrace and I went to Art College and I had the best time ever. Then I went to the University of Life and got into working. 

Oh wow! 

Yeah, like song writing workshops and rock school with like foster kids. 

Ah wow, that's awesome! Why did you decide to go into that? 

Because I didn't want to be too far away from the performance aspect, so all of what I do, other than making dreadlocks, is all music related. It's pretty cool. 

What is it like teaching Rock School to foster kids? 

It's really cool, it's very very rewarding. My favourite is always song writing days; so if we have a week, the middle day is always song writing. It's my absolute favourite because you can always uncover some real truth especially the last group I worked with were young carers, they're amazing for a start, they're so mellow and army kids. Some of them have never even held a guitar before and by the end of the week they are performing showcases to their parents, carers, guardians, army officials it's really mental. 

That is amazing! It's nice that you can provide that escape for them. 

It is, I wouldn't want to do anything else. I think a lot of musicians and a lot of artists always turn into teaching as a way to pay the rent, you know. At the end of the day being a gigging musician, when times are good, they are very good but when they're not... You need something to fall back on. 

So were you brought up in a musical background? Did your parents play? 

No, I'm the black sheep. I'm the only one in  my family who does it. They're all  medical professionals. 

You're all pretty alike then? 

Haha, you could say that. Haha. Mum is a nurse and dad is a sort of a psychology and all sorts of brainiac stuff. My brother is the same; he's the BA honours and university. He's THAT child, but I was always the one who took the other, slightly rocky road. 

Do you think they saw it coming? 

They probably did, like if there was a box, I wasn't going to fit in it. Not until I found the right box. 

We don't want to put you in a box anyway, haha, did you end up coming out to your parents? 

Yeah, I told my mum that I was bisexual. 

Are you bi? 

No, I'm not. 

It's always a good way to test the water isn't it. I did the same with my mum. 

Exactly, I think it was more the benefit of my peers at the time, it was quite an institution. It was easier to be bi and even though that's not what I was, I was really into girls but I was still seeing guys and that worked for a bit. But it's not about sex a lot of people would agree, it's about love. I fell hard in love with a woman when I was 17 and even then I was like "oh I'm bi, I just happen to be in love with a woman". 

I've never been in love with a guy; I can appreciate a good shoulder muscle though. 

Oh for sure, for sure. It's not clear cut. It's all fluid, sexuality, gender, the whole thing. As far as I'm concerned it's all non-binary it doesn't need to be one or the other. 

There doesn't need to be any ticky boxes. 

Totally! There doesn't and people need to realise that and embrace that and others can be more free. 

People seem to think that you can catch some horrible disease called homosexuality. 

Yes! They're scared of us in case we vomit gayness. 

You mentioned your girlfriend before the interview started, have you written songs about her that we might hear in your next album?

In the five days that we were chatting, I was falling deeper and deeper in love. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep. It was all those classic symptoms of head over heels. It’s the sort of love that brings up old fears and old things that have haunted you and you have to deal with them right there and then. In that time, I couldn't really do much with myself, but I set about writing a song called "Written" and yes, it's going to be on my next album. That's very much for her, and there is a lyric in it which says "show me divine symmetry" She answered back with an absolutely incredible piece of artwork which is now called Divine Symmetry. 

Wow, excuse me while my heart just throbs. That's such an incredible story, it's something that you can always hold close to your heart. Does she calm your nerves when she comes and watches you perform? Do you even get nervous

Yes, I do actually. This is an interesting one actually, like today not even a tiny amount of nerves.

Really? Do you think it's because you’re playing to a room full of lesbians, a home crowd almost. 

It is a home crowd. The nerves are worse when it is a high profile place, where I cannot go round and get to know everybody. My whole set is about giving to an audience and receiving back, if I can't do that, I find it really unsettling. So really it's so much  more than just nerves, it's a psychological thing and an emotional thing, and actually- I have the dreadlocks so I can be a massive hippie and says this but it's also a spiritual thing.  I love it when I can see people actually getting the lyrics because I'm quite wordy so I've got a lot of rhymes and fast little quips, and it's satire and a lot is tongue in cheek. So when I see that some one has got that, it's the best joy. At the very least I want to make people smile, if people are laughing at my lyrics I am so sorted, I've done my job. 

Haha, yeah, job done. You can go home with a smile on your face! 

If I know they're getting it, I sort of know they're getting me. 

Watching you perform today was just sensational, the atmosphere in the room was amazing and you just had everyone totally captivated. So thank you for your fast quips and witty lyrics! It was great chatting with you. 

No worries, I hope you got what you need!