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BEATRICE ELI ON MUSIC, SUSTAINABILITY AND RANDOM THINGS.
She’s a pop star, a quirky designer and an aspiring environmentalist. But for the most part, Beatrice Eli sees herself as an evergrowing plant looking for sun rays.
Hello Beatrice, what’s in the making?
I’m in the studio working on a new album with the working title Devotion. It’s either gonna be grand, or nothing at all. I’m sharpening my musical sword in lots of ways, practicing the piano, playing around with synths, spending hours watching music production tutorials and so on. But also peeling off layers searching for the core of my tracks. I love arriving at the minimum amount of chords.
How do you know when a track is finished.
That’s the problem, I have a hard time knowing when it’s done. Usually the first stage is,’Wow, this is the best thing I’ve ever done’. Then I go into manic mode and work on it like a mad person until I realize, ‘Wow, this is a crappy track’. But at that point, I’ve spent so much time on it so I can’t throw it away. So I start tweaking it, fixing things, until I start liking it again.
That’s an interesting process. How would you describe your music to a really really old person?
I make powerful pop music that comes from a computer.
Wait, who’s the guy on the wall behind you?
A happy alien. I do a lot of drawing and designing at night. Shapes are therapeutic for me.
Do you feel like a happy alien?
When I walked here this morning, in the sun, I felt like a happy plant. I needed those rays.
You were four years old when Massive Attack released Unfinished Sympathy.
So it’s 30 years old now? It’s the best song in the world. And it’s timeless to me, the video too.
In other words, a sustainable piece of music?
I get it, you want to talk about environmental stuff.
Yeah, so if you had a time machine, how far forward in time would you dare to travel?
Hmm, probably 200 years. It’s far ahead enough to probably blow my mind, but the world will most likely still be somewhat liveable. Well, that all depends on how we manage the climate crisis, and where in the world I’d end up though.
When did you start caring about the planet?
My wake-up call was watching a documentary on dying coral reefs. You know when the corals die, they lose their color and turn white? It struck me as very symbolic and got me thinking about the bigger picture. From there on, everywhere I went I started talking to people about coral reefs, CO2 emissions and how to stop abusing our environment. Mostly trying to build a better understanding for myself.
And where are you now?
Now, I don’t think about us humans on one side and then the environment as another entity, or something that surrounds us. That’s probably what we’ve all been taught. But I believe in establishing a deeper connection to nature and understanding that we’re very much part of it. I think the more in touch one is with nature, with one’s inner animal if you will, the willingness to act sustainably comes more intuitively
So humanity is not a virus and global warming is not the planet’s feverish way of reacting to our existence? Please say no.
No. I believe humans want to be good. At least on an individual level. But it’s of course hard for us to look at the lives we’re living and understand the enormous cost it has on our planet.
How do you act to lower that cost?
The basics, like not buying things I don’t need. Vintage shopping, recycling, repairing and riding public transport. But in the long run, to really make a difference, we need to choose political leaders who are willing to fight for the health of the planet.
And what do you expect from a company like Urbanears, that’s making things?
Transparency and ambition. I accept the fact that some products can’t be 100% sustainable at this specific moment in time. But I want to understand what’s possible and what’s not possible, and I want to see progress. Also I expect Urbanears to make things that are durable. Ideally, I want to be able to repair or replace every part of everything I own.
Hopefully by 2030 you’ll have a pair of 100% circular headphones, what will you listen to then?
Anything my sister tells me to listen to. She’s the musical genius of the family and makes the best playlists.
What makes you hopeful right now?
So many people around me are starting to really care for their inner selves right now. You know, picking up hobbies and doing things for their own well-being rather than what’s expected from them. That makes me super optimistic.