“I always grew up thinking of that question ‘what would it be like if we didn’t grow up here’?” says Heather Golden. The other half of alt-pop duo Beau, Golden says New York City is the root of it all for her and her music.
Friends since childhood, Golden and Beau partner Emma Jenney grew up in New York’s Greenwich Village and can’t imagine growing up anywhere else. Both children of artist parents, they were constantly influenced and absorbing everything around them, eventually taking the plunge at 13 to form their first band The Boos. Still teens in 2015, they released their self-titled debut EP, followed by their first full-length, That Thing Reality.
“If we grew up in a suburb or rural America and how different it would be and the contrast is obvious,” says Golden. “Here there is so much to absorb. We’re constantly expanding. We’re constantly knotting this massive scarf of who we are and of who we are and who we are becoming and its crazy how much we can absorb from the city and what our threshold. I think if we hadn’t grown up in New York, we wouldn’t necessarily have done that.”
Written at Beau’s basement studio under Jenney’s Manhattan apartment, “Dance With Me” also marks a significant transition for the pair. Where That Thing Reality seems like another time and place, “Dance With Me” finds Beau more evolved and involved in the production process of their music.
“I feel like it [That Thing Reality] was such an intense record to make and now that time has passed we have some kind of perspective on what kind of music we want to make and the kind of songs we want to write,” says Golden. “We’re considering the universe a little bit more with this new music and taking from our influences and new bands that have come out in the past few years and opened up our eyes, and different genres. It’s more us and who we are now.”
Already working on their second release, Jenney says they did more on this album than the last because they know more—even teaching various production softwares. Recorded over the summer, the duo plan to go to Los Angeles to wrap up some final parts and a few new songs for release in 2021. “We wanted this new record to be made by us,” says Jenney. “Of course, there are producers but it was important that it represented us.”
Typically, Golden and Jenney bounce songs back and forth, but “Dance With Us” was one that just floated out. “Sometimes one of us will just complete a song and the other can tell we won’t change it at all,” shares Jenney. “We’re pretty open at the same time. One thing that has changed is that we are open to our collaboration. We have more of a message and now it’s very much… we send ourselves audio recording. Each song has it’s own special way of being versed.”
For “Dance With Me,” Golden says she was really into Kurt Vile and picked up on his trailing vocals on the track. “I heard the melody in my head and came up with some words and chords and brought it Emma,” says Golden. “Then we solidified it and continued writing it.”
Recorded at New York’s Electric Lady Studio with drummer and producer Nick Brown (Foster the People, Soccer Mommy, The Knocks), along with Grammy Award winning producers, War On Drugs’ Nicholas Vernhes and Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow).
Brazenly infectious and dance-worthy, “Dance With Me” has the pop current needed to light things up during more grim times. Steadied by crunchy guitars and Golden’s fiery vocals, on its surface, “Dance With Me” comes off as levity that still challenges the day-to-day grind and finding one’s self in the societal mess.
“There’s this line that says I work hard for this / I work hard for that, but I’m hated for it all,” says Golden. “It’s this idea like when you go out into the city and go to work, everyone is going the same thing as you and everyone understands. At the same time everyone is pissed off about it, that daily grind. How do you find your individually in that?”
Shot pre-pandemic, the video follows Golden, Jenney and friends prowling the New York City streets at night. “We weren’t 100 percent sure it’s what people wanted to hear now but after awhile it just felt right,” says Jenney. “I think people want to hear something fun rather than just staying sad at home all the time. I’m just happy people are listening to a dance song right now.”
Now in a new place musically, “Dance With Me” ignites a resurgence for Beau. “We’ve always defended ourselves as these two young women in a band against the whole world of music,” says Golden. “The idea of weakness is bad. I think shedding weakness and sharing that is really beautiful, and we just put that all into our music.”
Golden adds, “We’ve gone through so many things from being little hippies to these now-grown, weird, and semi-sophisticated novice women. Now, we’re taking the definition of a man’s world and recreating it.”