22 Sep 2018

Anatomy of a Scroll: The Beths, 'Future Me Hates Me'

From RNZ Music, 3:05 pm on 22 September 2018

The Beths’ Elizabeth Stokes talks about the risky decision that led to her writing the Silver Scrolls nominated song ‘Future Me Hates Me’.

“I was falling into something I didn’t think I was a good idea… but I did it anyway,” says The Beths' principal songwriter Liz Stokes of the band's Silver Scroll-nominated song 'Future Me Hates Me'.

The Beths are an Auckland band who’ve only been around for a couple of years, but have made a big impression both here and abroad. Their perfectly formed and impeccably executed guitar pop songs are irresistible.

‘Future Me Hates Me’ started out as “stream of consciousness scribbling,” says Liz, “probably pretty late at night when I was feeling pretty emotional.”

The thought of falling for the wrong guy – the decision ‘future Liz’ would hate her for – defied her own logic: “Normally I think I am quite logical. That thought was scary and a little bit annoying.” It shows in the song's lyrics with lines such as “It’s getting dangerous / I could get hurt I know / I’ve counted up the cons / They far outweigh the pros.”

Liz says, apart from writing the bridge a bit later, she followed a pretty conventional path in writing the song: “I like rules and games with lots of rules,” she says of her general process. “I know they’re limiting but I kind of like putting limitations on things because it means you have to be creative with the way you work within certain parameters.”

It’s a system that works for guitarist Jonathan Pearce who also records the band: “My general reaction when Liz brings in a song is awe and joy because I think they’re fantastic.”

RELATED: APRA Silver Scroll 2018 - Top 5 finalists announced

He was particularly taken with the guitar riff Liz conjured up on ‘Future Me Hates Me’: “I remember thinking immediately: that is a classic guitar riff and we are going to have to record a real big sound for that,” he laughs. “It’s really nicely melodic and fits in with the other features of the melody.

Jonathan says the song came together quickly and was “pretty much” made up of the other bandmates’ first ideas for the track including the lead guitar line and the bass lines: “I’m not sure we even messed with the groove too much,” he says. “By about the third time we played it through it was pretty much the arrangement you hear on the record.”

Liz is modest about what she most likes about the track but says she was especially happy with the chorus and its “good rhymes”. She admits to being a nerd about coming up with rhyming lyrics: “I remember just looking at it and being like ‘yesss!’”.

“I really like rhymes and I think that is… not cool,” she laughs.

  • The Sampler: Future Me Hates Me by The Beths
  • Headquarters: The Beths

    Music details:

    Artist: The Beths
    Song: Future Me Hates Me
    Composer: Elizabeth Stokes
    Album: Future Me Hates Me
    Label: Carpark Records

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