Being a part of the music industry with its very own calendar and demands can be hard on ones personal relationships. As a result, making music together with your partner could be one way to circumvent those problems, albeit creating others at the same time, like how to separate and professional life.
Bella Loka, consisting of David and Tea Boothby, a young couple from Camden, London, seem to be heading in the right direction with that. Concurrently they also succeed at creating catchy electro-pop tunes.
David is mainly responsible for the laptop production and guitars whereas Tea is in charge of vocals, piano, songwriting while also contributing guitar sounds. On top of that, she is the one that usually comes up with ideas for new songs, writing them for guitar and piano at first, while David takes care of the necessary managerial duties that come with being a musician.
Their sound, although clearly aimed at a mainstream, pop-affine audience, has its roots in the diverse influences of both Tea and David. Tea sums it up when she says that, “[f]rom the earliest age I was exposed to an incredibly eclectic mix of roots, soul, gospel, folk, rock and pop through my mum and dad’s love of music and widely differing music tastes”, while later on developing her very own taste listening to the likes of Queen, Radiohead, Björk and David Bowie. Bowie seems to be something both can agree on. David, who otherwise has a strong bias towards guitar-heavy music, mentions his abstract fear of Bowie “becom[ing] a borderline obsession”.
On the 2nd of September they are releasing their first EP, ‘Escape’ and at the moment they are extensively touring clubs and venues in the UK. Among the songs on the EP, ‘Colin’ stands out musically with a progressive pop-beat that really carries the song along with Tea’s always prominent vocals.
My personal (lyrical highlight) of the mini-album is ‘Wake Up (You Could do much Better)’. It is a song about personal progress and the necessity of dealing with traumas from the past, topics of great personal importance for Tea. “I wrote Wake Up after a period of intense frustration and the positive message of “you could do much better” was a kind of Eye Of The Tiger moment for me”. It developed into a dark exploration of personal traumas, also incorporating experiences of domestic abuse that happened to people close to her.
Otherwise Tea has a very positive outlook of the music industry, being aware of the hardships of women, especially their ongoing sexualization when it comes to marketing. But her personal experience speak of different reactions by her listeners: “What we’ve been finding at shows is that there’s a real appetite amongst the music-loving public to see women making real art and music without feeling the need to diminish themselves in that way.”
And Tea and David definitely are making ‘real art and music’. Escape is a solid pop EP, that has good aspects to develop upon and it will be exciting where Bella Loka is taking their sound. Making it sound more rough, edgy and losing some of the polished popishness could really do them well. Considering their diverse influences they might very well succeed at that.
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