Australia’s Greenwave Beth Brings Back New Wave

Greenwave Beth’s experimental sounds come out of a long musical partnership.

Charles Rushforth (vocals) and Will Blackburn (percussion) met while playing in the buzz band Flower Truck. The band grew popular in Australia, but Rushforth and Blackburn found themselves clicking the best out of all of the members of the four-piece. They stayed together for their next project, Bored Shorts as well as Rushforth’s solo project Greenwave Beth. Four years later both Bored Shorts and Greenwave Beth are still growing strong.

“We just figured out a really cool way of making music in a really fast way,” Blackburn tells BTRtoday during the duo’s stop in NYC. “Greenwave Beth is so focused on electronics and things I don’t understand—it’s a nice little learning curvature for me and Charlie.”

This project is their first experience using electronic instruments like drum machines and laptop effects. The electronic sound has allowed the pair to pursue a new, experimental sound and defy self-imposed rules.

“Greenwave Beth seems to be one of the acts where we break these strange cardinal rules that we’ve had,” Blackburn says. “Like, I used to say, ‘I’m never standing up at the drum kit,’ and now all I do is stand up at the drum kit—it’s like, what other years of character building can I break?”

Rushforth says their live shows are defined by unpredictability. “It’s me with a drum machine and keyboard on stage [and] I basically jump around with a mic and trigger things off that drum machine while I fiddle with other knobs on stage to make unpredictable sounds,” Rushworth says. “Will has an SPD and a drum kit and he’s like Animal from The Muppets.”

Rushforth says Greenwave Beth’s music, though danceable and lively, usually comes from a dark place. Accessing that place can be an ordeal, but Rushforth says it’s worth it in the long run. “It’s agonizing to go through at the time, [but] when you look back on it you’re like, ‘it’s great,’” he says. “The road is very dark I suppose, but sometimes when you work on it enough you have those fruit bat on the power line moments where it’s like ‘bzzz’ and you get music and words together in one beautiful thing.”

Greenwave Beth’s debut EP, People In Agony, released last summer, is a beautiful new wave/post-punk inflected collection of experimental songs oozing with electronic goodness swirled in together with classic rock ‘n’ roll instrumentation.

The two are back in Australia playing shows and working on new music. There’s no telling when they’ll make it back to our side of the world, but in the meantime, listen to the entire interview and People In Agony in its entirety on this week’s The Music Meetup.