Heather Golden and Emma Rose, who together perform as American-folk duo Beau (formerly The Boos), have artistic genes: the two best friends grew up with mothers who were also best friends, painters, and encouraged creative pursuits. While they could have easily become involved in visual arts, Golden and Rose released their self-titled debut EP in June via Kitsuné, which features tracks with ’70s-inspired California vibe. The song “One Wing” in particular is reminiscent of Stevie Nicks’ ethereal vocals.
Based in New York, Beau has previously worked with photographer Ryan McGinley for various creative projects, shot with Gia Coppola for an Urban Outfitters Campaign, and been involved with Opening Ceremony shoots. For the art direction and illustration for BEAU, the duo collaborated with famed design team Ahonen & Lamberg. The band’s second EP is expected to surface later this summer or in early fall, and their debut album is slated for release in January 2016. Tonight, they’re playing at Happy Ending on the Lower East Side, so prior to the show, we caught up with Golden and Rose.
NAMES: Heather Golden (21) and Emma Rose (20)
HOMETOWN (AND STILL BASED): New York
DROPPING ‘BOOS’ for ‘BEAU’: Heather Golden: My nickname since I was 12 years old has been “Heather Boo.” We wanted to mature, plus our record label is French.
Emma Rose: We kind of grew out of the name The Boos. It was a name that came along when we were teenagers and we wanted a more sophisticated name. When we were playing in Paris at Le Baron three years ago, our name was ‘The Boos,” and in French it sounded like “la bouse,” which is cow shit. We had a French record label, Kitsuné, so we were like, “It’s either ‘cow shit,’ or something else.” So, we went with ‘BEAU,’ which is a lot sweeter. [laughs]
CLASSIC INFLUENCES: Golden: The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland has been a huge influence on us all around—the way he spoke, the way he sounds and moved around. That whole movie really influenced us… Also a lot of Motown—The Zombies, The Ronettes, and The Supremes. Also T. Rex, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd—all of the great rock stars…
Rose: Neil Young and a lot of singer-songwriters. Also, Devendra Banhart, CocoRosie, and Joni Mitchell.
FROM A YOUNG AGE: Rose: Our mothers both grew up and lived in Greenwich Village and enrolled us in the same elementary school and summer camps. We always knew each other, but had very different personalities. We became really close at 11 years old and started being rebels together. We’re the next generation of our mothers who are best friends.
Golden: We started playing guitar at 13 at the Greenwich Village Music School. After that, we started writing songs in high school when things got overwhelming, dramatic, and emotional.
CREATIVE SOULS: Golden: I was always modeling on the side as a way to make money. I never did it professionally; it was a freelance thing. I acted in a lot of short films for my friends and I’ve done a lot of auditions for films that never fully-formed. Music has always been a separate entity, except when I was 16 I did a fashion video for Gabby Basora. She owns this beautiful clothing line called Tucker and all the kids in the neighborhood worked for her. Emma even worked for her. We decided to put one of the first songs [Beau] ever wrote—one we wrote when we were 14—in one of the fashion films. That was the first time we embedded music into something like that.
Creatively, we’re constantly collaborating with people—different photographers, writers, musicians, and directors. We’re just trying to get as much experience as possible. Both of our parents are painters and we could have taken that route very easily. We didn’t, though. We chose music.Rose: I grew up around art. My mom was a painter and a ballerina. I was actually acting a lot when I was 10 or 11; I was on the Dave Chapelle Show doing a skit. He was so cool and we got along so well. I was in random films with the union when I was 10, [but] music was always a passion. Just growing up in the art world, it all comes together. It was a very lenient childhood where our parents let us be as creative as we wanted to and accepted it.
FASHION COLLABORATIONS: Golden: Opening Ceremony, I’ve always had a connection with through people in New York. I know some of the casting directors who find interesting people on the street. Gia Coppola shot for Urban Outfitters; it was just a great experience. Traci Antonopolis, in the band CABLE, did the casting, and was good friends with Gia. I used to work in casting—just finding talent on the street that I thought would be right for a film or photoshoot.