Bella Loka, an indie electronic pop duo based in Camden Town, London. Their names are Tea and David. Tea sings, plays the guitar and piano, writes the songs and produces their music videos. David plays guitar and co-produces. They’ve spent the last couple of years writing and recording Their debut album at Abbey Road Studios, working with the in-house producers Rob Cass & Pearse MacIntyre, and are now signed to indie label DEFDISCO. The album is out on 28th April.
1. How did you get into music?
For me, it started with falling in love with music at a young age, and then realising that listening was no longer enough! I realised one day that I could actually learn guitar and try to play Pink Floyd songs – it took a while but I can do it now. Again for Tea, she was so moved by music from such an early age, it was only natural that she would start to sing and write songs.
2. What is your creative process?
Tea writes a song on either piano or acoustic guitar and spends sometimes quite a long time refining it, getting the lyrics and the structure just right. Then we record a simple piano/guitar and vocal version of it in our home studio, and I get started with producing an arrangement for it. My ideas will this be a mixture of things the song sparks off in me, plus sounds I happen to have been listening to recently. We usually get it into a pretty complete shape at this stage. Then we take it to our producers at Abbey Road and work with them on using our sketch to create the finished track. Sometimes the sounds change quite a lot at this stage, sometimes hardly at all. Quite often instruments and sounds from the original demo end up being kept in the finished piece.
3. For our readers who have never heard your music, explain your sound.
It’s pop songs, in that they have verses, choruses, big catchy hooks and quite a pop production. But they deal with very weighty issues and are not in any way shallow lyrically or thematically. It’s in the spirit of The Beatles, who showed that pop didn’t have to mean shallow, vacuous or transient, but that it actually could be something very deep and artistically satisfying. That’s what we’ve tried to capture.
4. What do you love most about your business?
Actually creating something new. That moment when a new song is written, and you just know that if you get the production right it’s going to be incredible. Or those moments during the production where it starts to come together and sound amazing. And of course seeing it go out there and actually be loved by people who find it as moving and exciting as we hoped it would be.
5. What are you passionate about?
Art, with a centre on music and performance. That covers it really!
6. What thought keeps you up at night?
Getting the songs right and getting them heard!
7. What are your values?
Honesty. Equality, but not conformity. Personal freedoms and liberty. Love.
8. What was the best advice you have been given?
For Tea, she always cites a story where she met a random millionaire once who talked about coming to the UK with just a suitcase, and proceeded to tell her that whatever you do, do it with all your heart, soul and mind – even if it’s cleaning the toilets – and you’ll always be successful. For me, all I can really remember is all the worst advice I’ve been given, things that I’ve had to actively go against in order to actually get anything done with my life and follow a path that is true to myself!
9. What advice would you give others who are singsong writers?
Don’t wait for someone else to come and do anything for you because they ain’t coming!
10. What do you regard as your greatest success in your career to date?
Recording the album at Abbey Road was pretty amazing, and really the album itself and the way it turned out. But more than that, the way in which we’ve learnt to do everything ourselves, from making music videos to doing our own PR, and everything in between.
11. What are your plans for the coming future?
We’ve already written most of the next album, so looking forward to getting to work on that. I’d like to do an acoustic EP of acoustic versions of some of the songs as they sound great like that. But in the very near future, there’s a lot of exciting stuff happening with the release of the actual album – loads of videos, multimedia, gigs etc. It’s going to be exciting!
12. How can people get in contact with you? How can people find your music? (Social Media, website etc.)
We’re on Spotify – as well as iTunes / Apple Music etc. And all the following places: