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A sip is smooth, yet it stings your throat: a dichotomy that acts as inspiration for one of the singles from Beck Pete’s new EP Muse, Whiskey #4. Her new EP is hauntingly harmonious and speaks to a toxic relationship that Beck Pete perfectly put into words. Like whiskey on the rocks, relationships can be dizzying, and many allow the feelings of warmth to override the pain associated. The Los Angeles settled singer/songwriter further propelled this polarity within the EP’s production as the sound splits from an alternative acoustic energy to subtle sensations of bass and synth. Beck Pete partnered with the styles of Everlane to do this raw and honest interview in which she spilled all the tea and spoke to what it means to be addicted to toxicity and how you can make a total hit out of it. 

Can you tell me a bit about the inspiration behind Whiskey and what it means to you?

Whiskey is about tension. Whiskey is about the game. The power dynamic between two people struggling to figure out how they fit. The back and forth that happens when someone decides a relationship is toxic, but they’re drawn to it. On a deeper level though, Whiskey #4 is about the societal double standard when it comes to a woman embracing her sexuality. This song is me claiming that part of myself, my femininity, my masculinity, and of the other incredible things that make me a beautiful, strong, interesting woman. Not just the things that are conventional and accepted. 

How has the feedback been on the song?

It’s interesting… I thought this song was my baby and that there wouldn’t really be a response. I wanted it out in the world because I wanted this story to be told and I loved that the song has two very distinct sections production-wise. I really pushed for that idea. However, the response was overwhelmingly positive. I had more people tell me that this is my best song than ever before. I’m so glad my little song baby is making so many other people feel things… that’s the most satisfying thing in the world.  

In your opinion, why is the toxicity of relationships addicting?

It’s the age old story, right? Everything is more exciting when it’s off limits. It makes you feel alive. Honestly though, as much as it is my nature to feel that toxicity is addicting and exciting, I’ve finally gotten to the place where it doesn’t interest me. You know what does? Consistency. That’s sexy. The process of working through this heartbreak got me there.

How challenging was it for you to write an entire EP about a real relationship that you had?

Recovering from heartbreak is challenging… writing songs to process that heartbreak and grow from it, and hopefully make someone feel a little less alone through the process of releasing it, is the complete opposite. Therapy. I’m so glad to have an outlet to be raw and honest, and have my feelings validated. It makes everything a little more bearable.

Your music is raw and reflective of real life stories simply as they are. Do you feel that within our current societal standards with social media, it is easier or harder to be 100% vulnerable and honestly yourself?

I love the way that social media is shifting societally right now. People are craving something real again, it seems, and that makes it so much easier to be open about who I am and the weird shit makes me tick. I feel so supported and encouraged to share my big feelings, and that is TIGHT!!!

Do you feel that music can serve as another relationship in your life? When did your bond to music and creating begin?

I can’t remember a time where music wasn’t a driving force in my life. There has always been a sort of “relationship” there, that mimics a romantic one, as it seems that you’re describing. That relationship has gone through many stages. I have fallen out of love with it in moments when it hurt my feelings, it has taught me things about myself that I didn’t want to learn, and now the relationship is stronger than ever. I can’t pinpoint the first person to teach me about the importance of commitment, and maybe that’s because it wasn’t a person at all. Maybe it was just music.

You have an androgynous disposition in this shoot with Everlane, portraying what comes off as different types of strength. One is gently feminine, the other more masculine. Are these different sides of yourself? Describe what was going through your head during this shoot.

I am actually really glad that this came across. I identify wholeheartedly as a woman, but part of what makes me who I am is feeling so equally connected to my masculinity and my femininity. I am so very glad that as a society, we are opening up to accepting, appreciating and enjoying different expressions of sexuality and style, but we have a long way to go. I would like to do anything that I can to help us get there. I feel sexiest one day in men’s clothing and the next in a satin dress, and not only do I love that about myself, I love the fact that I embrace that now, and that my strength shines through regardless of what clothes are on my body.

I don’t know if I remember all of my specific thoughts during this shoot, but I felt so incredibly centered once we really got going in this shoot. That b*tch, if you will. 

Are these items you would wear on a typical day or to a show, or did you venture outside of your comfort zone?

I would definitely wear these outfits on a typical day. I have been wearing the Everlane oversized blazer almost everyday. I should probably get it dry cleaned. I also probably should not wear a jacket when it’s 80 degrees outside but I’m a rebel and I do what I want. 😉

As far as my “on-stage” style, I kind of operate in a middle ground between the likes Lorde and St. Vincent — leaning into grit and class equally. The red jumpsuit will definitely make an appearance so soon on stage, keep an eye out!

How has your style changed from, say, high school to now? 

Wow. Well, like a normal high schooler, I wanted to fit in. I tried to wear what would make me look the most like what other people like. Now, I wear what makes me like myself. It’s crazy how drastically different those two closets look. It makes me smile. 

What is the most outrageous thing you’ve ever worn?
It depends on the connotation you’re giving “outrageous,” but I would say that everything that I wear around the house is pretty outrageous. Probably don’t stop by… or do… at your own risk.

How do you expect your style to change in the future? Can you imagine your ideal stage outfit?

I’ve had body image issues my whole life. Not uncommon, but mine have been a part of my identity at times. If I could predict a style change in the near future, I think it would be leaning into showing more of this freaking bod as I learn to love it more and more. 

There are SO MANY VARIATIONS of my ideal stage outfit in my brain, but for my first big tour, I imagine a costume change (of course), something floor length and flowy, some shoulder pads, some sort of leotard and fringe hanging from somewhere. Open to teaming up to design something together, any takers?

If you’re going to listen to music to cry/ get all your feelings out, what song/ which artist will you put on first?

I either listen to music to match a mood or change it, so it’s always a little different. Lately, I have been craving a cry of release from the different kinds of heartbreak that I’ve experienced this past year, and the responsibility that I’ve felt to smile through it. The song that I listen to for that is “I’m Not God” by Samoht. Please join me in listening to that one.


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PHOTOS / Victoria Innocenzi

STORY / Paulette Ely and Ariana Tibi

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