• Jo Armstrong

BE - Exciting Essex Electronic Duo Formed in Lockdown

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

BE are a new electronic music duo created by Leigh-on-Sea based Marc Barnacle and Basildon based Shel Cribben. They have released two singles to date, with stunning videos filmed in local locations. Now receiving music industry attention and radio play, they are an exciting new name to watch.

Being long-term friends who have both played on the local music scene, they've wanted to collaborate for some years. After both leaving their recent bands this year, the arrival of lockdown facilitated this desire to become reality, with Marc explaining, “lockdown really helped having that time available. It was the perfect opportunity to focus and expand, to work on ideas”.

The band’s name is inspired by the feeling of ‘just being’ - a common theme I am finding when speaking to creatives about lockdown. “The name is simple but complex at the same time”, Marc explains, “of just existence; being; spending time to think about what you actually want to do with the time you have and implementing ways you can do that”.

Technology proved essential to a smooth collaboration process during lockdown as they sent ideas back and forth, worked on videos and editing. While Marc lays down the composition and plays the instruments, Shel is the lyricist and vocalist. Marc would put down an idea on the computer or a riff on the piano or guitar, record it in an early format and send it over to Shel, who in turn worked on the melodies and sent it back.

They have released two singles since July – their debut ‘They Won’t Listen’, followed shortly afterwards by ‘Oh Helen’. Both have an atmospheric, ambient vibe and build upon the band’s name via sound, lyrics and visuals towards the theme of freedom and self-expression. The duo have a wide range of influences, from Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Moby and Portishead to the Clash and The Specials and both also have “gritty guitar backgrounds”. They recently posted a live video around a piano on their social media to highlight their diverse interests. Marc explains, “it shows the diversity of what we do and it’s not just the digital domain of an electronic band – it’s an acoustic project as well”.

Both videos were filmed in Leigh-on-Sea by Marc’s wife, Poppy-Rae Beckwith - ‘They Won’t Listen’ at Chalkwell and Leigh Beaches and ‘Oh Helen’ at Two Tree Island. ‘They Won’t Listen’ depicts a woman floating in the sea and complements the dreamy sounds and lyrics expressing freedom. Poppy explained, “I listened to the song and interpreted that – I could see the calmness and stillness of the water, the birds, freedom”.

Two Tree Island continued to capture that essence of the serenity and freedom of nature for ‘Oh Helen’. Poppy‘s creativity has always been inspired by nature and this was amplified during lockdown. She explains, “In lockdown, it really helped being amongst nature and I wanted to put that across. It’s about embracing what’s around you. We spent every evening in the summer on the beach which inspired the first video and the same with Two Tree Island – we spent a lot of time there, getting out and exercising”.

The band have had an amazing response from the industry especially, as Marc admits himself, for a band with no previous initial portfolio or profile. They have had air play on Amazing Radio, Hoxton Radio and been put on the playlist for YMX, with stations keeping an eye on their future work …

Marc expressed sincere gratitude for the attention they have received via radio play and reviews and the band are forging ahead with future plans. These include the release of two more singles before the end of the year, another live piano video and launching on Sound Cloud and Band Camp. Collaborations and live performances are also in their sights. I recommend you too keep a keen eye on BE!

Download BE’s music and follow their updates on Instagram Facebook and Twitter.

Poppy can be contacted for any art, video and design queries on hellobemusicuk@gmail.com.


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