Brooklyn electro group Late Guest at the Party taps into the carefree, house-inspired rhythms, glistening synth lines, and instantly recognizable lyrical themes that ushered electronica into crossover pop in the ’90s – surely a golden era for club jams if ever there was one. While their sound seems to have solidified around that nostalgic inspiration, it truly took hold with the arrival of Beth Hansen – the proverbial “late guest” to the party started by three Italian dudes (Gabri, Ian, and Renzo) back in 2005. They’d released a couple of LPs with producer Caleb Shreve at the helm, but Hansen absolutely transformed the band, infusing it with earnestness and energy.
Their latest string of singles graces listeners with thoughtful hooks, catchy concepts, smooth synths, and danceable beats, and the newest of these, premiering exclusively on Audiofemme, is “Bend,” a song that combats codependent tendencies and internal intimacy issues in an infectious, danceable package. “Why do you find it so hard to be by yourself?” Beth croons in her androgynous timbre, making the track feel intimate, like an inner monologue. The pulsating beat drops out here and there but always returns, keeping things grounded and thoughtful.
“Bend” will resonate with any Brooklynite who’s found themselves raving until the sun comes up, swaying and swerving at an abandoned Bushwick warehouse, only to feel totally alone with their racing emotions as the dawn reveals the dissonance. We sat down with Beth to discuss the evolution of LGATP, the group’s songwriting style, and the inspiration behind the new single.
AF: The band has been together since 2002, Beth when did you step in as the lead singer?
BH: I stepped in late 2016 after writing “Give You A Life” with Renzo. Late Guest had started thinking about playing live again, and when he asked me to sing live for them I countered with joining them full time. I missed having a band.
AF: How did the sound evolve once you joined?
BH: Renzo and Gabriel had developed many tracks to bounce off of, and with their production and my voice, I pushed us into a more ’90s sound. I get to use a big voice and Renzo has a largely sample-based production.
AF: What does it feel like being the front person in the often male dominated genre of electro dance rock?
BH: I spent almost all of my childhood trying to find a band, and was often rejected being a young girl. It’s great now to be the loudest one in the group and I often get to bring in other women to work with us. Happily, I think fans of the band have only been excited to have me as the new vocalist.
AF: Can you discuss the origins of “Bend”?
BH: I’m still writing the insecurities of my first love despite having many longer and deeper relationships. The worries still come up. I want to make those insecurities as clear as Haddaway would when singing “What is love / Baby don’t hurt me, no more” – but I want you to get over the insecurities with me throughout the song.
AF: Late Guest At The Party resonates deeper concepts that provoke thoughtfulness and courage, while remaining playful and digestible. Can you talk about the themes you explore lyrically?
BH: I tend to explore the more bitter or cheeky thoughts that I have. They are less treated or metaphorical than many dance pop songs. “Give You a Life” is both about having depression and naively trying to push someone out of their depression. “Add It Up” is the only way I could think of yelling “I fucking love you, don’t you see?” I sometimes sneak my girlfriend’s name into the song when I sing it live. “Bevel” was me working through the feelings of being unable to directly empathize. I think it’s one of the most positive songs I have written.
AF: How would you describe your songwriting process?
BH: In general we write in small groups usually, using a started track from Renzo. “Bevel” was written with Renzo, Gabriel, Ian and I all together in one weekend. I would love to do this more. Until then, we have a studio we go to whenever possible – we all just have different schedules. I write lyrics almost everywhere. I’m usually singing out loud on a walk to the train.
AF: Who are your top three artists that have influenced your writing and performances?
BH: Lately, Jamie Principal (lyrics and melodies), Nation of Language (performance), and I’m gonna put Queen Sessi in here. We worked with her on “Bend” and honestly she really helped me to get out of a writing rut. Just seeing her run through different melody ideas effortlessly is inspiring.