I'm Ariel Beesley and music has been the only consistent thing about me my entire life. I want to write songs that do for other people what my heroes did for me. The Cure, Blondie, New Order- these are the bands that got me through high school, and as someone experiencing what the fuck being in your early twenties means, are continuing to get me through. They're timeless. All I could hope for in my music, is to give people the words that they don't necessarily feel they have themselves. To make people feel less alone. Because I'm sure as hell an open book and feel everything all the time, and this is the only way I know how to cope with that. Having an audible diary. I write very simplistic lyrics because I want them to be an undeniable punch to your heart. The feeling of- "damn, I've felt that too." Because when it comes down to it, we all lead different lives, but a lot of us experience the same emotions. I'm going to make music forever because I have to or I'd go mental. I don't know how to be anything except myself so no matter what, I'll do it for me. But I hope these songs find a place with you too. And that maybe listening to them, you feel.
Musically, MODERNS is synth-pop built on an organic foundation. Using vintage analog synthesizers and drum machines, and raw, natural vocals, the music is electronic but not sterile. MODERNS combine traditional and current recording methods, relying on instrumentation and singing without excessive digital manipulation. The result soars -- powerful vocals are given space and depth with music that is channeled equally from retro and contemporary sounds. In essence: modern.
On her debut record, Have Some Fun, Xuan’s twelve songs fuse garage rock and candy-coated pop intent on melting your heart. From the album’s infectious opener, the Strokes-inspired “Not the Man,” to the “Little Red Corvette”-inspired ballad “Sheila,” somewhere in that collage of break-ups, old cars and treasured moments, Xuan is, indeed, having a whole lot of fun. The daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, Xuan (pronounced “Swan”) Nguyen grew up in what she describes as the “safe and uneventful” Dallas suburbs. “Everything was really good. But I knew I needed to go out and get my ego smashed and explore. I moved to Viet Nam and hosted a TV show. I traveled around Southeast Asia, Australia and moved to Ireland.” Living in Ireland, Xuan was inspired to write songs by her then songwriter boyfriend. “He was worried about how were going to make a living. I realized that I could become a songwriter, too and we could tour together. I thought: ‘This is going to be easy!’” Of course it wasn’t, but when Xuan returned home, she continued to hone her craft undaunted. “I got up the courage to perform at open mic, and that’s where I met Salim Nourallah (producer Old 97s, Nicholas Altobelli, The Damnwells, Rhett Miller).” Nourallah invited her into his studio to put together a record. The result is an impressive output of twelve hook-driven songs underlined by an authentic realness to the lyrics. “This record is totally me,” says Xuan. “Even the things I don’t like about myself!” It’s from Neil Young, Xuan admits, that her sense of authenticity found root. “He’s simple, honest and totally romantic.” But it was from the pop stars of her childhood that her songs took shape. “Growing up, I listened to whatever was on the radio. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. So, my songs are pretty standard verse-chorus-verse-bridge. I like indie stuff, but I don’t sound like them,” Xuan confesses. “I always wish I was as cool as Lucius.” But even as poppy as Have Some Fun may be, it is that vulnerability—that Youngian-derived authenticity—that gives these songs their strength. “People are always growing and changing and making mistakes. This record is a snapshot of where I was at that point in time. I don’t want to forget that. I want to appreciate it for what it is.” Have Some Fun is a debut album from a strong, independent singer-songwriter. The album’s closer, “Night Drive,” is a hopeful, introspective endnote that celebrates the smaller, charming moments of personal freedom. A tonal leap in relation to the album’s previous eleven songs, it brims with the confidence of a woman finding her voice as a first-generation Asian-American. “I’d rather be rejected for who I am than loved for who I’m not,” Xuan says. A fitting way to sum up the feel and vibe of the album as a artist celebrating hard-earned self-acceptance.