Beth Jeans Houghton
|Born||3 January 1990|
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
|Genres||psychedelic rock, garage rock, punk rock, pop music|
|Occupation(s)||Singer-songwriter, Animator, Artist|
|Labels||Mute, Static Caravan, Moshi Moshi|
Beth Jeans Houghton (a.k.a. Du Blonde) (born 3 January 1990) is a Newcastle upon Tyne-born multi-disciplinary musician, composer, artist, animator and video director. Her influences range from psychedelic rock, punk, blues, 1960s garage rock and soul. She works as an artist under her birth name, Beth Jeans Houghton, working with photography, illustration, animation, video and sculpture. She has directed and animated music videos for multiple artists including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ezra Furman, and Laura Marling's band LUMP. She writes, performs and produces music under the name Du Blonde.
Houghton is genderqueer, and identifies as non-binary.
Beth Jeans Houghton was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. Houghton started writing songs in her teens. At sixteen she left school and bought herself a Fender Stratocaster, which she taught herself to play.
Houghton first appeared in front of an audience in 2006; her debut release, titled EP (a limited-edition 7-inch), was on Bird Records in 2008. She signed then with Static Caravan Recordings, which released the single "Golden"/"Nightswimmer", produced by Adem, and her second EP, Hot Toast, Vol. 1 (produced by Mike Lindsay of the band Tunng), both of which earned acclaim from the UK press. Houghton signed in early 2011 with Mute Records, releasing her debut long-player, 'Yours truly, cellophane nose' in early 2012. The album was recorded with Ben Hillier whose previous production credits include Blur, Depeche Mode and Elbow.
Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny toured the UK and Europe extensively during 2011 and 2012, appearing at multiple festivals including Glastonbury, The Great Escape, Latitude and Bestival. In April 2012, the band performed on Later... with Jools Holland alongside Paul Weller and Willis Earl Beal.
In November 2012, Houghton and her band flew to Los Angeles, California, to record their second album at The Boat studio in Silverlake. However, after initial sessions going well, Houghton became disenchanted with the sound of the new album and the sessions were cancelled.
In late 2012, Houghton had written to Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands inviting him to do some backing vocals on the LA recordings. Although the two had never previously met, in January 2013 Herring flew from Baltimore to Los Angeles and suggested collaborating and writing some music as well. They travelled through the Pacific Coast, out to the desert and Los Angeles . They wrote songs including "Pelican Canyon", recorded and produced by Phillip Broussard Jr. at The Boat in Los Angeles.
Houghton then spent nine months travelling around America, always returning to Los Angeles which had by this point become her spiritual home. During this time, she reevaluated her musical direction, and continued to write. Houghton returned to the UK in September 2013 with the intention to begin the sessions for her second album, this time as a solo artist under the name 'Du Blonde', releasing 'Welcome Back To Milk' on May 19, 2015, again with Mute Records.
After touring 'Welcome Back To Milk', Houghton began work on issue #1 of her comic books series 'Butt Hurt', focusing on bringing to life her vivid dreams and uncomfortable social situations. Having been a life long sufferer of anxiety, Houghton's work often touches upon discomfort, using humour to help ease her symptoms and dispel stigma surrounding mental health.
During November 2016, Houghton directed and illustrated the animated music video for "Sick Love" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Houghton had previously dated the band's singer Anthony Kiedis. The video was released on December 4, 2016.
On March 27, 2018, Houghton's music video for Ezra Furman's 'Suck The Blood From My Wound' was released via the Bella Union label. Houghton Directed, illustrated and animated the clip.
On November 20, 2018, LUMP released the video for their single 'May I Be The Light', also directed, illustrated and animated by Houghton.
During 2014, Houghton began writing and recording music under the name Du Blonde.
Welcome Back To Milk, the debut album for Houghton as Du Blonde, recorded in London and Los Angeles with producer Jim Sclavunos, was released on May 19, 2015, by Mute Records. It has garnered generally favourable reviews, with 75/100 rating at Metacritic.
Du Blonde's second album, 'Lung Bread For Daddy' is due for release on February 22, 2019, via Moshi Moshi. The album will be the first to be produced by Houghton herself, taking a journey into relationships and mental health of the musician.
In 2013 Houghton suffered from anxiety: "In the moment the nervous breakdown was actually happening, I thought, 'either I'm dying or I'm going to be sectioned for the rest of my life'." Of her practice of Transcendental Meditation, begun at this time, she said, "To now know confidently I can deal with my anxiety is such a good place to be."
- Bon Iver
- Euros Childs
- Fionn Regan
- Future Islands
- Imogen Heap
- King Creosote
- Mumford & Sons
- Mystery Jets
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Scott Matthews
- St. Vincent
- Stephen Fretwell
- EP – June 2008
- Hot Toast Vol 1 – September 2009
- "Golden / Nightswimmer" – Static Caravan, 2009
- "Dodecahedron" – Mute, 2011
- "Sweet Tooth Bird" – Mute, 2012
- "Atlas" – Mute, 2012
- Tilden, Imogen (27 March 2009). "First Sight: Beth Jeans Houghton'". London: The Guardian.
- MacKay, Emily (16 March 2012). "Beth Jeans Houghton – Freak folk's weird sister finally hits the charts". The Independent. London.
- Fox, Killian (2015). "Du Blonde: 'It was the scariest thing. I don't know how I made it through'". The Observer. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Ferrier, Morwenna (6 November 2011). "Beth Jeans Houghton: 'There's more to me than wigs'". The Observer. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "Mute – Beth Jeans Houghton". Mute. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- Newbury, David (13 February 2012). "Beth Jeans Houghton interview: "I hate London"". The Independent. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "Yours Truly Cellophane Nose". www.chartstats.com. Retrieved 2011-06-01.
- Williams, Holly (5 June 2015). "Beth Jeans Houghton interview on Du Blonde, her nervous breakdown and industry sexism". The Independent. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
- "Welcome Back to Milk by Du Blonde reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "Beth Jeans Houghton". Woodwork Music. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- Tilden, Imogen (26 March 2009). "First sight: Beth Jeans Houghton". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- "Beth Jeans Houghton". The Daily Growl. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- "Beth Jeans Houghton". Crack. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- "Beth Jeans Houghton". Moseley Folk Festival. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- "Future Islands / Dope Body / Du Blonde @ Glasgow Barrowlands, 9 September". The Skinny. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- Alexander, Phil (1 June 2009). "Phosphorescent Burn Bright In London!". Mojo. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- Awbi, Anita (26 June 2008). "Beth Jeans Houghton: EP (Bird)". Music Week. Retrieved 12 July 2009.