UNO Magazine, Summer 2007/08


Intro page ~ Page 1~ Page 2 ~ Page 3 ~ Page 4

   Page Three

   Behind the Beatgirls


The Beatgirls was formed in 1996 by the pair, following the success of their infamous cabaret show Blame it on the Bossa Nova. Thespians and musicians both, the couple decided it was time to make a show that would be more accessible to a large number of people. So the Beatgirls was born. Billy gestures with a fork into a corner of the restaurant. "See that guy over there, with the glasses?" A bespectacled man can be seen talking animatedly to a friend, a dangle of shaggy locks occasionally obscuring an eye. "He designed The Opera Bar, where we had our first gig."

The Opera Bar is gone now, as have the shows performed by the fledgling Beatgirls every Thursday from 11pm until tam. Billy and Andrea reminisce about this time, when the band would set themselves up to play to whatever crowd was there on the night, when New Zealand music made up two percent of all radio play, and patronage was hard to come by. "But that's the only way to earn money as a musician, and it paid off," Andrea says. "We started to get a really good following."

The Beatgirl's fame as a slick live act grew. A move to Sydney was next, where they saw their band take on a life that they admit they never thought possible. "Something that we had just started up as fun just went on to this whole other level," Billy says.

Life across the ditch was not easy, they are quick to add. "Looking back on it now, I think we were a little naive when we went to Oz," Andrea says, tilting her head. "We had to start from the ground up." Struggling to survive, they borrowed money form friends to help pay the rent. Andrea speaks of self-doubt, of being challenged on a daily basis. "There were not many people who helped us," Andrea says. "Still, we managed to get some amazingly big gigs." If 'amazingly big' is terminology you would use to describe the Sydney and Athens Olympics, a succession of high-profile parties and events and a spot on American TV's The Today Show, then it's hard to disagree.