Smiling Beth
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Smiling Beth

Los Angeles, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Los Angeles, CA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Pop Art Rock



The best kept secret in music


"Fucking Over Scenophobia with Smiling Beth"

F*%!ing over Scenophobia with Smiling Beth
by Cody Banks
We first saw Smiling Beth at a Bridgetown DIY show last October. We haven’t been the same since.

Of course, powerhouse piano acts are nothing new, and perhaps the most compelling composers in history are pictured most easily hunched over keys. But there’s something about Smiling Beth that goes beyond the Dresden Dolls. Something that goes beyond Fiona Apple, and beyond Trent Reznor. There’s something here that is difficult to place because it’s new.

Accompanied by a rotating cast of drummers, Smiling Beth delivers an experience somewhere between Mozart and Bugs Bunny - in fact, the act would be vaudevillian if it weren’t so devastatingly emotional. Exuding a warm and welcoming stage persona before bashing in base chords with their skull and bare feet, Beth is a master of creating the safe storybook bubble in which brutality can be explored. Eager to learn more, we sat down with the artist behind it all.

Beth Delkhaste, creator of Smiling Beth. Photo by Nina Hernandez.
Beth Delkhaste, creator of Smiling Beth. Photo by Nina Hernandez.
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Cody. How long have you been a band?

Beth. In 2012 I started anonymously recording and posting songs on Tumblr every week for about 40- something weeks. A year later I gave Dominic Angel the URL and he booked me for my very first show at his house where my now manager Jean from Big Star Talent first saw me and told me she wanted to represent me.

C. What has evolved?

B. I started as a solo act but over the years have come to love working with other musicians. One time while performing at 5-star bar, the sound guy Heath who knew my songs by heart, hopped behind the drums halfway through my last song. I’ve been playing with drummers ever since! I’ve had the great privilege of collaborating with amazing musicians in my live sets/recordings including Kay Grey (drums; Kasper Grey), Eddie Ochoa (drums; Unknown Natives), Art Avila (trumpet; Chola Orange), and John Rojas (drum machine/synth; MACHINEKIT and La Bella). I feel like working with these musicians have really helped me grow musically and I’m eternally grateful for their patience and down-ness to go exploring with me. They also know that I would not be caught dead performing the same exact set more than once (it is NOT fashion) so I am very happy that they’re always willing to try new things with me like performing with (fake) blood or in white spa robes and sunglasses <3 So much love! Also, working with Art Zavala Jr. (Art Zavala Jr. & the Little Magic Band) on my last two EPs (Tunnel of Love and Little Woman) changed my life and the way I think about music forever.

Sidenote: nothing on either of my EPs was looped because he doesn’t believe in it (???) which was a great way to torture me into becoming a better musician. The line up is always changing and I love the idea of never knowing what to expect when you go see Smiling Beth play a show or listen to a new track.

C. Who is your ideal fan? Like, Who is this music for?

B. This music is for my fish Lillian Fish, all of my friends, all of my ancestors, queer people, Filipinas, Iranians, first-generation Americans, femmes, people who like to go places alone, fans of Bugsy Malone (1976), people who love hot cheetos, my deceased grandmas, my homie that got stabbed to death in Monterey Park over a parking spot, cartographers/GIS geeks, every non-male act that has ever had to open for shitty male acts even though they are way better than them, anyone that believes in DIY anything, Drake after he realizes he and I have the same exact smile and we capitalize on that, fashion-forward people, kids who run away from home a lot, dudes that take only one seat and not the whole dang row, country music lovers, white ppl that don’t gentrify, people with lots of anxiety, dermatilomaniacs, people who eat lots of rice, lesbians in third world countries, people who work at restaurants, people that work at strip clubs, fans of the song Ode to Joy by Beethoven, trench coat wearers, drag queens, fuck bois, people who are always late to things because they had to keep dancing till the song ended, late bloomers, fans of St. Vincent, loners, sociology majors, robots, and anyone that has ever felt some typa way.

C. What are you providing to your audience, emotionally, energetically, aesthetically?

B. When I first started playing shows, I thought that at some point I was going to find a scene that I would belong to where I would feel more like I fit in and less like a random act amongst other acts that “made sense” together.

Well, sir, I’ve opened for metal bands, reggae bands, various different sub-cores of DIY for the last four years and have come to the conclusion that I will probably always be the odd man out but now I’m embracing that.

It’s so GOOD to be different and that’s something that I feel is very important to communicate as an artist. There are so many fun sub-genre spinoff nights that venues are making $$$ and memes off of and that’s beautiful but I think the whole category thing is a relic that will soon wash up onto shore as an artifact of how we used to not be able to evaluate things on an individual basis and had to rely on categories to make what we felt was a fitting judgment.

You can look outside of the music world to see how categories are quickly losing their initial purpose. What are you going to do when all the races and ethnicities have all mixed together in a few decades and we don’t know how to accurately stereotype people anymore? What are you going to do when you stare at five or ten people a day and can’t determine if they’re a boy or a girl and therefore don’t know how to treat them?

Very soon we are all going to have to figure out how to evaluate people on an individual basis — the work that people don’t feel like doing and thus refer to categories. I can’t wait to fuck over xenophobia or as I call it in art scene contexts “scenophobia.” The truth is that everyone can’t wait to be themselves and nobody wants to be afraid of that anymore. You don’t know if you like something by finding out what genre it’s supposed to be. I hope that by getting over the fear of showing everybody who I am by making cool genre-less music, my stuff can be a home for everybody to live in. Gosh, wish me luck! I’m so fucking shy.

C. Whats on your mind recently?

B. Earlier today I was on the train listening to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John and this man looked at me kind of creepily so I took my pigtail braids out even though I thought they went so well with my outfit. I am always having to do that. It’s such a shame for my outfits on those days. One time coming down off hard drugs in Las Vegas someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said: “scary”.

Also one time Rasputina covered a Marilyn Manson song and then he went and covered one of their songs and I’ve always been really happy that that happened.

C. Any hobbies?

B. Pretending that I work in the accounting department for Jersey Shore 2: Family Vacation.

I also have a passion for fashion and love to dance.

C. Thoughts on God?

B. I love God and I hope to be part of God + Ye’s thursday morning brunch group one day. I know it can happen.

C. What would you do with funding? What’s the next step?

B. I am NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO: paying to record/mix/master/promote my first full-length album (currently its 14 tracks ahhh so much $$$!)

I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO: my aunts/uncles/cousins/everyone on my Iranian side getting to see me perform live for the first time cause I’ll be playing in LONDON, yo! (Sometime after I have released my album and have recovered enough financially to start planning a Euro tour). I want to thank me, my 3 fans, and the good people at Jersey Shore in advance for all this good funding!

Smiling Beth’s Album - Tunnel of Love - is out on Moon Chair Records. Check it out on Spotify, Bandcamp, and irl around all the cool Los Angeles spots. - Imaginary News

"Meet Smiling Beth"

Today we’d like to introduce you to Smiling Beth.

Smiling Beth, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In high school I spent a lot of time waiting to turn old enough to enter Turner Classic Movie’s Young composer contest where they give you an old movie without an original recorded score (a lot of really old movies didn’t have scores pre-recorded cause movie theaters had live musicians playing music for movies for a while) and whoever makes the best new original score for it wins like Logic Pro or something. But ya had to be 18 to qualify! I wrote a lot of composition pieces to prep, even attempting to make my own score to Jan Svankmejer’s “Alice.”

However, by the time I turned 18 I had already wrote my first song with words called “A Love Song for Marilyn Manson” and had forgotten all about the contest. In January 2012, I started anonymously throwing songs into a black hole (Tumblr) to see what would happen. I did this every week for almost a year. I did a lot of covers, including “Believe” by Cher, “Some of them are Old” by Brian Eno, and “Baby” by Justin Bieber. I played my first live show in January 2014 at my friend’s house in Baldwin Park, and there was no going back.

Since then, I’ve played at many more houses in and around Los Angeles, released two ep’s (“Little Woman,” “Tunnel of Love”), toured the west coast, and earlier this year, made my big smashing new york debut. I basically just hand everything to my assistant and fire them if they don’t accomplish all their assigned tasks. I’ve been dying to get on the Grand Theft Auto soundtrack for some time now and will not rest until I’m on it.

I am also finished writing my first full-length record and am looking for someone who wants to record it for free. Then I’ll (probably) self-released, and tour it in Europe.

Has it been a smooth road?
Every day I am learning how to give in to myself. My body and my heart already know exactly what they wanna be doing and what they want to be making. I just have to let them. There are certain things about your personality, your modes of thinking, and your heart that just exist within you always no matter what and the only choice you really have is whether to ignore it or not. When your coworker comes into the bathroom and hears you singing while you’re seeing it’s because your body has been wanting to sing all day, but you didn’t let yourself do that until you thought you were alone in the bathroom.

Sometimes a lack of self-discipline gets confused with self-indulgence. I really want to combine the two. I want to be very self-disciplined about indulging in my innermost desires. I think this is me teaching myself how to be an American.

I think I am a heartbreak to my parents. My mom was born and raised in the Philippines, and my dad was born and raised in Iran. They each had their ideas of the American Dream when they came here and worked really hard to provide me with the resources to have a good and stable life. And I am flushing all of that down the toilet by wanting to do this. Sometimes that causes me a lot of guilt. I know that my parents didn’t move here just to end up raising a queer piano playing daughter, but I also know that this is an American Dream, too and if I don’t pursue this, I’m not truly taking advantage of all this American privilege that they worked so hard for me to receive.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I’m really happy how much Smiling Beth has grown over the last five years, and am very excited to see what’s going to happen next. I mean, to an extent, I know what’s going to happen. But I don’t know too many details. I am proud of how malleable this project is. There’s always something different happening for every show, and there’s always something different happening on every song.

I want people to come to a Smiling Beth show or song just wanting to experience something cool and end up finding a personal gift for themselves every time. I also want to give all of my love to Kay Grey (drums), Eddie Ochoa (drums), Art Avila (trumpet/bass), Olivia Breidenthal (violin), and Omar Romero (guitar) and Art Zavala Jr (sound engineer extraordinaire) for making music with me.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Synth-based stuff has been showing us all it can do over the last few years, and I think people are now wanting to remember what regular ol’ instruments sound like again. So a note to all you orchestra nerds: keep at it cause ya’ll gonna be in high demand over the next few years. If you love your instrument, keep playing it.


Little Woman EP – $ 5
Tunnel of Love EP – $5
Contact Info:

Instagram: @smiling_beth
Other: - Voyage LA

"Washed 2017 Playlist"

This past year has gifted us a plethora of music. Enjoy this playlist of songs released in 2017 by friends, locals, and established musicians. Some local artists like Los Angeles based Lindsay B and Smiling Beth. Trithalon and Sloppy Jane have recently made their move to New York to continue creating music. 90s band, Weezer, released Pacific Daydream this year and will be touring with Pixies over North America. Another 90s musician I’m excited about is Inger Lorre. Having only released one album almost two decades ago, unheard songs are now on Spotify from her live performance in Los Angeles this fall.

Needless to say, I’m excited about what 2018 is going to sound like. Keep up with these artists and discover new ones throughout your journey on this rock.

Sloppy Jane Mindy
Traithalon Couch
L. Martin Dirty Sheets
Hoops On My Corner
Knox Fortune Help Myself
Lindsay B Nobody’s Waiting
Moaning Don’t Go
Metz Dig a Hole
Siam Jem Wednesday
Suzi Wu Teenage Witch
Auxiliary Clinton/Sad Virtuoso Free Agency
Kyle Craft The Rager
Smiling Beth Tunnel of Love
Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas Oh No
Summer Salt Favorite Holiday
Cole Zarick The Oak & The Acorn
Weezer La Mancha Screwjob
Inger Lorre Hate In My Heart (Live) - Washed Mag


Little Woman EP (2016)
Tunnel of Love EP (2017)



Smiling Beth is a solo project formed in 2011 by Los Angeles' favourite queer Iranian-Filipino first generation American femme.  Tired of categories and labels, Smiling Beth wants to give you something brand new and to encourage everyone to stop giving a shit about fitting in. 

 Recognized for her inventive piano playing (she sometimes plays with her foot and head), she is also known for her ever-changing line up including anything from rambunctious drums to eerie trumpet through a vocal processor.  She self-released her first EP "Little Woman" in 2016 with a follow-up EP "Tunnel of Love" released in 2017 by Moon Chair Records, and is currently anticipating her first full-length release in 2019.  

Band Members