BABEHEAVEN – himmlisches Debüt

Foto-© Joyce Ng

Nachdem wir schon bei der Veröffentlichung der Single Cassette Beat komplett verzaubert waren, veröffentlicht das West Londoner Duo Babeheaven nächste Woche endlich ihr Debütalbum Home For Now! Das Projekt der lebenslangen Freunde Nancy Andersen (Vocals) und Jamie Travis (Instrumente und Produktion), ist das Werk zweier Kreativer, die durch eine ähnliche Lebenseinstellung und die organische Natur wahrer Kreativität vereint sind. Sie lernten sich im Alter von 13 Jahren kennen, blieben in Kontakt und – ihre Lebenswege kreuzten sich dann wieder als Erwachsene. Beide mit musikalischen Neigungen, die von ihren Vätern geerbt wurden (Nancys Vater ist ein Werbe-Jingle-Autor, Jamies – der Gründer von Rough Trade Records), arbeiteten die beiden bald jeden Abend an Tracks, zunächst als Teil einer größeren Gruppe, aber bald nur noch zu zweit, als sie merkten, wie viel sie gemeinsam hatten. Zum nahenden Debüt-Album-Release haben wir die beiden per Mail mit Fragen gelöchert – unser Interview mit Babeheaven!


– Name: Babeheaven
– Band members: Jamie Travis, Nancy Andersen, Luca Mantero, Ned Smith, Hugo McGuire
– Founding year: 2015
– Location: London
– Album: Home For Now


First of all: how are you, how did you experience the outbreak of this worldwide crises and what is the situation in the UK at the moment?
JAMIE: Good thank you, the outbreak was difficult obviously both personally and professionally, but we used the time to write lots of music and ended up releasing this album which is great. At the moment were just about to go into another National lockdown so things are not great.

What is your first memory of a contact with music? And when did you start to make music?
JAMIE: I remember listening to CDs of Robbie Williams and Justin Timberlake in my best friend’s bedroom when we were about 8 or 9, playing it on his CD player and singing along. I also remember playing a piano with no idea what I was doing along to The Beach Boys and singing along. I started to make music when I was around 11 or 12, just little instrumental things, and then around 15 or 16 started to get more serious about it, trying to write real songs with friends.

You both had musical influences from your parents – did you always want to become a musician because of this and could you describe which influence your family had?
JAMIE: From a young age I wanted to be a guitarist, I was obsessed with Jimi Hendrix mainly and dreamed of being on a stage doing massive solos like he did. My dad was just listening to music non-stop in the living room as I was growing up, so I would always be hearing a really wide range of stuff, from the Smiths to the Game, so I think he opened up my eyes to a mix of music that I think I use to this day in the music that we make now.

How did you meet and in which situation did you form the band?
JAMIE: I used to play football in the park every weekend with Nancy’s Dad and after we would have a picnic, after a few years we started to hang out and slowly started to make music together. We used to work on the same street, so every day after work we’d go back to my house and try and write a few songs.

How did you come up with the band name, what meaning does it have for you and is there a story behind it?
JAMIE: The name was just something we came up with while we were hanging out, we were just throwing random names out there and it seemed to stick.

How would you describe your music and which influences do you have musically?
JAMIE: We like to call our music ‘post rave’ music, when the parties over and the sun is coming up, and you’re feeling a bit emotional and maybe euphoric. There are loads of influences, John Frsuciante and Moby, and Radiohead and Portishead are some bands that we take inspiration from.

How did you make the way out of the practice space to sign a label deal? Which were the steps and how does the time feel for you looking backwards?
JAMIE: Well firstly you have to work on the music and your writing, then getting the right people around you to help you achieve what you want and to give you advice. Basically just a lot of hard work and writing music that we believe in. It feels good and sometimes I wish we moved a bit faster but I’m pretty happy with how the whole journey has gone so far.

Can you describe a bit the production process of Home For Now, how, when and where it came into life, what was the best/what the worst moment during production and what is the most told anecdote of that time?
JAMIE: The production process has developed throughout our time and we have started working with Simon Byrt who is a producer, so we would go to his studio where he has a great amount of vintage and analogue gear that led to the sound of the record. The hardest song was probably In My Arms it took the longest to get right and it went through a lot of different versions. There was a completely different instrumentation under the verses, a wurlitzer part, that we completely removed and swapped with the guitar parts, and then it just kept growing, with the addition of the guitar solo etc. That was probably the best and the worst part, trying to figure out that song.

We read that you were recording in a very special place – where was that and how would you describe the place/influence for the record?
JAMIE: I don’t know if it was a special place, but we were recording at my flat and at Simon Byrt’s home studio not too far away. It was great to go into a place to focus solely on our music and be in a creative environment where we could relax and write.

Cassette Beat is one of your favorites of the record – how was it done, is there a story behind it and when/how did you come up with it?
JAMIE: We were actually listening to a bit of Coldplay at the time and they had a verse style that we really liked, quite bare with the vocal really at the front, so we tried something like that. We just came up with the verse chords and worked on the beat. I think we also made the chorus chords before Nancy had sung on it yet. Then I took it home and worked on some of the more instrumental parts of the chorus, the synths and the guitar parts. Then we went back to the studio and Nancy wrote the vocals, and it was quite amazing, the chorus was really emotional hearing it for the first time. It just seemed perfect for it, I then took it away again and worked on adding a few things musically and it was finished.

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Jamie you are doing the instrumentations and production of the songs, right? Where did you learn to produce and do you have an idol in that matter?
JAMIE: Yes along with Simon Byrt, who is very like-minded and gets our sound completely. I started learning to produce around 15 when I got logic and was experimenting writing songs, and learning as I went on, picking up bits and pieces from friends and online tutorials etc. I would read a lot of interviews with producers and artists as well to get extra tips, I would read a lot of things that people like Geoff Barrow said and Pete Rock, Dr Dre and different mixers and all sorts of people. The people I mentioned are some of my idols in that world and I just try to take in as much information as I can and learn from people around me.

Do you have a work routine when writing songs and if so, how does it look like?
NANCY: I don’t really have a routine, but normally Jamie will start off working on the track with some chords and we will fix on something we both like then work on a beat – I start humming melodies and writing lines and we develop from there.

In which situations do you usually write the lyrics for the songs and is there a special surrounding / atmosphere that you work best in?
NANCY: I normally write the lyrics in the room whilst Jamie is working on the track. I’ve tried to write things before going into sessions but I find that I end up not using it. I like to write to the mood of the music and normally it evokes a feeling that I want to explore and the lyrics come from there. Sometimes I enjoy writing from someone’s different perspective so that writing can be more playful and less personal.

Was the record / campaign for it influenced through Covid-19 and if so, how?
NANCY: No it wasn’t really, the only COVID-inspired thing in our campaign was the video for Human Nature, which I made with my house mates during the first lockdown. It was really fun and gave us something to do every day for a few weeks.

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As a debut record is a very important step, why did you decide to release the album now anyway?
NANCY: We had a lot of plans for touring this year which of course become unachievable, so we changed the plan and decided to release an album. I think it’s important that people still release music regardless of what’s happening in the world, music can be an escape for a lot of people. There’s no time like the present!

With a record coming out, it’s also usually part of the plan to play it live, how are your plans on touring at the moment?
NANCY: We have a show planned at Village Underground in February so hopefully that will be able to go ahead, as well as a tour supporting Rhye across Europe which would be soo amazing.

We read that you also were reflecting about your role as a performer during lockdown and that you used to have really bad anxiety before shows, Nancy – why was that and which conclusions did you make for the future?
NANCY: I had been thinking a lot about performing before lockdown came into place because we were about to go on tour around America. I guess during lockdown I had more time to think about how I want to present myself on stage, how the audience perceive me and what I wanted to show. I suffered really badly from stage fright when we first started playing live but the more you play the easier it gets, there are of course some factors that can bring back the fear (if you have a terrible soundcheck etc). I think the time to think made me want to make sure every show we play is real performance and I can give it my all.

You’re one of the hottest newcomer bands from UK at the moment – which other newcomer bands/artists would you suggest to give a listen to?
NANCY: I think Joviale make really amazing music accompanied by beautiful visuals.

Whats next on your schedule?
NANCY: We will probably start working on our next project – now the we’ve finished our first album everything seems very accessible!

What should we know and what shouldn’t we know about Babeheaven?
NANCY: You should know our album comes out on the 20th of November. You shouldn’t know life without it. You should know we have no secrets but what you shouldn’t know is our secret.

What are you doing when you’re not doing music?
NANCY: I spent this year learning how to crochet and now I make loads of hats – it is so fun and takes my mind off all the bad things going on in the world.

What was the last record you brought?
NANCY: My friend runs an online record shop called Perfect Lives where he sells out of print vinyl – and recently I purchased Lady Chaser by Lady Chaser; it’s some off kilter Americana masterpiece.

What did you learn in 2020?
NANCY: I learnt to slow down. Now I don’t know if I’ll be able to speed back up.

Which song makes you dance every time?
NANCY: Hercules and Love Affair – Blind (Frankie Knuckles Remix). It gets me every time.

How would your Bedroomdisco look like?
NANCY: It would be full of my friends having loads of fun dancing like crazy.

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