Mini-Interview With Babeheaven: Lockdown, Production, and Music Making Process
Babeheaven is a west-London based band that mixes smooth vocals with an ambitious production. The main goal for Babeheaven is to make something that stays in our minds instead of making a pop song that we will get over in the previous days. They spare no detail in making a song, bettering it, and improving the listening experience. It's atmospheric, relatable, and sweet. After listening to their EP, and following it up with with their newest single "Human Nature" I can, for my part, agree that it is exactly the type of music that sticks with you, that you want to recommend to all your friends. They make the kinds of songs that you know you can listen in the subways forever without getting bored, contemplating life.
Nancy and Jamie are the ones who complete Babeheaven, them being the two who record the songs together. They’ve toured with names including Loyle Carner and The Japanese House, being able to share their music with a big crowd. They both enjoy trip-hop and soul which is a present inspiration in their music. When it comes to lyrics, it's very personal, they are "personal songs, lyrically, based around family and relationships and things I found difficult because I find it’s easier to write about things." explained Nancy in an interview with Vice. Her love for soul overflows from her vocals. However, she manages to maintain her unique singing voice, not giving two fucks about the cliché of "how to sing".
To understand Babeheaven and their music-making process, I've interviewed them, asking some questions that every listener of theirs would want to know.
1. Considering that we have a lot of time in our hands, an amount of time we didn’t have before, people assume that musicians should be using this period to write songs, produce them and be « productive » musically. Do you agree on this or is it more difficult than ever to find the right headspace to sit down and do something productive?
Jamie: I think at first I found it hard to sit down and write music during the first few weeks of the lockdown, I think that was because it was hard to think about the future too much and that somehow affected my desire to write. Maybe just the thought of having to focus on staying healthy took over. Also not being able to be in a room together writing was very challenging, as Nancy and I find it important to write together for a song to work better. But after a little while we got back into the swing of things and now using this time to be productive.
2. Every song of yours has the same Babeheaven sound to it but there is also a solid diversity between each song in the feeling it arouses. How do you create this diversity?
Jamie: That is quite a hard question to answer as its hard to hear certain things people hear in your own music. But I think using different instruments can help to highlight different things, so maybe using strings on one song can get across a certain message, but choosing something more minimal on other can help create diversity. Also if something is uptempo it can just make you feel like something is more positive, like Teardrops by Womack and Womack. I didn't realise it was so sad until I actually listened to the lyrics properly.
3. You have a very unique way of singing. It sounds very soul but very edgy at the same time. Who is your all time inspiration when it comes to vocal range?
Nancy: I try not to think about the way other people sing, as otherwise I can get caught up in their style and mimicking it. So I tend to just listen to the music and try to think of something that will complement it.
4. Suspended Animation has a very deep and sultry tone to it. How was the production process for that EP?
Jamie: We'd normally start off writing with something quite simple, usually with sampled drums, and then record some chords until we found something we liked. Then we'd slowly build from there, usually getting a drummer to play and replace the sample, or pairing the two to make it sound bigger, we did that on It Nan. I'd record synths and guitars with what I have at my small studio at home, and then if we thought anything needed to sound a bit fuller we'd record in a proper studio, trying to use analogue synths to replace the computer synths I used at home. We also record with Simon Byrt who has a great studio with lots of synths and old gear to help get a certain sound. We use a bunch of foley sounds that we record on and sample atmospheric stuff to give it some more atmosphere, you can probably hear that most on Cat Dance. Strings we managed to get some players together and recorded that with a few mic's, also combining with vast strings to help get a fuller sound. That's pretty much it.
5. How does making music in London affect your music in terms of inspiration?
Nancy: Making music in in winter can be quite inspiring in an odd way, I don’t really think lyrically I write about being in London or that its very London centric music… but we are from London.
You can listen to Babeheaven on Spotify
If you want to say hi here are their socials: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter