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INTERVIEW: Psychobaby

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

We’ve just been watching life unfold J

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Baby”?

Yeah—it’s a story of a person living in the world trying to figure out what’s real. It’s like that moment when you realize that all the sort of pre-packaged ideas and metaphors you use to get by are total BS. And you need to figure out what’s going on in the world but you can’t really because we live in different layers of those packages. It’s like unpeeling the onion, but from the inside out, so to speak, but you never get to the outer layer to glimpse what is on the outside, because the onion itself is not real. It’s not an onion, we just have been taught to think of it as such.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

No–we do have songs that werecatalyzed by particular events, but “Baby” isn’t one of them. It’s more of a general feeling.

How was the film experience?

The film experience was beautifully rewarding. It started out as one of those late-night hazy ideas—our friend Nick (Nicholas Motyka), who directed the film, came over for dinner. We were eating these wonderfully greasy burritos that Godfrey had made. Nick wanted to hear the EP so we played him the rough cut and as soon as he heard Baby, he had this vision. He was like “Dude, there’s a weird alien baby.” And we both really dug it, and then we kept talking about it and it became “Dude, there’s a weird alien baby and twine people and a captive woman wearing a wedding dress.” And it was maybe 2 am and everyone was in a bit of a different mental space and it seemed like one of those ideas that would be mentioned in passing and never materialize. But somehow it happened.

A huge part of making it real was getting together a team of friends. Nick was most of the brains behind the visuals, in addition to shooting and directing the video.We needed more hands on deck, and we especially needed to figure out how to make this giant baby head and twine man masks on a shoe-string budget with absolutely zero special effects. Our good friend Elise Rise, who’s an incredible artist, jumped up to the plate and crafted Baby and the twine men in literally 24 hours. It was spectacular to watch.

The other key player in this whole endeavor was our friend Tim Kukharchuk. We shot in Vermont and Tim lives up in Keane, NH, so we picked him up on the way up there. Tim was amazing on set—location scouting at 5 in the morning, AD-ing, AC-ing, being a twine man. We’d actually never met him before –he’s been friends with Nick since high school—but all of five of us immediately clicked and just had the best weekend up there.

The single comes off your new EP Rough Start- what’s the story behind the title?

It’s a pretty rough start, basically. I think we’re at a time where we’re very much figuring out how to live in the world – and I think that’s reflected by each of the protagonists on the EP. There are two more songs in addition to “Baby”: “Believer,” and “Flower Hat Man.” “Believer” is the story of a man who gets swept up into a false ideal and loses contact with reality, and “Flower Hat Man” sprung from Juliet’s learning how to deal with what it means to be a woman (and therefore a sex object) in a big city, just trying to live her daily life.

How was the recording and writing process?

Both were actually surprisingly easy. Our drummer at the time, SebastianoVecchio, was adamant that we record something and we’d been kicking around a bunch of songs in our live show that we felt were about ready to record. We took these in to Jon Markson at The Gallery in Bushwick and did most of the tracking in one day. Jon then worked with us on some of the finer detail work and really became a producer on the project.  For Godfrey’s solo on “Believer” he got out a bunch of insanely cool pedals, hit record, and then started messing with the knobs while Godfrey was playing, creating this really intense oscillating sound that just isn’t possible with one person alone. Another favorite moment in the process was when we listened through one of the tracks—I think it was “Flower Hat Man”—and Jon said “this is pretty good, but it could use a vision quest,” so he pulled out an old keyboard he had in the studio and Juliet got to fuck around with it. Most of the vision quest wound up getting cut, but if you listen really closely you can hear some vision-y stuff in the sonic underbelly. We like to think it made a difference.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

“Baby” was a song we’d been kicking around for about a year. Godfrey had come up with it, and the only line we really remembered was “my baby is a baby” which we just thought was really ridiculous.

“Believer” is about this guy who gets swept up in a religious cult and loses contact with reality—or at least, the reality of the people who loved him that he has left behind. This was drawn loosely from life experiences but really is about the more general feeling, that I think is probably fairly relatable, of losing someone you love. Not in the sense that they’re actually physically gone, but just that that person whom you loved no longer exists. So that’s pretty much what “Believer”’s about.

“Flower Hat Man” was born out of anger after Juliet was harassed on the subway arguably one too many times. The Flower Hat Man referenced in the song is not a real person, more of a composite of experiences. Some songs you have to think a lot about, and other songs sort of just get written. Juliet started humming the verse for “Flower Hat Man” on the way out of the subway one day, then stuck it over a riff Godfrey had been messing with, and we wrote the rest of the song in an hour or so.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! We plan on hitting the road this summer, after Godfrey graduates college.

What else is happening next in Psychobaby’s world?

This summer will bring more videos, more recordings, and more shows outside of NYC. We’ve got some cool gigs lined up and we’re recording some new stuff at Converse Rubber Tracks at the end of June. We’re quite excited to take the next steps, discover new places, and make some more music.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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