INTERVIEW: BABY ANIMALS

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On the back of their recent album ‘This Is Not The End‘ and a host of killer gigs across the country, we caught up with Baby Animals guitarist, Dave Leslie to chat about recording the new album, cream pies and returning to the Australian music scene.

By Julia Lay

You must be excited to have a bunch of gigs lined up. How do you approach a show each night?
It’s been a real pleasure putting the set-list together for these shows. It’s nice to have a bit of a back catalogue to rely on. We’ve really been enjoying playing, each show is a great opportunity to breathe new air back into the old stuff and at the same time, showcase the new record. Even though some songs are a generation apart, they seem to sit well next to each other in the set. It all sounds like a cohesive team, so we are really pleased about that.

How are you finding your audiences reactions to the new songs now that you’ve played a bunch of shows?
The audience seems to be warming to the new stuff really well. Now that the album has been released there are people singing along with the words of the new songs and that is a great feeling!

Do you have any memorable moments of past shows you’d like to share?
I suppose a couple of the most memorable experiences were when we jammed with bands that we were on tour with…  Eddie and Michael from Van Halen jumped up with us during our set and we played “Highway Star” on the final night of our tour with them. That was pretty special. Then there was the time that the guys from the Dan Reed Network invaded our stage, dressed as koalas and attacked us with cream pies. Cream pie is hard to get out of long hair. The bus started to smell like a yoghurt factory a few days later.

Even after 20 years, your previous albums still resonate quite well across all demographics. Would it be suitable to describe your overall sound as ‘timeless’?
I think the songs, particularly on the first album, have a certain appeal that people have been able to relate to over the years. Sound-wise, I think it primarily has to do with Suze’s voice. Her vocal tone is the same now as it was then. Hopefully good songs, well performed, will never go out of fashion.

It must be exciting to have a brand new album out. Was it an easy album to write?
It is very exciting to have a new album out! Suze and myself had really never stopped writing, so there was a reasonable stock pile of material to sift through. Having said that, first single “Email” was written just before the recording started, so that’s a good indicator as to how your writing partnership is going.

Could you tell us about the writing or recording process behind ‘This Is Not The End’?
We spent a few weeks in pre-production with producer David Nicholas, nutting out the parts and arrangements. By the time it came to record, all the hard work had been done. We were then left with the freedom just to play as a band and to capture the best performances we could. We had a great time recording! Some of the songs were first-takers. There is a mutual respect among the band members, we love playing music together and I think you can hear it in the tracks.  No egos were damaged whilst making this record.

What influences you when writing songs?
Personally, I’m attracted to sounds and colours that convey some sort of feeling. If I stumble across something – a progression, a group of notes or phrase that takes me away from reality, I’ll play and work it for hours to see where it will take me. It drives everyone else in the household nuts! But when they hear the record they say, “Oh, I remember when you were putting this one together!”  I love that process. I just tap into a feeling and never want to let it go. It’s like some sort of drug.

Have you met or seen fans that have seen you back in the day at your more recent shows?
Of course! We have lots of friends who used to see us, that have been coming to these shows. I have met quite a few kids whose parents used to see us. I daresay some of their offspring may have been conceived at our shows!

What are your long-term goals for the Baby Animals?
We would like to keep the creative process rolling and do another album or 2. To see a song that you have started, blossom into something greater than you had imagined, and have people smiling and singing along when you play live, is about the best experience you can have as a musician. There are lots more gigs to do and places to go. We all feel extremely blessed to have been able to push it this far and we would like to see how far it will go.

Is there somewhere in particular you’d like to tour?
Personally, I would be happy to do as much touring throughout Australia & NZ as we can. It would be nice to go the ‘States and Europe again but our fan base is here and I would like to cover as much of our ‘home turf’ as we can. Especially Tassie!

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Many thanks to Dave for taking the time to chat to us. You can keep up-to-date with Baby Animals at: https://www.facebook.com/babyanimalsmusic

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