Interview: Baby Shakes
[gallery type="slideshow" link="none" size="full" ids="122197"]
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Our family members and friends.
Mary’s older brothers used to play in bands and that really inspired her to start a band of her own. Also when we were kids there were actually Music videos on MTV instead of boring, trashy reality shows. That was exciting! Dancing around to music videos and playing air guitar with our friends when we were kids definitely sparked our interest to play in a band.
None of us can imagine a life without music so if we weren’t in a band we’d be involved with it in some other way. We all have to work to pay our bills and support our hobby so... we’d probably just be working the same jobs but it would really suck without a creative outlet to release our daily stress.
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Mary is a graphic design artist for a living and she designs all of our artwork. As a band we’ve worked together in creating our brand and designing all of our merch and record covers. We’ve developed our own Baby Shakes aesthetic over the years that we think matches our music perfectly. Claudia sews as a hobby and she’s contributed creatively by making outfits/ props for music videos and sewing matching Halloween costumes for the band.
We’re all record collectors and love watching movies. We also love digging for vintage clothes. We’ve drawn influence from our record collections or old movies for our songs and sometimes for our music videos. We’re hugely influenced by vintage/midcentury style.
How long has your band been around?
Since about 2005, doesn’t seem like it’s been that long but time really does fly by when you’re having fun.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
New York. It’s been a huge influence on our music. We all used to go to shows at CBGB before they closed down and that’s probably what inspired us the most to play the style of music that we play. We’re really influenced by the gritty 70s punk scene that came out of NY, bands like New York Dolls, Ramones, Gary Valentine, The Speedies, Milk ‘n’ Cookies, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers and the Dictators.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
The name came from Little Richard’s version of “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”, the chorus part that goes “Shake, Baby Shake” Little Richard is the real King/Queen of rock’n’roll and we love him so it’s a little homage to him for having a huge role in creating the music that we love.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Most recently one of the best shows we played was our gig with the Undertones. We supported them in NY and it was a packed house, good energy from the crowd and we covered one of their songs for our encore, Billy came up and played drums with us. It was so cute, he actually asked for Ryan’s permission to play with us.
We also played an amazing 3 day festival in France last summer called the Binic Folk Blues Festival. It was outdoors by the Sea, we headlined one of the stages on a Saturday night in the middle of the town. It was wild, everyone was dancing, people were crowd surfing and trying to rush the stage. Good Vibes!!!
The worst show we ever played was when Mary got really sick on tour in Japan and lost her voice. We had to rent a karaoke room before a couple of shows so Judy and Claudia could learn and practice singing all lead vocals for our songs. Cancelling any show on that tour was not an option. It worked out fine and our fans were really supportive even though it wasn’t the normal Baby Shakes line up that they were expecting. It wound up being fun and we were invited back but those few shows were very stressful for all of us.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
Hmm... It’s hard to choose just one venue because we have so many fond memories at many different venues around the world but it was really cool playing the legendary 100 Club in London. That was a huge accomplishment for us!
We’ve never played in Australia and would love to play there!!!
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
All of our friend's bands from around the world!!!!!! And maybe the Bangles and the Go-Gos too :)
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
That it’s a lot of work and you can’t just rely on luck to get by. You have to really work hard every step of the way and be very dedicated. Also that you should just have fun with it and enjoy the process.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
To savor moments and not let anything else get in the way of your enjoyment. We think we do this anyway :)
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
“On a Friday” because it was the first real song that we all wrote and recorded together.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
“Cause a Scene” because the lyrics sum us up perfectly.
“Do what you want” because we do what we want
“Stuck on Blue” is the crowd pleaser.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music? What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Mary, Judy or Claudia will come up with a melody, lyrics or a riff and bring it the table and we go from there. We work on the arrangements together. We draw inspiration from anywhere, other songs that we like or a moment that made us happy, nostalgic or furious.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Not really, we spend a lot of time together so obviously we’ll get on each other’s nerves once in a while but we’re all considerate of each other’s feelings and we respect each other’s opinions. There’s no egos so if there’s a minor disagreement about something we talk it out and move past it pretty quickly. It’s how we’ve been together for so long.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
Right now we’re writing songs for a new LP. We’re really excited about recording new music and getting into the whole creative process again. Our goal is to have it finished and out by the time the can start playing live shows and touring again. But before then the 2nd single of our 4 song EP that was recorded with Billy and Damian of the Undertones ( In Derry Northern Ireland) will be released on the fantastic Dimple Discs label, and we promise it’s just as good as the first one!!!