West London duo Babeheaven dive into the depths of their debut album ‘Home for Now’, an enchanting world of deep melodies, heartfelt sentiments, and enthralling textures.
Stream: “November” – Babeheaven
An ethereal dreamland come to life in song, Babeheaven’s debut album is an immersive and entrancing experience.
An enchanting world of deep melodies, heartfelt sentiments, and enthralling textures, Home for Now is a tender indie pop achievement five long years in the making. It’s the kind of record that promises to whisk away its listeners: To dazzle and soothe, tranquilize and hypnotize through lush, stirring, vivid sound.
There’s a subtlety in the way you touch
There’s a hunger beyond your eyes
Although you’re there, there
You’re not quite here
You are ivory, more than flesh and bone
You draw the blood from me
You’re always on my shoulder
Independently released November 20, 2020, Home for Now is an ambitious debut album from fast-rising British act Babeheaven. The West London duo of vocalist Nancy Andersen and keyboardist Jamie Travis, Babeheaven formed five years ago and have been exploring the relationships between electronic, soul, and trip-hop music ever since. The pair gained immediate traction with their debut single “Friday Sky,” and gained further clout last year with their springtime song “Seabird.” They have since seen considerable streaming success with a string of cinematic album singles teased out in advance of its release.
Songs like “November,” “Until the End,” “Human Nature,” and “Cassette Beat” capture the fine balance Babeheaven have finessed in their art: A duality that melts the acoustic and electronic, cold and “hot” instrumentation together with stunning results. Further, Andersen’s rich lyrics offer escape and introspection as she delves deep into themes of self-love, identity, purpose, and place.
Who would have thought
That we’d create
And take away
But behind the cloud
There’s a blue sky
That I can’t see
That I can’t see
Running through fourteen tracks in 45 minutes, Home for Now covers expansive ground for a debut. Babeheaven are unafraid of speaking truth to power, just as they are unafraid of experimenting with their music and pushing the boundaries of their sound. The song “Swimming Up River” came out of their experience with the Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year: “I wrote that song about creating space for Black women in the alternative music world,” Andersen says. “I’ve sometimes felt a little pigeonholed in the music industry as a Black plus sized woman; people expect our music to be more R&B influenced. But that’s not what we make.”
Babeheaven are a lot of things; they defy you to put them into any one box. Their music thrives through dashes of electronic, jazz, pop, alternative, shoegaze, and so many more elements that come together a basin of inspiration and effected nuance: The dynamic duo transcend genre in a record that feels at once of this time, and of another world. As its title suggest, Home for Now is a transient being; for three quarters of an hour, it offers a new space in which all may dwell.
Babeheaven spoke to Atwood Magazine about the making of Home for Now and more: Dive into the West London duo and experience the fullness of their debut album in our interview below!
Home for Now is available on all platforms.
Stream: ‘Home for Now’ – Babeheaven
A CONVERSATION WITH BABEHEAVEN
Atwood Magazine: Nancy and Jamie, I know your debut album is a very long time in the making. Can you share a little about the story behind this album?
Jamie Travis: This album is a culmination of five years of being a band and making music together. We had quite a few songs written and then with the lockdown happening and the world slowing down it gave us the time to reflect on where we wanted to go with our music. All our touring got cancelled, so we decided to go ahead with making and finishing an album. When we were able, we would go most days of the week to our producer Simon Byrt’s home studio and work, and start to put the puzzle of it together.
Your album’s title, Home for Now, evokes a sense of comfort and transience. Can you speak to these feelings and the title’s relationship with the music?
Jamie Travis: Well I think we are both people who like to be comfortable and in warm surroundings, and I think our music may also create that feeling as well. I guess that in a lot of our songs, there’s a feeling of things are changing and anything can happen and the title reflects that.
This record feels like the soundtrack to a dream. Can we talk about your sound for a minute? Who are some of your greatest influences, and how do you personally describe the music you make?
Jamie Travis: Portishead are a big influence in terms of sound as well as DJ Shadow, Radiohead and many others. They all get a really analogue and organic sound that we love and try to bring to our music also. The genre we give our music is ‘post-rave’, which we describe as the feeling at about 4-5am after a night out and you’re a bit emotional with the sun coming up and maybe you’re feeling euphoric.
How did you go about connecting this series of songs new and old into a cohesive listening experience?
Jamie Travis: We put all the songs into Logic, which is what we use to make music, and lined them up in different ways to see what felt the best. Then along with Simon Byrt, our producer, we tried to make the changes between the songs have a flow to them. That would be changing the amount of time between each song coming in, or having some noise that continues between songs.
What was your vision going into Home for Now, and did that change over the recording process?
Jamie Travis: Our vision was of making something that was quite raw and delicate with a sound that was organic and real sounding. I think we stayed true to that as much as possible, so I don’t think it changed, we just did our best to try and match what we heard in our heads to how it actually came out in the end.
How much impact do you feel COVID-19 had in shaping your debut album?
Jamie Travis: Well it definitely helped the album come about as it gave us the time to sit and work on it and get it done in a short amount of time, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have released anything till next year. Musically I’m not sure it had an effect, but maybe it gave an extra sense of longing for certain things.
Nancy, you’ve spoken before about how much of your identity you injected into this record. Would you mind expanding on that; are there any songs that for you really capture this?
Nancy Andersen: We wrote “Swimming Up River” during the BLM protests and I wrote that song about creating space for Black women in the alternative music world. I’ve sometimes felt a little pigeonholed in the music industry as a Black plus sized woman; people expect our music to be more R&B influenced. But that’s not what we make…
I personally love how vulnerable so much of this album feels. Your songs are raw and immediate, and the lyrics are incredibly honest. Is the experience of making such intimate music a scary one – do you embrace the honesty, or ever find yourself avoiding it?
Nancy Andersen: I don’t find it scary; I think it’s good to be honest and try and write about it. It’s nice to write about experiences that other people can react to or relate to, then our music can be re-contextualised by others and brought into their universes.
You open with the slowly-rising, cinematic song “November.” Why begin the album in this way?
Nancy Andersen: It feels like a nice entrance to an album almost like the credits are rolling and the opening scene is coming into shot of a movie… that seems like a nice way to start an album.
Album singles like “Human Nature” and “Cassette Beat” feel like they’re opening up your sonic identity, if that makes any sense. What was it about these songs that made them your choice for promo tracks?
Nancy Andersen: I think they felt really true to where we want ourselves to be sonically and show how much our songwriting has developed. For both Jamie and I these songs felt like big landmarks when were recording the album so they seemed right for the singles.
I really love the brutal intimacy of “In My Arms.” What is that song about for you, and what excites you the most about it?
Nancy Andersen: For me this song is kind of a conversation you’d have with your partner, opening up and being close. Also realising that sometimes my honesty can show as me being harsh. Trying to see what the other person sees in you and understanding them completely and honestly.
Listening back with fresh ears, what are you most proud of (or impressed) about your debut album?
Nancy Andersen: I think it runs really well as a full body of work so I’m proud we did that. The interludes funnily are the songs I love to listen to, they’re like sketches of songs that could never be completed because they’re perfect as they are.
Do you have any personal favorite new non-single tracks you can’t wait for people to hear?
Nancy Andersen: “How Deep (Love)” is my favourite song on the album. We wrote it a while back but I was obsessed with it (which doesn’t normally happen). I listened to it over and over so it felt really nice putting it on the album, hopefully others love it too.
Finally, what do you hope others take away from this album?
Nancy Andersen: I hope people can feel how much love has gone into this album – and also hear the growth in our journey as musicians. E N J O Y
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? © Luca Anzalone
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