There is now a Baby In Vain album. It’s right there, on my desk, and out there – points out the window, gesticulates toward The Cloud – on streaming services, available to listen to entirely at your leisure.
But it wasn’t always there. In fact, for a long, long time there wasn’t a Baby In Vain album at all. Singles, sure, but for a while now the only way fans could check out their music was by heading down to some fleapit venue and watching the Danish trio - Lola Hammerich, Benedicte Pierleoni and Andrea Thuesen - kicking out some serious jams.
So what was the spur for the group to actually get in the studio and lay all this down in one place? Andrea has the simple answer: “I think it was when was got a record label.”
After years of being courted the band signed to Partisan, whose support made all this possible. Lola picks up the story: “It’s been a weird process because we actually started making the record before we had a record label but I’m glad we didn’t finish it then, because it’s way better than it would have been two years ago, or three years ago.”
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Ah yes, the failed album. Seemingly, this wasn’t the first time Baby In Vain had tried to complete a full length project. Andrea looks disconsolate at the mere mention of those sessions, saying: “It turned out to be a disaster.”
“Then we were in limbo,” shrugs Benedicte. “Just… what are we going to do? We can’t use any of the recordings we did, and we have so little time.”
In a way, though, this initial failure is one of the best things that could have happened to the band. Continually faced with the pressures of producing A Debut Album they simply ran out of time – and were forced to simply get on with it.
“At the other session we used an ‘all the time in the world’ style approach,” says Lola. “We wanted to make it as good as possible. And we didn’t get any work done. Or it wasn’t even that good. It was actually really bad! It was really healthy for us to have a deadline.”
Enter Rob Ellis. Baby In Vain travelled to the producer’s Eve Studios in the English countryside, and locked themselves away for eleven days and eleven nights to complete the album. “When you record everything in such a short time it’s more fresh,” Lola adds. “I mean, it’s more consistent, and all the songs have something to do with each other because you maybe record two songs a day, so you’re in a vibe, and you can hear that on the record.”
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‘More Nothing’ certainly doesn’t hold back. It’s a visceral offering, one informed by those lengthy, lung-bursting spells on the road with the likes of Ty Segall and Thurston Moore.
“We recorded it live, kind of. And then we worked from there,” says Andrea. “Most of it is actually played the three of us together.” “I mean, when we wrote the new songs we thought about making the song real good, not just for live but for the recording as well. I think that’s been on our mind, lately. Not just doing a rock song with energy for the live show but making a proper song.”
The debut LP is an album packed with Proper Songs, the structure of each track taken to wonderfully defined levels. It’s a record that presents both a vivid picture of where Baby In Vain are now, and where they’ve been – some of the songs on ‘More Nothing’ were written during what was literally the band’s adolescence.
“Some of the older songs were written in another time in our lives and our careers. And maybe a bit more rock and garage and stuff like that,” says Benedicte. “I feel like making this album was also an opportunity to explore and learn that we’re not only one kind of musician, we can do a lot of different things, and play a lot of different things.”
Much of this will towards experimentation was encouraged by the producer, with the studio’s rural location making for a wonderful base. “We stayed there for eleven days, woke up and then just recorded,” explains Andrea. “The house was very charismatic and all the gear is analogue and old, it sounds very much like that studio and us being there, sleeping there… It’s difficult to explain - it’s not an image we came with, but us being in that place sounds good.”
Lola continues: “Also we only brought our guitars and our pedals, so we didn’t have our own gear that we’re used to. Which was kind of a challenge but in a nice way for us to open up to new sounds.”
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If the music on ‘More Nothing’ veers continually outward, then lyrically it can also be a remarkably introverted experience, never shy of touching on the personal. This is Lola’s domain, and when the subject turns towards her lyrics she noticeably slows the pace, making sure that each word is correct.
“I can only write from what’s inside me and what I experience,” she insists. “But I don’t think that it can be clear to people exactly what it is that my lyrics are about. Also because I don’t have a huge English vocabulary, I think it will always be kind of abstract, even though I try to make it as personal and as understandable as possible.”
“I think that’s the great thing about music, is that you actually give the person who listens to it a chance to experience something themselves. You don’t tell them what to feel, you don’t tell them what to think. People can just think what they want and feel what they want.”
“I think that I just write something that makes sense to me, but I don’t think it makes the same sense to one other person in the world,” she says. “But they can maybe take out one line, it doesn’t have to be more but just something you can relate to. Because that’s what I do, I think, when I listen to some songs. But I really like when art – everything – just leaves it up to you to feel and decide what you feel about it.”
And that’s where we’re at. ‘More Nothing’ is out now – it’s on my desk, and it might be on yours too. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s an almighty racket and heaven alone knows what it all means.
Up next? Well, after ‘More Nothing’ something more.
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Catch Baby In Vain at the following shows:
5 Leeds Headrow House
8 Leicester The Cookie
9 London Camden Assembly
10 Bath Moles
12 Southampton The Joiners
13 Cardiff The Moon Club
14 Birmingham Actress & Bishop
15 Nottingham The Bodega
17 Cambridge The Portland Arms
19 St Albans The Horn
20 Tunbridge Wells Forum
For tickets to the latest Baby In Vain shows click HERE.
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