I recently caught up with West London five-piece, Babeheaven. As I walked up a spiral staircase leading towards the band’s studio or as to them “where the magic happens”, I had a feeling of curiosity mixed with excitement as I met with Babeheaven frontrunners, lead vocalist Nancy Andersen and Guitarist Jamie Travis.
After some back-and-forth of small talk getting our introductions out of the way, it was time for the one question I wanted to know most - Where did the name ‘Babeheaven’ come from?, though this question may seem trite, after some time scouring the internet, the answer wasn’t online. Babeheaven’s origins were the basis of “a long term joke, a really bad joke that went too far and became reality”, as Nancy comically explained, Babeheaven was the birth-child of one of those moments where you’re just like fuck it, why not.
Jamie and Nancy had a song they wanted to release but the duo were lacking a name and after a night out at a party and a couple of fuck it, why not’s later, Babeheaven was chosen and it stuck around. It’s very fitting, yes it is random but I feel it perfectly fits the band’s sound and Nancy’s sublime and alluring vocals that always seamlessly glides over the bands production, Friday Sky being a fitting example. To hear one of their tracks and not become an instant fan, you obviously don’t have fully functional eardrums and that’s ok, your appreciation for great music hasn’t matured, give it some time.
Talking with Jamie and Nancy, I got a glimpse of how the two fit within the DNA of the band, bringing together an eclectic sound that is Babeheaven, and as Nancy jokingly puts it “together we kind of make this amazing stuff, that seems to work” - easily an understatement. The two are almost like brother and sister, they know each other well, it’s basically second nature for one to answer a question for the other, for instance, when I asked - Where do you draw inspiration from? Nancy answers “Jamie’s a big Red Hot Chili Peppers fan” and he agrees, like any sibling would. With Nancy’s musical taste heavily embedded in bands with prominent lead vocalists, it’s no surprise that her vocals are the focal point of any Babeheaven track, “I listen to a lot of like… singing [laughs], I really like Sade, Zero 7, Massive Attack, Air, like all that kind of stuff […] more that side of things”. And then there’s Jamie, the mastermind behind the bands atmospheric soundscapes, with musical influences varying from Brain Eno, Portishead, Moby and Radiohead, amongst many others, Jamie states “those guys are like big musical inspirations, that’s where my musical influence comes from”.
As conversation flows, I get into their recent tour with The Japanese House, and both Jamie and Nancy simply tell me “touring is seriously fun”, and I know just like you I was expecting more than a one liner but I guess performing your songs several nights out of the week and free drinks by the bar can be serious fun, it’s well earned with the immense amount of hours spent in rehearsal. Don’t be deluded though, for Babeheaven touring also means growth as an unit and learning to be more cohesive as a band - “playing every night is so fun, you get so good as a band”, and for Babeheaven performing is personal, it’s much more than a performance, as Jamie explained he wants Babeheaven fans to feel “a connection to the music […] as it’s slower music, it’s not really about dancing and going nuts, which is what other gigs is about. You want people to feel it and to be in that moment and hopefully feel a bit of emotion, that’s nice, even if it’s like 12 seconds”, and Nancy being the comedian she is playfully chimed in “12 seconds is quite a lot of time to feel emotion”. Babeheaven, the welcoming band that they are, Nancy hopes that their aura transcends throughout the crowd, reminiscing on her younger years Nancy remembers gigs where watching a band live can come across as intimidating, she aims for the opposite with her audience - “I like it when people come up and chat, and have a nice time, that’s nice, I just like being really friendly”.
What started as a duo between Jamie and Nancy earlier on has now matured into a five-piece band with the addition of members, drummer Pike, bassist Hugo, and keyboardist Nicko. When speaking of the origins of Babeheaven, the change was made as the two wanted the band to have a fuller sound, “We can’t play all the instruments ourselves, can we” laughs Nancy. For Jamie, playing with a laptop wasn’t musically appealing, “you lose a lot feeling” he states, and Nancy seconds that, “there’s a lot of feeling when the whole band is playing, you can’t mimic the feeling of a drummer playing really hard with a drum machine and a laptop […] you get more emotion from players, actually playing instruments”.
Babeheaven feels as if they were a band in the making several years ago, with Nancy meeting their creative team in her younger years, the foundations of the band were organically formed early on, they just didn’t know it - let’s call it fate. Nancy and Raf Fellner both attended the same nursery, and Nancy met Tegan Williams later on at primary school, these encounters were the initial building blocks piecing Babeheaven together. Being able to work on visuals with close friends Tegan and Raf, everything is able to fit together so perfectly, allowing the two to be in full creative control of the band’s visuals. - “We’ve got a pretty strong creative team who are our friends, Tegan and Raf, and Frank, he did the earlier [videos], […] I think Tegan and Raf have quite a good idea of what we like in our music videos, so we can bring them a song and be like this is the kind of vibe that we’re looking for, and then storyboard, and then go from there” - Nancy.
Track by track Babeheaven take us through various emotions with lyrics written very poetically touching on love lost or similar topics but what makes the band so great is there ability to still include elements that are quite light-hearted, a favourite of mine being Ode To Dom - written by Jamie, a tribute to pizza with lines like “It never tasted so good […] I got a special feeling, two for Tuesdays got me dreaming”, and as Nancy simply puts it in her comedic tone “I don’t think you should write too many songs about love”. Speaking on their creative process, Jamie tells me that most songs “normally starts with me and Nancy here [in the studio] and then we take it to the band and expand it and see where it goes from there. Some songs have been written here and produced here and that’s it, put it out. Some have gone to the band, then a studio and we record it, so it’s like a mix”.
If you haven’t noticed their tags on SoundCloud, Babehevaen have created their own genre to describe their blend of atmospheric synths with ambient backdrops and electronic elements, titled ‘Crushing’. - “Crushheaven [laughs], you know when you have a crush? You’re like ohh… it’s because of that song. So the day before Valentine’s Day is when we released Friday Sky, we wrote that song because I had got a CD from a family friend with a love song on it and it was like the most catchiest song I’ve ever heard, and it was like [sings] ‘I got a crush on you’, and that’s where it came from, Crushing” - Nancy.
If you were lucky enough to have grabbed tickets for tomorrows free sold out show - June 8th, you’ll have the pleasure of watching Babeheaven performing live alongside River Tiber at the House of Vans in London. For those not lucky enough, you can stay in the know by following Babeheaven on Insta’ @babeheavenband or on their site babeheavenband.com. You can also check out their visuals on YouTube and listen to other Babeheaven gems on SoundCloud.