MY BABY INTERVIEW
What they do is sometimes a hard rock which suddenly becomes in a psychodelic trip that ends in a dance beat which you dance with the belly and you only come out with a click like in an hypnosis. The shamanistic action My Baby uses to take us into their trance, it is more than ever in their last album Shamanaid, the powerfull and ripping rhythms potion from this three druids of rock music. We have chatted about all of this with them.
For spanish people and other places where they don't know you yet, what is My baby?
My baby is a Dutch/New Zealand band based in Amsterdam that play a brand of psychedelic Blues and Funk with a tribal dance groove.
We are a three piece consisting of Cato van Dyck on lead vocals and guitar, Daniel Dafreez Johnston on guitar and Joost van Dyck on drums and vocals. We have travelled and toured far and wide for the past 3 years since releasing our debut album My Baby Loves Voodoo in 2013, playing throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA. Now we have just released our 2nd album Shamanaid in the UK and are set to play a lot of shows there this year.
Which are the mains influences to the band?
It's a sound inspired by old blues and folk music, but played with the rawness of sixties and seventies soul and funk and an edgy trance like infusion of electronic dance .
Listening to west african folk, ethiopian soul, moroccan gnawa, indian ragas and dance music of all forms has helped broaden our horizons and help to shape our sound. We want to fuse hypnotic groove with gospel harmonies, African melodies and funk riffs. A voodoo melting pot from the deep south that seeks to put people in a trance-like spell.
Over the past two or three decades electronic dance music has become a huge part of our culture. It’s hard to fathom how many people connect and celebrate life by going to dance parties and raves. Yet this tribal celebration has been around for thousands of years across all cultures in the world. The roots of those rituals are fascinating to us and we have made that trance-like hypnotic groove an essential part of our live performance but it is also prevalent on a lot of the album. It's funny to think of it. Going back to prehistoric times, people dancing round a fire together! It's in our DNA.
I think there is a lot of seventies psychodelic rock in My Baby, we can see that in the music as in the look and staging is well. It could be said that it is your main mark?
Our main mark was to try and create a sound reminiscent of the seventies but with an original approach towards the music. Perhaps our live performance has a certain rock attitude. A lot of rockbands from the seventies have similar influences and roots in blues, soul and folk, so that's a connection there. But I think we have also been influenced, not always consciously in our choices, by modern electronic dance. We used to live in squats in Amsterdam where we used to play soul and blues at parties amongst goa trance DJs. Something has merged since those days. So we think that sets us apart from most seventies rock inspired bands.
As for style and image, we don't tend to look at bands from the seventies. A lot of bands have a collage of all sorts. We re not much different. We are inspired by twenties and therties art and fashion. From Art Nouveau to Art Deco and from flapper dresses to kimonos or native american influences. People often comment on the collage of looks. That's just the way we like it. Like a trip down the yellow brick road.
Shamanaid is just released, what are we going to find in this album and what is the evolution since My Baby Loves Voodoo?
The conception of Shamanaid as a title is an interesting one. Explaining that is probably the best way to describe the album. It came to us after listening back to Cato singing on a demo track of Seeing Red and hearing her sing the word Shamanaid. This sparked a series of conceptual ideas for the album and it seemed a fitting title. Shamanaid is in our imagination as a drink or magic potion used in a shamanistic ritual.
Ancient rites performed by shamans in all cultures often included using music combined with ingesting something containing hallucinogenic substances. To cure ailments, expel demons, expand minds, and overall to put right what is wrong. For centuries people have been in need of aid from shamans. Music is also an important part of those rituals. Repetitive beats and melodies are used to get people into a trance, thus serve as a spiritual guidance, a manner of being or just being. People need to spark themselves into action. To uphold their will. To uphold their beliefs. Only in the event of the greatest threat or peril will they perceive life at its most poignant.But we have the responsibility to achieve this consciousness for ourselves every day.
Also Shamanaid is a bit of a tongue in cheek reference to the Electric Kool-aid acid test, a book by Tom Wolfe in 1968 which is an account of the experiences of Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters. They were a group of counter cultural hippies who travelled through the US in the mid sixties in a bus and threw parties under the influence of LSD, which they dissolved in kool aid, a lemonade drink.
As for the songs, we tend to write material built on a hypnotic beat and that is more modal compared to the major or minor scale verse and chorus musical structures of pop music. Although we have branched out into more harmony and acoustic arrangements for this record. The previous record My Baby loves Voodoo was more of a protest album with socially conscious lyrics. There was a lot a venting of frustration concerning society. We have not done away with those ideas but have focussed more on songs reflecting on the journey of the inner self, matters of the heart and narrative driven fairy tales and murder ballads.
First time I saw you was at Eventim as Seasick Steve's supporting band. How was that experience playing in such a mythical stage with Seasick?
It was one of the most momentous occasions of our careers to date. To play in such a legendary venue to such a large and majestic crowd was something you'll never forget. Of course we are indebted to Steve for getting us on board and championing our music. You need an ambassador of sorts sometimes and he was more than willing to be that person, which is an incredible honour coming from such an amazing artist.
You are with the Shamanaid tour now, I guess you have not stopped in the last weeks with this tour and Seasick's. How are you holding up?
To be honest we are pretty shattered. But meeting new audiences on the road and discovering new places around the globe keeps you inspired. And you are constantly motivated to become better at what you do. The best way is to keep at it and perform as much as you can. And just pump enough energy out there. Something is bound to come back. It's like karma.
Since Shamanaid was released and Urprising video, you have been sounding on BBC Radio London and playing in some places in the city is well. Has been London an important show-window for the album and the band?
We have visited London several times over the past year. We can feel a definite build in interest there. It's a wonderful city with an amazing history and diversity in music. There's a respect for the roots of blues music but also a keen awareness of looking for something fresh and original. Fortunately we have had a very positive response from audiences and media and are looking forward to performing there for years to come.
Are we meeting up in some summer festivals? Which ones?
Festival season has arrived and we are stoked to be playing Glastonbury this year. In addition to this we will also play the Rhythms of the World fest in June and Wilderness in August. The following week we are then at Sziget in Budapest. And we''ll be able to name more soon, including a UK headline tour for later this year.