LUKE: Nick came up with the idea of reinvigorating our old songs by producing EPs with different producers. It’s a ploy I toyed with for Faux Faux Amis that never got off the ground. I am always keen to hear how others interpret my music – I’m never more chuffed than when someone covers one of my songs. Moreover, some of these Babyfreeze songs date back to our inception, so I was pleased to give them a facelift.
I’ve been friends with Reuben a long time and shared many a stage, but never worked with him in a musical capacity. His alter-ego Dead DJ Joke is my favourite deejay to dance to, so I knew it was going to be heaps of fun. The choice of second producer furthered the entwining of Simon Millman and myself – I’ve now mixed and mastered songs for him, shot press photos and film clips, contributed guest verses to his Coolio Desgracias project and we are both founding members of the Northside Swag Unit (six track EP dropping soon!). Oh, and he’s also my drum teacher!
We gave both Reuben and Simon a bunch of our old demos to sift through – each selected different tracks, with the exception of Interview. This song – one of mine – began life as a Cool Weapon demo (quick anecdote: the Modgeulator said that of all our sex-focussed material, this was the only one he ever felt the need to shut the door of his room for when working on it), and has been in Babyfreeze’s sets since our first gig. I was confident – rightly as you can hear – that both producers would bring something different to it. Simon latched on to its greasy essence while Reuben brought it into his shiny hi-tech world.
The whole thing was a blast, but some highlights for me are:
- the horns on Water Is No Liar! Just perfection!
- The Soulquarian vibe Simon brought to Ghost Breath
- Fossil Rabbit’s Arabic guitar swells on Ghosts From The Ground
- Everything about Tattoo Shop. What Reuben managed to do – turning it from Gun Club to S Club 7 played at double-speed – is nothing short of remarkable.
I’m happy Chris and Grahame got to feature on the EPs – my intention is to have them far more involved in the arranging and playing of the next album.
The EPs had a long gestation, partly because we weren’t in any rush, and then because of Nick and my general apathy towards arranging gigs (in this case, the EP launch). We’re happy to play at the drop of a hat, but no one starts a band because they love event management and logistics… I ended up curating and organising the event – another guerrilla gig at what we named ‘Commonwealth Park Stadium’ (not to be confused with Stage 88). It was a bitterly cold night, but we still got around 50 people attending, which is what I would have expected at Smiths. The other acts – MC Krewd, The Burley Griffin, Coolio Desgracias & Housemouse – were all brilliant and I can’t thank them enough.
The covers were mostly my idea – I was sure I wanted them to feature myself and Nick with the producers. An early inspiration is this incredible Gravediggaz cover – I love its energy and how every person draws your eye.
Though obviously the New Love Universe cover morphed into a direct homage, the most important factor of the In The Yurt cover was, well, the yurt – though I think the fonts are suggestive of the EP’s relative genre and intent. The Yurt cover was shot at local legend Jim Sharrock’s house, in the yurt he built in his backyard. Shooting up into the ceiling was my first idea but the initial shots were nothing special. We then spent an hour shooting in and around the yurt before revisiting the idea with Lou now manning the camera, and voila! That was our cover.
Listening back to both EPs, Simon’s radical re-workings – turning Autopilot from a Suicide blues to a laconic lounge groove, and use of a range of musicians on theremin, saxophone and more – contrasts heavily with Reuben’s shiny plastic 90s style. What’s clear though is that they are both auteurs, by which I mean they set out and delivered on a specific, unique vision. Utter triumph.