After numerous months of delays due to lockdown extensions, the Melbourne-based garage pop band Babyccino are finally celebrating the launch of their debut EP Stomach Bug at The Gasometer Hotel on Thursday, December 9. We caught up with frontwoman Alannah Sawyer to discuss the EP launch and to dig deeper into Babyccino's collection of ramshackle garage pop tunes.
Following an array of postponements and cancellations due to a lengthy lockdown in Melbourne, the DIY garage pop band Babyccino are finally set to launch their debut EP Stomach Bug Thursday, December 9 at The Gasometer Hotel with their friends The Great Divides and Leo.
Babyccino consists of frontwoman Alannah Sawyer, bassist Cecilia Carrasco, multi-instrumentalist Harry Green, and newly-recruited drummer Jezabel Furlong. Green also double-heads the ever-growing experimental folk band Mouseatouille alongside Spencer Noonan, which Sawyer also plays in. The six-track EP is an impressive snapshot of the band's musical growth and between the spaces of dizzying loops and glowing acoustics, there are moments of truly sublime tenderness.
Beginning with pop bombast on the retro-leaning garage rocker "Thorny Rose," the band shifts to something more introverted with their kaleidoscope of rich sonic layers. The slow-burning "12345" is both moody and warm with its catchy folk melody and Sawyer's luscious saxophone stabs. The eerie eight-minute epic "Memento Mori" is the EP's centerpiece that's drenched with Sawyer’s stream-of-consciousness that drifts over softly droning guitars and shivering ambiance. The closing track "Camouflage" is breathtaking with its rush of jaunty guitar chords and tribal drum fills.
To dig deeper into the new EP and to give a preview to what audiences can expect at the upcoming launch show, we caught up with Sawyer, who reflects on the recording of the release and the emotional journey behind it.
Paperface: Hey Alannah! I know you've been part of Harry's project Mouseatouille over the years, but tell me, how did Babyccino emerge and what was your vision when forming it?
Alannah Sawyer: Basically I had written a handful of songs, and really wanted to bring them to life in a live performance setting. CC, Harry and I were already hanging out a bit and jamming together so I thought that they would be the perfect fit. There was no official vision at first, it was just a bit of fun and something to do! I have always had an interest in music and writing, and Harry and CC both have their other music projects — it was really exciting to be playing gigs around that time just after high school having only played a handful previously with Harry’s band. As we went along, I started to come up with ideas of how I wanted the music to sound and what kind of band we wanted to be… and here we are now!
Is there any significance to the name?
Sometimes people look at my appearance and think I am a child (people have told me to my face that I look 14-years-old before) and they don't always take me seriously. It's incredibly annoying. So I guess it relates back to that a little bit, because babyccinos are typically consumed by children. In all honesty, I don't know if that was necessarily on my mind when picking it, I just thought it was fun and unique.
As a band, how do each of you shape the dynamic to Babyccino's sound? Also it looks like you just recruited a new member!
I think that we each bring something different to the band. I usually write most of the songs, and then bring them to the group to flesh out. I am not very good at communicating my ideas, but the others still seem to understand me. I like hearing what they have to say and seeing what parts they can come up with that I never would have thought of. We each listen to somewhat varying styles such as indie rock, post-punk, pop, grunge, ambient and folk, but it does overlap, so it’s refreshing to have different inputs.
And yes! We just recruited Jezabel on the drums and she is great. Harry sold his drum kit ages ago, so for a lot of the past handful of gigs he has been playing from muscle memory. It is really cool to have another member because now we are adding more parts to the live performance, like saxophone which is technically my primary instrument. It's just so damn hard to find good drummers, they are a hot commodity here!
Back in July, you released your playful and twisting debut EP Stomach Bug. What was the recording process like for this release especially given the pandemic.
We recorded all of it within our own homes, mostly in CC's spare room. Some parts like sax and vocals were recorded in my bedroom. It was a bit messy because I feel like we didn't know what we were doing, or at least I didn't. I think I just fleshed out a lot of the songs and recorded things on a whim and they just seemed to sound right. For example on "Memento Mori," the break in the middle of the song is made up of saxophone melodies that I just simply improvised and recorded maybe once or twice. I didn't want to think too hard about it, whatever felt right was what we went with.
I think it being a bit messy is its charm! I absolutely love how chaotically strange "Memento Mori" is with its fiery wall of noise. Tell me, what have you all been up to since releasing the EP?
A lot of this time was spent in lockdown unfortunately, as we live in Melbourne. However I have managed to slowly remove myself from the songwriting slump that I found myself in last year and write a few new songs. Hopefully we will release them next year or so in the form of a full album. Other than that, we have been practicing and just mucking around.
It also sounds like there's a stream-of-consciousness that embarks on an emotional journey across the EP. What did the writing session look like?
Some of the songs I had written in high school, and some of them were more recent. However it did take a while to release them because we didn't record them for a bit due to poor time management. I find myself writing a lot of songs in narrative form, where I am singing about a character that isn't me. I guess I share traits with these characters and the lyrics are riddled with my inner feelings, but I also just really enjoy being dramatic and intense.
What do you hope listeners take away from the storytelling and music on the EP?
I'm not too sure what listeners should take away from our music; I guess I want them to enjoy the stories I make up and maybe feel the emotions that we convey? It is really up to them!
With Melbourne opening back up, you're finally launching your EP's release show on December 9 at The Gaso! What are you most excited about finally being able to play these songs live and what can audiences expect?
I can't believe how many times this show has been postponed, so we are super excited to finally go ahead with it! This is the first gig we are playing as a four piece, and I will be whipping out the sax for a few songs for the first time live! I think it's just going to be fun to hang out with all of our mates and finally celebrate the release properly.
Stomach Bug is out now. Stream the new EP below and click here
to purchase tickets to the EP Launch.