BUTCHER BABIES: 'We've Come To The Point Where We Feel We Can Do What We Want To Do'
February 26, 2018
On February 20, Mark Holmes of Metal Discovery conducted an interview with BUTCHER BABIES frontwomen Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey before the band's concert in in Nottingham, United Kingdom. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Discovery: You've described [BUTCHER BABIES' third album, "Lilith"] as a rebirth of sorts. Has this been a natural rebirth or a planned rebirth?
Carla: "I think it's a little bit of both, in a way. I think that, naturally, after we've been a band for eight years, there's growth and that causes an evolution. If there's not, you're doing something wrong. We've all grown tremendously as musicians throughout the last eight years and we've grown tremendously in the way we write together. And the unplanned-yet-planned part was a new drummer. We didn't want to have a new member change — we've never had a member change — but life happens, so we have a wonderful new drummer, who also added a tremendous amount of growth to our sound and we couldn't be happier."
Metal Discovery: There are still a lot of grooves and thrash in the new music, but you've also diversified your sound somewhat… there's a lot more light and shade, and a much wider range of emotional expression. Did you feel more confident this time around, in how you've progressed as a band, in being able to channel so many different emotions through your creativity?
Carla: "I think that we have been a band for so long and we've grown so much, lyrically and vocally. We've kind of come to the point where we feel we can do what we want to do. We're very comfortable with that. We have a great fanbase that allows us to be comfortable with that. You know, they really let us put out what we want to put out. But I think you also have to be confident; you have to not be, like, 'Oh, what if they don't like this? What if they don't want to hear that?'"
Heidi: "The reception has been great. On our last album, we had a couple of diverse songs. 'Thrown Away' on 'Take It Like A Man' was a very soft song — all clean vocals, very emotional. And then we've got a hint more of that on this album too. And we're also diving into topics we've never written about and coming into our own as women. You know, when we started this band, eight years ago, we were… women, but younger… [Laughs] Yeah, I used to think I was a girl, and I've definitely blossomed into something a little bit more powerful and more confident and happy in my own skin. I think that it shows in the writing, and Carla as well. For us, we're diverse people, naturally. We like all sorts of different kinds of music. We're metalheads through and through. If I turn on something, it's gonna be metal, but if I'm on a long car ride… I mean, we have a wide range of things that we like. So, pulling in influences from VAN HALEN to pop to… SUICIDAL TENDENCIES to punk… you know, all sorts of different kinds of influences on this album kind of made it unique and fun."
Metal Discovery: The high level of energy and passion from a BUTCHER BABIES live performance shines through on the album, particularly in the vocals. So are there any studio rituals and routines you have to ensure you're able to channel that same level of passion when you're tracking vocals?
Carla: "It's never gonna be like performing a live show. We've tried other things. We've tried holding the mic instead of having it in front of you, but that picks up weird sounds sometimes. And I think that, over the years, I just believe that doing it time and time again, you learn how to channel it to bring it out in the studio. But it definitely is a different experience altogether than performing it live. I think that, you know, obviously, we write the lyrics and we're invested in the lyrics that both of us write. The whole band writes so, whatever instrument or using your voice, we feel invested in it when we're doing it. That helps a lot, as well."
Heidi: "One thing that I think was really cool about this album and I've mentioned before that we took a year and a half to write it, to write and record, and you can really hear how much we've practiced these songs. And every note you hear, we sing. There's no Auto-Tune, there's no pitch shifting — none of that shit. It's all drums, all real guitars, even the tambourines, shakers and everything… all real. Piano… real. Everything's real. And I think that that's how you get that live sound. Our producer that we worked with, Steve Evetts, he was so adamant about, 'I want this to sound like you. I don't want it to be perfect, but I want it to be you.' And so you hear things with attitude in 'em. I feel like so many times nowadays that producers will look for that perfect note, that perfect sound…"
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