Babeheaven Talk New LP ‘Home For Now’, Finding Inspiration in Trip-Hop, Creative Process and More (INTERVIEW)

West London duo Babeheaven is made up of lifelong friends Nancy Andersen and Jamie Travis, who bring together indie, electronic and soul. Their new album Home For Now – a title that feels all too fitting for our current moment – finds the duo paying homage to the trip-hop sounds of groups like Portishead and Massive Attack alongside 90s hip-hop and R&B, but presenting it through their own style of contemporary indie pop. The influencers are there, but the duo also manages to transcend them to create a sound that is original. Nancy Andersen takes deeply personal lyrics and brings them to life with her enchanting, soulful vocals that seem to hover gently over the sonic sparse yet sprawling soundscapes crafted by Jamie Travis, filling the space with richly layered and deeply atmospheric synths and beats to make this music all about putting you in a reflective and chilled out mood. To call this bedroom pop feels both cliche and understated. Their music is soaring, beautiful, and emotionally stirring, and in these fucked up times it hits like a salve aimed at letting you to disconnect with reality and find inner enlightenment.

Recently, Nancy Andersen and Jamie Travis took the time to discuss Home For Now, their songwriting and recording process, and finding inspiration in these dark days.

There seems to be a consistent mood throughout the album. Is there a theme or feeling that links all of these songs and lyrics together?

NANCY: There isn’t a specific theme lyrically but we tried to match all the songs up so that when it’s listened to all the way through it runs smoothly. The only real theme is that the lyrics are quite personal to me. 

Interestingly, the album includes a series of beautiful interludes that seem to separate certain batches of songs. Where did this idea come from? 

NANCY: We had a few songs that we really loved, but either they didn’t work longer or we couldn’t figure out where to take them, so we just shortened them and used them as a short little thing that are nice segues for the album. 

Do you write from an autobiographical perspective based on personal experiences?

NANCY: I do, it’s something that has always come naturally to me. On ‘How Deep (love)’ I wrote about the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurdyce’s to try and break it up a little. It’s interesting trying to write from someone else’s perspective and something I look forward to trying more of. 

Much of the music seems to have a distinct trip-hop sound. Were there any artists or albums you listened to growing up that you feel played a role in your sound on the album?

JAMIE: I listened to a lot of DJ Shadow, Portishead and hip-hop like Pete Rock and Cl Smooth and everything DJ Premier did. I was obsessed with the sounds they created, so that definitely had an influence on how the album ended up sounding. Our Producer Simon Byrt has a lot of original 90s gear so using that lent to that sound. 

Nancy, what is your background as a vocalist and how did you develop your talent as a singer?

NANCY: I’ve enjoyed singing my whole life and it’s something that I did for fun, when I was at school I was in all the choirs. I’ve also been obsessed with learning lyrics and mimicking people from a young age so I think that’s how I learnt to sing. I wanted to be able to sing the whole song back so I’d just repeat all the lines (I still have a really good memory for other people’s lyrics and sing all the time at home, it’s probably a bit annoying.)

Was this album actually recorded during lockdown, and if so, how did that work in terms of your process?

JAMIE: We had some songs before lockdown, but during lockdown we wrote a bunch of songs and finished off the older unfinished ones. The bulk of recording did happen though during that period. Well, when we were allowed to either Nancy and I would meet up and write songs at my home studio or we would go to our producer’s studio and work there. That’s our normal process really, so we didn’t feel restricted in any way. 


Nancy, you have said that during the last several months you’ve had a lot more time to think about how you want to be perceived on stage. Can you talk a little bit about how this has transpired and how you will take what you have learned to the stage when you can perform again?

NANCY: I’d like to try and be more free on stage in future and try to enjoy the process more. Stagecraft is something that I have never really understood so thinking about how I want to move on stage is really exciting and interesting. Hopefully I can find some freedom in the coming months and get back on stage soon! I’m now starting to worry that we will never be able to perform again!

One of the things that is interesting about the album is the different sounds that are used and the way they are all layered together. Can you share a little bit of the creative process and approach that you took when constructing the music?  

JAMIE: I’m really into ambience and warmth and atmosphere. So layering different sound recordings and subtle samples etc help to create that warmth and atmosphere which is so important across the album. We wanted it to feel real and like a part of everyday life at times that everyone can relate to. I would go about recording on field recorders or voice notes on my phone at different points across the year. 

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Photo credit: LUCA ANZALONE


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