Interview: Babe Simpson

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There is no group out there quite like Barf Troop and there is no artist quite like Babe Simpson, either! I for one am continually inspired by the art they put into the world. The Young Blood ep was just the beginning for Babe Simpson and Babe and the Troop have a lot more in store for their fans and fans to be. Thank you to Babe Simpson for these thoughtful and generous answers and for being such a lovely person to talk to! 

AQ: This has been a year of new projects for you. Firstly you released your debut ep Young Blood earlier in the year which I have had on repeat since it came out and now you have launched a new weekly series of DJ mixes called “How Do You Say?”. It’s amazing! I love the range of music you play. What are some of your main inspirations?

BS: Inspiration music-wise comes from emotion, I’d say. I’m definitely inspired by every and any sound I hear that comes from a natural place of expression. The innate need for connection is something everyone feels and I appreciate whenever it’s done earnestly in song. Whether it’s with or without lyrics, I’m inspired by the ability of certain songs to pull people from all walks of life onto the same page. There’s so much unity made through music that I can’t help but gravitate to whatever’s trying to tell us something and makes me feel less alone.

AQ: You produced Young Blood in its entirety. Was this an easy decision to make? That is so inspiring for people like me who would love to try their hand at d.i.y. musical projects.

BS: It was a decision that was easy to make but it was one that was made out of necessity. I’ve always known I wanted to be a producer, from making and supervising stuff not just for myself but for other people as well, but I’ve never had anyone to teach me where to start. It’s super frustrating of course because I went so long without making anything because I was constantly searching for my sound within someone else’s they created and the stuff I had access to was never anything made with me in mind and I refused to bend. I knew I couldn’t just go on helplessly until I found a perfect match with another producer, so I decided then I would start then making music for myself, and it’s the best I’ve ever done. There’s nothing but freedom in controlling exactly how you want everything to be and working on your own terms. It’s such a relief. It’s so empowering. I have my best interests in mind, I know I can make any alterations I want, there isn’t a single idea that’s too avant garde to try to explain to anyone else, because I know what I have in mind, I taught myself how to make it, and it shows. It’s wonderful that it’s something that can be inspiring for anyone else, I encourage anyone who has ever thought about producing but hasn’t taken the step yet to just dive in! There’s nothing to lose, you have to start somewhere, and you’ll learn so much about yourself in the process. It’s extremely intimate and eye-opening!

AQ: How do you know what form a piece will take as you produce raps, instrumentals and other songs. Journalists love to put labels on things but I think it’s so nice not to have to.

BS: Everyone starts out with an idea but it’s hard to say you think you know especially when you don’t, and I honestly don’t think you know what the end result of something will be until it’s complete. There are so many factors that will influence the direction of work, random new ideas, a dramatic change in your life creating a change in your mood, running it past other people especially if it’s a collaborative effort. There’s nothing at all wrong with not being exact because that’s natural. Creating is a process, and you grow and learn throughout and it’s only right for whatever you’re making to reflect that. You could have a loose idea for a song that goes one way and then you find out how to perfectly execute it so then that frees whatever idea you were compromising because you just haven’t put your finger on it just yet before. I usually work on quite a handful of things at once and sometimes I move parts of them into each other and sometimes work just end up completely blending into one bigger project, which is amazing, that was the way it was intended to be all along, I just didn’t know it until then. That’s the real beauty of being able to make something, the mystery surrounding it.

AQ: I know you have new solo music in the works and are also recording more music with Barf Troop (who I am also such a fan of). Is the process very different when you are working alone and working with the group? From your previous interviews, I know both mean a lot to you.

BS: The process is identical. As secretive as I can be, there’s nothing I’m afraid of sharing that I’m working on by myself and I share steps along the way with the Troop. For group stuff we all riff off each other, which is great because if we find a different rhythm in one another, we can immediately get/offer feedback and build super tracks!

AQ: Living in New Zealand – it’s hard for me to contemplate what living in the USA at the moment must be like. I keep myself informed as much as I can. You and Barf Troop are inspiring for both your music and the way you speak out about so many important issues in the music, in interviews, through your social media channels etc. It’s powerful. What can fans look forward to from you and Barf Troop? I know you have already hinted at a few different things?

BS: Expect the unexpected! Barf Troop is at an extremely interesting and pivotal time in our development personally and as artists, which goes hand in hand. It will most definitely show. Our new work has a much more mature sound that we’ve developed from just growing and learning naturally so it’s taking a bit of time to make. Barf Troop was founded with the value of being true to yourself above any other so everything is much more hands on, complicated, natural- us. It’s important to reflect the times and reflect how you feel without holding back, which is at the forefront of everything we’re working on. Expect new music, expect new ways to connect, expect new ways to get involved! Everyone who has ever supported Barf Troop is our BTB family and we want to be closer than ever.

Check out Babe Simpson and Barf Troop.

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