With one album under their belts, premiered to the world with an epic local launch gig, Pretty Babs’s reputation and status in their native Nottinghamshire is rapidly rising. In less than a year, they’ve played a number of venues in Warsop, recorded and released an album, and they’ll be rehearsing for summer performances alongside working full-time jobs. I spoke up with Sam from the group, to talk more about Graffiti Lights.
Photo has been taken from the Pretty Babs Facebook page.
Q: Pretty Babs is still relatively new – your Facebook page states that you’ve been active since 2016 – how have you found the first few months of band life?
It’s been brilliant! We gelled really well and very quickly, and it was just a natural process in terms of songwriting; probably why we’ve got an album worth of material already!
Q: Why did you all want to be in a band?
Well, Liam (bass) and I were in a side project which was my solo backing band, and we’ve all been in various bands around the area. We knew each other really well at this point and it just seemed logical to join forces and develop a new band when the time was right.
Q: Is there a competitive and thriving music scene in the Warsop/Mansfield area, which is where you are based?
No, I don’t think it’s competitive. That is, I don’t believe in bands being competitive. It defeats the purpose of being on a scene. It’s very united and consists of a diverse melting pot of bands and singers, all of which are willing to play for each other at gigs and help each other out. It’s definitely thriving though.
Q: You describe your sound as ‘hairy rock’ – is that a combination of several genres, or your own unique take on rock?
I think it’s just a mix of rock styles. A bit punk, a bit indie, but I guess the key thing is it’s quite in-your-face and raw, which is something I’ve always wanted to try.
Q: You have just released your album Graffiti Lights – what was your favourite part of recording the album?
I think being in the studio with the lads and having a few beers with Phil (producer) and recording tunes we’re proud of was exactly what we wanted. I don’t particularly like recording; I find it a bit tedious and too much of a serious thing and the fun can be sucked out of it sometimes. But we enjoyed every minute.
Q: During the recording process you worked with producer Phil Taylor – what was that like?
He’s mint. It’s important to have a producer who actually gets the songs and the style of the music, and who genuinely wants the tracks sounding right. He’s a good lad and a lot of help.
Q: Which track off the album are you most excited for people to hear?
I like ‘Don’t Step on the Moor’ because the production is fantastic and I think it’s an exciting track. We finish off the set with it at every gig and it feels like a genuine (and literal) show-stopper. I know Liam’s favourite is ‘Up From The Floorboards’ and Brad and Craig are fans of ‘Buttons & Pennies’ as well.
Q: After the album release, do you hope to tour your record around some of the UK?
Absolutely. It’s just finding the time. We all work full time and it’s difficult to arrange something substantial or too time-consuming. I think I speak for the rest of the band though when I say we’re buzzing for the festival season, seeing as it’s our first as a band.
Q: You have launched your album at The Black Market in Warsop, and you’ve performed shows there previously – what significance does the venue have to you?
Brad’s dad is the landlord, but it all means something different to all of us. It’s the first venue I ever gigged at, so it holds a special place to me for that reason. Most of us play for the darts and dominoes teams as well; that’s a bond for life.
Q: When you are not recording, and practicing in the band, what do each of you get up to?
We’re all partial to a tipple and the festival scene. We’re all part-time lion-tamers and space cowboys as well. Nah I’m kidding. We’re all pretty normal and ‘local’. It’s the little things in life.
Q: Music and politics are said to go hand in hand; are you happy with the rise in young voters and the overall verdict of the election, and will it impact on the future music you write?
I think it’s important that young people have gone out and stood up for what they believe in in the hope of social change. It’s been a bad year politically; Trump, Brexit, it feels a little bit like the western world is going backward with their values and it’s all getting a bit medieval. But it was good to see Labour’s manifesto promoting positive social change and unity amongst the people, rather than reverting to marginalisation and small-minded stereotyping brought on by fear. For the many, not the few, to quote a certain white knight. Of course, this is one man’s opinion. I’ve started writing rather than ranting, it’s just a better stress relief.
Graffiti Lights is available on Spotify now – it’s impressive a band who only set up in 2016 have already made a cracking ten-track long album, and you can listen to the debut here.