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Artist Spotlight - Baby Shakes

(Photo Credit - Nate Frohnhoefer)

We had the opportunity to catch up with rock n' roll punk band Baby Shakes! The band hails from New York City and bring melodic rhythms to their songs and catch vocals. You'll be sure to dig them. Their most recent release, 'Cause a Scene' dropped September 20 so check that out! Also while you're at it, see what they had to say in our interview!

1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?

Claudia: My uncle bought me a Sex Pistols and a Ramones CD in grade school. After that I was hooked. I ditched my ballet slippers and begged my mom to buy me a guitar. Going to shows at CBGBs and seeing bands like Vice Squad and seeing kids my age playing in local support bands made me want to start a band even more. I jammed out and made loud annoying noise with a bunch of friends in high school on different instruments and even tried singing but got serious about playing bass with Baby Shakes.

Judy: I started by jamming on UK ‘82 punk songs in my room in Brooklyn (this was around 2004) and a roommate/mutual friend who heard me playing connected me with Claudia, who wanted to start a band (which later came to be Baby Shakes)!

Mary: When I was in 5th grade, my two older brothers were in a band which inspired me to play music. I would go to their shows and thought it was so cool to see them play on stage. One of my brothers ended up giving me an old beat up guitar, taught me a few chords and I never stopped playing music since!

Ryan: My dad used to go to Max’s Kansas City and CB’s, so I grew up listening to Ramones, etc. The first song I learned how to play is No Time by The Guess Who. I always wanted to play drums because it seemed fun, all kids want to play drums . My first teacher was this drunk guy who lived on our block with a huge fro, my dad used to make him dinner to teach me. He was a total psychopath, and used to pass out in the middle of my lessons. I pretty much went my own way from there.

2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?

One of us will bring an idea, melody or riff to the band and then we build on it together until we’re all happy with it.

3. What artists have inspired you in your career?

There are so many musicians/bands that have inspired us...The Undertones, The Boys, The Clash, Chuck Berry, Tom Petty and of course the Ramones! But it doesn’t stop there... there’s too many to mention!

4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?

Yes! We love Rickenbackers and Telecasters! Judy and Claudia both have Fender amps and Mary has a Vox. Ryan uses a 60s Roy Rogers drum kit. We’ve had our instruments pretty much since the start of our band. Claudia got her Rickenbacker bass from a friend who was selling it. Mary and Judy bought their guitars from 30th street guitars in NY ages ago.

5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?

The vibe of our shows are usually fun. People tend to say they haven’t seen a band smile so much when playing live haha.

6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?

We hope you enjoy it as much as we love making and playing it!

7. Can you tell me about the writing, recording, and promotion process for your new record “Cause A Scene”?

Writing songs usually start off with a melody, riff or idea for a song that’s brought to the band, then we all jam on, try different things until we all find something that we love and we think sounds great. If we end up liking the sound of the song, we’ll get into the details by layering in guitar leads, more intricate bass lines and what the drums should sound like. We practice the song until it sounds right. Process for the lyrics are always different. Usually the chorus will pop up while we’re figuring out the music. Most of the time the lyrics are finalized at the end.

For recording we start out with recording drums, bass and rhythm guitar live. Then we layer on lead guitar, lead and backing vocals. After that, we sprinkle in the extras…percussion and all the other stuff. Mixing is a different beast. Since we produce our own music, we drive ourselves crazy listening to the songs over and over until we think we’ve got the right idea of how the levels and layers should sound. This time the only difference was we tried out a couple of new guitars, added a lot of different percussion (we even used an empty tequila bottle on one song) and played around with synth and moog.

The promotion process has been different for every release we’ve had. Since we have our own label, Lil’ Chewy Records, and we self-release most of our records, at the beginning we had no idea how to effectively promote it. We just did the best we could by sending out records to radio stations, magazines, and people who might be able to help us. With Cause a Scene we understood the process a little better and started the promotion process much earlier which helped us build more momentum when the album was released.

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