A conversation with Babygirl

Pop songs with sad guitars

Labeled as promising four months ago, and discovered two years back by Going Solo, the duo formed by Kirsten ‘Kiki’ Frances and Cameron Breithaupt, aka Babygirl, have been steadily gathering fans since their debut single ‘Overbored’ and their brilliant second EP ‘Lovers Fevers’.

Their solid songwriting and charming personality, shines through the six track collection of beautifully produced love hangovers and this conversation, where we talk about country, Canada, pop, being overbored and the O.C.

Hi. Where are you now right now?

Kirsten: We’ve just... eh… finished brunch… eh…. umm…. It’s actually my birthday today, so…

No way, happy birthday!

K: Oh, thank you. We just had this amazing brunch at this spot called Saving Grace, it’s really good.

Cameron: And now we are at a bright yellow dingy laundromat, that we just ducked into from the street to chat with you…

K: Yeah. The brunch-spot was too loud, so we thought “we’ve gotta get out of here”…

… but you are in Toronto, right?

C & K: Yeah!

I was wondering just before the call. Have you ever been to Europe?

K: noooo…. well, I mean, I’ve been… yeah, I have been. I said, no… I kind of forgot that I had been. You haven’t been to Europe?

C: No. We haven’t been as an act. Kiki has, as an individual.

K: Yeah, I went for a friend’s wedding, but I haven’t been there in any musical context. I hope to soon, that would be great.

C: Yeah.

Do you like talking about your own music? Analysing what you’ve created?

C: Gladly. We spend a lot of time picking our own music, and the music we like, apart.

When you mention the music you like, any artists in particular?

K: Yeah. We are big Kacey Musgraves fans. We think she’s just a brilliant songwriter, just country in general. We’ve been digging a lot into a lot of older country stuff. There’s so much good lyrical content, such a great songcraft, you know? We’ve been digging into a lot of 60s country…

C: Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard, that kind of thing.

Ok. That’s interesting. Is that ironic? Are you being serious?

C: Yeah! Totally serious.

K: You know, country is one of those genres where it feels like you get some of the best and some of the worst, and I think that is true with any genre really, but…

Is that musically and lyrically?

K: Totally. I mean, we are big fans of lots of organic instrumentation, so…

C: It’s one of the few spheres in popular music right now where the live band arrangements still lives and breaths.

So, if you were to record an album, would you like to record it in Nashville, for example?

K: Phew, that’ll be fun, yeah... Ha ha ha.

C: Yeah. We are easy! If someone wants to fund the record, we’ll go wherever and with whoever it makes sense.

Because at the moment you are releasing independently…

K: Yeah, right now we are completely independent.

I think that is a great position to be in.

K: Yeah. It has its pros and its cons for sure, ha ha.

C: Yeah, like waiting tables, really… laughs.

What do you mean? Because you are not making enough money…

K: Yeah! Exactly! We are still working at restaurants right now, so we are excited to move into the next phase where is just full-time music.

Fantastic. Because I think the tracks that are online are very strong, both lyrically and musically.

K: Oh! Thank you so much!

Maybe the country influence is working… Is there kind of a third member? Miles, who play drums in a couple of tracks and co-writes as well?

C: Yeah. That’s my big brother. He produces on some of it, he co-writes on some of it, he drums on some of the tracks.

K: He kind of floats in and out in a couple of different roles, I guess.

C: Yeah, he is like the chameleon that… the puzzle piece that fits in whatever hole we need him to, kind of thing. Yeah, he works a lot of magic for us.

I guess in terms of sound you don’t need to fall in the trap of using electronic drums, I suppose.

K: That’s an interesting thing for us. We kind of like to incorporate both. We definitely lean heavier on drums, but we do like to incorporate electronic drums for time to time. We’re starting to drift a little bit more on that direction.

C: Like for example ‘Soft’, the second single of our EP, is entirely electronic drums. Which I think that’s the first time we do a track fully with electronic drums, and we are still trying to find the boundaries of where it’s appropriate and where’s too far outside the Babygirl thing.

You’ve also worked with Father Moth on this one…

C: Yeah! That is Miles.

Oh! Really?

K: Yeah, that’s his producer name.

C: He also co-produced in ‘Over in no time’, the first single, and ‘Ravens’ and co-produced and did a little co-composition on ‘I wish I never met you’.

K: Cam and I are like the predominant writers and producers, but Miles yeah, definitely gets involved. It’s a nice to have a fresh set of ears and fresh perspective. We really value that. So, he brings that to the table.

C: It’s like Billy Preston and The Beatles, you know. He wasn’t on the album cover, but he was there.

Ha ha… another curiosity I have. How did you two meet?

K: We both went to school for music. So, we met in college and bonded over pop music and then it kind of grew from there.

When you say pop music, which kind of artists were you listening to?

K: Well, I say pop music because we were in a jazz program, so a lot of the people around us were kind of working in different genres, we just kind of found kindred spirits in one another, because we both love pop music. You know, anything from Teenage Dream to like Blink 182, like… laughs.

The jazz thing is interesting, because it’s quite trendy in the UK at the moment. Maybe you need to record the album between Nashville and Peckham…

Laughs. K: You know what, as long as it is a good piece of music really, the genre just kind of falls away for us. We just want to make something that feels honest and it feels like it has an interesting perspective.

Perhaps describing music by genres nowadays is not such a good idea.

K: Yeah! Sometimes it feels like you can get lost in trying to clarify exactly what kind of music you make. I mean, we kind of go back and forwards between saying we are dream-pop, and we are rock, and we are… we just kind of have given up on solidifying what we are, and we just write songs that we like.

C: It’s interesting with genres because it’s a useful commercial designation, it helps you to find your audience, and it helps people know what frame of reference to use to interpret your music. So that’s something that I like about it, it prepares people’s expectations for what they are about to hear and maybe they will be more receptive if they know what they are getting.

How important it is today for an independent artist like yourself to market music?

K: It feels like everything is changing pretty rapidly. There’s a lot of pressure to have, for example, a great Instagram presence, and I kind of have a hard time prioritising those things. For me I rather it takes longer, and it still be focusing on the music. I rather be sitting there with the guitar focusing on making the second verse great.

C: You don’t want people coming to your music because you have a killer Instagram all the time. It’s great if that happens, and if you see our Instagram obviously there’s a little effort put into it, but ideally what happens is that people come to your Instagram because you have great music that has made an emotional connection with them.

Yeah, I see what you mean. For example, I don’t know how you look like because on purpose, I haven’t watched any videos...

K: Oh, that’s cool!

… I thought we should be on the same level, you know what I mean.

Laughs C: That’s very considerate. Laughs.

So, we’ve gone through the drums, let’s talk basslines. ‘Overbored’ has an amazing bassline, so cool.

K: Ha ha… thanks. Yeah, that’s all Cam, he writes all he basslines. Sometimes we also co-write the guitar parts, but in most cases it’s Cam.

Anything to add, Cam?

C: I mean…

*Doorbell rings*

Sorry to interrupt. I have to open the door to my friend… apologies. Hey Maia, how are you? You alright? What’s your relationship with Canada?... Cameron, Kirsten, this is my friend Maia.

Maia: Hello!

K: Hellooo!!!

M: I was born there. I have a Canadian passport.

K & C: Wooooooo!!!!

M: I used to practise with the national basketball team, and my godmother still lives there, and I’m going to visit soon, and… I don’t know, I love maple syrup?

[Laughs]

M: I just want to see my godmother who is turning ninety-five.

K: Wow

M: and I adore her…

K: That’s amazing.

C: That’s beautiful.

M: Isn’t it? And she lives in Boswell avenue, which is the first address I ever remember.

Let me put you up to speed. I’m talking to Kirsten and Cameron who live in Toronto and make music.

M: Oh! Good! Anyone that is pursuing a creative life in this world deserves a medal.

K: Awwww…

Speaking of Canada. Lately it’s featured quite heavily in the news because of the legalisation of cannabis.

K: Oh, yeah.

M: That put Canada on the map, right?

[Laughs]

K: We are very happy about that.

M: Some country at least, is forward thinking and liberal and progressive… we may all be emigrating back to Canada if this Brexit nonsense goes any further, I’ll be dusting off that passport.

I lost my train of thought now, of course…

K: That’s ok.

M: I’m quite stunningly beautiful, he didn’t mention that…

[Laughs]

K: Ah!… got it.

Oh, yeah. On ‘Overbored’ there’s that lyric about the universe… how does it go?

K: ‘On the scale of the universe, I am pretty fucking small. So if I sleep in ‘til 3pm it doesn’t matter at all’

And it continues…

K: Surrounded by people who are hoping for more?

Yes! That’s it. When you say, ‘hoping for more’, what do you mean? In terms of money, romance, attention?

K: All of that!

C: Yes. All of the above.

K: You know, we have a tendency to constantly want more and constantly compare ourselves...

C: We are also conditioned from a very early age to expect that our lives are going to be greatly meaningful or impactful in the world at large, and obviously the majority can’t be exceptional. So, I think everyone grows-up and realises, that’s not quite how it’s going to pan-out in whatever category romance, money, notoriety.

I was typing ‘Overbored’ in Google before, and the top result is this drama-comedy film ‘Overboard’, but then there is an entry from the urban dictionary that says ‘Overbored: Being terminally bored with your own humble life and times’

C: Ha!

It continues, ‘Usually results in the sufferer joining a subculture such as Emo or Goth and or writing bland poetry’

Laughs C: That’s amazing. [Laughs]

You could not make this up. I think we should find a way to embed your video on that entry.

K: Totally! Ha ha.

Are they any European festivals you would like to play, let’s say, next summer?

K: Hey, all of them!

C: The biggest one! The biggest stage in the biggest one.

K: Ha ha

C: Let’s headline Glastonbury!

K: Let’s put it out there to the universe.

Do you regularly play live in Toronto?

K: We play here and there. We just like to be in the studio as much as possible, but now that this latest project is done, we’re gonna play some shows.

Do you also have an interest in films?

K: I mean, we would love to have our music in films, that would be great! Ha ha.

But don’t you have your music on a film, already? Hold on a sec, aren’t you the ones that keep talking about Dawson’s Creek?

C: Oh! The O.C.?

That’s it! There you are, The O.C., sorry.

K: We have a particular fascination with that show because I grew-up watching it, it’s a kind of a nostalgic thing for me, but also, we just think the music curation and the music supervision on that show was just so phenomenal. It broke so many artists and so many great songs, really informed what I was listening to quite a bit. We kind of like to have it as a little rule, that we will hope our music will fit into that soundtrack.

I won’t take more of your time, ‘cause you should be celebrating and you are stuck in a laundrette, but thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Happy birthday!!!

Find Babygirl on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Nothing playing