Last year, the Butcher Babies released their third album, Lilith. One of the hardest working bands in the business, the group have been pounding the pavement recently in support of their latest offering with shows throughout Japan, Europe and an imminent US tour in the pipeline.

National Rock Review recently caught up with the Butcher Babies whilst in the UK at the Riverside Newcastle to talk about their new album Lilith, life on the road and the band’s plans for 2018.

NRR: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us we really appreciate it. So you are currently out on the road across the UK, how have the shows been going so far?
Heidi: They’ve been going great. We were afraid the UK had forgotten about us, it’s been a couple of years, but our fans have been coming out in full force and we are really excited to be back here.
NRR: Obviously you’ve just released your third studio album Lilith in November. Listening to the three records together it sounds like musically you’ve continued to evolve. I just wondered was that your intention to not to create the same record over and over again.
Carla: I think that just happens naturally when you are musicians and you are growing together over the course of eight or nine years. Heidi and I have been playing together for nearly a decade, so you know obviously the way that we write has changed, everything has changed if not there is something wrong with what you are doing. So you always want to get better with each album, but also with this album, we explored some sides of ourselves that we hadn’t on previous albums. We explored a more poppy sound for some of the songs that we’ve always been a fan of, so it is different.
Heidi: I think for us too you know we’ve always been so diverse on every album, we will have some softer stuff and the heavier stuff. Luckily our fan base is really cool about us experimenting with every album; growing, experimenting, everything. We started out early on doing that kind of on purpose.
I feel like when a band decides I’m only going to be this certain type of metal, I’m going to put myself in this sub-genre and this is the kind of music I’m going to forever make you pigeon hole yourself into only doing that and so I’m proud of us at the very beginning kind of deciding we are just going to be a metal band because that leaves the door wide open to whatever we want to do.
You know we feel so comfortable in our own skin nowadays; we are going to go and make what we want to make. If we are feeling like writing a pop chorus one day like we did with “Headspin” we are going to write a pop chorus and it ended up being really cool, you got to hear us harmonising in ways that we’ve never done before, so it’s really cool.
NRR: I understand the title track “Lilith” was influenced by Lady Bathory. I was just wondering what was it about her story that fascinated you?
Carla: I mean what’s not fascinating about a woman bathing in the blood of young virgins to retain her youth (laughing). It’s a classic tale – it’s interesting to think that as obsessed as women are nowadays with anti-ageing and remaining youthful and beautiful forever they were doing the same thing hundreds of years ago. It’s kind of a fascinating theme that keeps repeating itself. Usually, when you think of people who do these heinous crimes to other people you think of men not women who do these things and this is a serial killer.
Heidi: One of the most prolific.
Carla: So that in itself is interesting that a woman did these types of things.
Heidi: We created the story a little bit different than the classic tale though because we also mixed in the tale of the Queen of Hearts. We kind of wanted to do that more so and creating our own villain with it.
With the music video, we definitely stuck with the Lady Bathory story because it was pretty cool except we kind of changed it up a little bit and had her psychotic lover go out and kill the girls for her. So it was like we added our own little story to it.
It was kind of fun for us diving into these stories and reading about the mythology between the Queen of Hearts and then story between Lady Bathory and even a little bit of influence from the Queen from Game of Thrones, such as her evil ways and the way that mindset is about her kingdom. I think that it was really fun for us to do that.
NRR: It also feels that a lot of your material comes from a very personal place. Do you find songwriting to be therapeutic at all?
Carla: It’s always been a form of therapy for us. I don’t think we intended it to be that way in the beginning, but the more we wrote honestly and openly the more cathartic it became for us. I think especially then when you get to the point of playing it live in front of people every night, the songs that you put so much of your own self into, it becomes just an incredible experience. To see people responding to the words you’ve written that are so personal is an even more cathartic experience and it becomes an energy exchange between crowd and band that is unlike anything we’ve experienced ever.
Heidi: They always say that turning that negative into a positive is the best thing that you can ever do. On our last album Take It Like A Man there was one song “Dead Man Walking”, on that one and we probably spoke about it before but, the things that we would do as kids and we decided to kind of suppress those emotions and those memories, but writing about it was the best thing that both of us could have done for ourselves. Getting up there and putting out that emotion on stage every night it’s relieving (laughing), you know I don’t have to go and see a psychiatrist anymore – I’m kidding.

NRR: We mentioned briefly about “Headspin” there, I mean that song takes the record in a slightly different direction. The video is obviously quite sensual you’ve got Jessica Rhodes on there and Zander Corvus. Can you tell us a little bit about that song and the inspiration behind it?
Heidi: From the beginning of our career we decided that we weren’t going to write about anything sexual. I feel like it was kind of a go-to for females in the industry for a very long time and they were expected to write about that kind of stuff because it’s like this is what you are supposed to write about and I think people expected that from us. We’ve always been over sexualised anyways.
When we started out with the nipple tape thing it was never about sex or anything, it was an ode to Wendy O. Williams, which is the complete opposite – just you know very punk and in your face and don’t tell me what to do and don’t tell me who to be, I’ll dress how I want, I will sound how I want and blah blah blah. So it definitely got misconstrued in the States at least and people just thought we were trying to be sexy and it was far beyond the point. So we decided to not do anything to kind of fuel that at all, no sexual lyrics, nothing.
All of our music videos were geared towards creepy more so than sexual until this. We decided that after all of those years of telling ourselves and holding that we are not going to do this because that’s what they expect, we were being hypocrites in that sense as well (laughing). Because it was like wait a second we can still write about these things and be true to ourselves, we can embrace those things. I feel like in this day and age being able to embrace those things that make you a powerful female, and that’s kind of where the name Lilith came in too. Using every part of what you are to your benefit, being a woman and writing about sexual things and men do it all the time; so it’s like what’s the big deal?
We decided to kind of strip ourselves of that pigeonhole and write about the basic human instinct of passion and sexuality and we did it our way. We didn’t come out and straight out say it, I feel like sometimes they’ll come out and straight up, it will be vulgar or in your face sexual and I feel like we made it into a more story-based song than in your face. I’m really proud of it and it was fun for us and with the chorus too, pulling out that poppy chorus that was really unique.
NRR: It’s the start of a new year pretty much, what’s on the cards for 2018? Have you got the year mapped out?
Heidi: Yeah, mostly I’d say because it’s looking like we will probably back over here but we will be touring out in the States doing a headline run over there and just finishing off the year pounding the pavement with Lilith. We are going to go everywhere that we can, everywhere – we are not going to let anything hold us back.

The Butcher Babies new album Lilith is out now via Century Media Records. 

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About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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