Last year, the Butcher Babies released their sophomore album, Take It Like A Man, and are touring it across Europe.

One of the hardest-working bands in the business, the Butcher Babies’ packed tour schedule most recently took them across the US with Cradle of Filth. The band is currently on tour across Europe in support of their latest offering. National Rock Review recently caught up with Heidi and Carla whilst in Newcastle on their headline UK tour to talk about their new album, life on the road, and their plans for the rest of 2016.


NRR: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us here at National Rock Review, we really appreciate it.
Carla: No problem.
Heidi: Absolutely, thank you.
NRR: So you are on tour in the UK. The last time you were here in Newcastle I believe was with The Defiled, a couple of years back.
Heidi: Yeah, I think it was at the O2, I walked by it today. I was like I think that’s where we played here.
NRR: You’ve been on tour for about a week or so now. How have the shows been going so far?
Carla: Awesome. Manchester was amazing last night, the kids were going nuts but all of the shows have been really cool. You know we never know how we are gonna do over here, but we’ve played some festivals over here and we’ve been here a couple of times now and the kids have been really turning out and it’s been a lot of fun.
Heidi: It’s really incredible to look out and see you know people from you know a whole different country looking out and feeling the emotion of the songs and everything. I’m excited to even jump into Europe coming up here in a couple of days, people don’t even speak our language. You know we were in Wales and I felt, same language but the accents are very difficult to understand sometimes and so I was thinking then maybe they don’t understand me (laughing). So it’s just been so much fun and such an adventure. We’ve been doing so many different things in different cities, I kind of don’t want to leave (laughing).
NRR: Obviously it’s your birthday today. Are you looking forward to celebrating in Newcastle tonight?
Heidi: Oh yeah, yes yes yes. We started last night, we went to a dance club and tonight.
Carla: We all got a little too drunk last night.
NRR: You’ve been throwing after parties after the shows as well. I was wondering what’s your most essential item on your rider to get the party started?
Carla: Jagermeister, probably (laughing).
Heidi: I think that that’s definitely it. I think Jager is the main thing, of course, to get the party started. You know our after parties are a lot of fun. Our fans and our friends can come along and play games, they get a really cool t-shirt, exclusive t-shirt, exclusive poster, everything and we play games to win free merch. It’s a lot of fun, we always have a good time with it and we don’t really like the basic meet and greets where you just walk through and shake hands it’s just very impersonal and so this for us gives us a chance to really interact with them on a personal level.
NRR: Carla, I read that you have been having voice problems on this tour?
Carla: I was sick when I got here, just the change in climate, I have a lot of allergies, dry air really affects my voice, you know flying on a plane for that many hours and then being in a completely different climate. Then the first night you know some of these small clubs it’s very hard to hear yourself, so if you blow out your voice a little bit the first night you are doomed for a few days, but I feel great now I was fine last night in Manchester it was the first I could really use my voice again.
Heidi: She’s a pro (laughing), she knows how to get it back really fast.
Carla: That’s why I’ve been drinking tea all day. So you know it happens.
NRR: With touring so much and you are on the road constantly. How do you prevent blowing out your voice because obviously you are putting a lot of strain on it all of the time?
Carla: It’s hard you know the thing is we each have different things that we have to do, you have to know your own body. I know that when I’m in certain climates like Arizona, New Mexico in the States my voice is going to get trashed because of the air. So I make sure that I sleep and I make sure that I drink lots of tea, a personal humidifier, different things you can do but it’s still hard sometimes you are just gonna you know lose your voice. But for the most part, we’ve done so well touring over the last few years.
Heidi: I sleep, if i get enough sleep my voice will be fine. You know coming over here for the first couple of days it was really hard because of the jet lag and everything and not sleeping on a regular schedule and that is very hard on your voice, at the same time it’s just a muscle that you work out. Like your not going to go out and run a marathon without training.
We practice a lot, we warm up a lot even if there aren’t shows to do I will scream in my car whilst I’m driving along and just things to help keep that up even when we are not touring. Like how Carla was able to bounce back so quickly, that in itself is training your voice to be what it needs to.
NRR: Obviously being in the UK, I was just wondering who are your favourite British metal bands?
Carla: Gosh, I mean I’m gonna say the standard, I loved Iron Maiden when I was a kid, I just saw them play in New York City for the first time, I love Iron Maiden so much now, I don’t have a lot of friends who like Iron Maiden so I’ve never had an opportunity to go, but I went and they always put on an incredible show. I’m a huge fan of you know British punk rock as well, so many great bands from over here.
Heidi: I’m gonna go with Cradle of Filth. We just toured with them and they’re so much fun, just such cool people, their stage show is incredible, most of all I really just like them as people.
NRR: You released your new album last year. Could you tell us a little bit about the record and the inspiration behind it?
Heidi: This album was for us really exciting and fun to write but also very heart wrenching if you will. We both dug into memories and emotions that we kind of decided years and years back that we would never touch again. We decided to jump back in and write about those emotions and really overcome them through art.
Another thing we really wanted to do was make a heavier album than Goliath we wanted more live songs, it seemed like with Goliath, the first album we were able to really get out there and expand our horizons with it but one thing we kind of steered away from was our initial thrashier roots, we started as a very thrashy band and so we wanted to go back to that for the album Take It Like A Man.
NRR: What’s your favourite track off the album to perform live and why?
Carla: My favourite is “The Butcher” I just love the energy of that song, I love the riffs in it, I like the contrast between Heidi’s high screams and my low screams on that particular song I just think it’s a really unique song and really fun to do.
Heidi: I would say “Thrown Away.”
NRR: So Heidi you grew up in Mormon family, what was it like being a metal fan in a Mormon family and what was your introduction to metal music?
Heidi: Well, I wasn’t allowed to listen to it, or have anything to do with it so I had these friends who hung out at the skate park, just friends from school and they were the metal kids. They were the kids that were really nice to me and really cool and you know didn’t really care what I looked like. I was so goofy looking growing up and just I had a lot of friends in different areas, but it was more of like a fake friend like we went to the same church, like that type of thing.
The metal kids were just really cool so I would tell my parents that I was going for a jog, because I grew up an athlete, I was a track and field athlete, so I was like oh I’m just going to get my daily run in and I would run to the skate park and hang out with the kids and that is where I was introduced to metal and just the second that I heard this music it changed my life. Because beforehand I would listen to what my parents listened to, you know The Osmonds and Styx, you know those kind of bands and it was there that I borrowed a Korn cd from my friend and my mom found it in my closet because I had it there and she broke it in front of my face.
She admits it now, she’s like it’s so funny that I did that and now she plays with Korn sometimes (laughing). She thinks it’s funny, they are so incredibly supportive now you know that they’ve been introduced to the metal world they understand it, but still a lot of Mormon people they don’t, they look at me like I’m some sort of satanist or something. I’m like whatever, I couldn’t care less what people think (laughing).
NRR: Carla I read somewhere that you were really influenced by Axl Rose, is that right?
Carla: Well when I was a kid, I wouldn’t say that my vocals are influenced by Axl Rose at all, but I think just I became a fan of rock and roll because of Guns N’ Roses, that was the first band I was fascinated by. I was fascinated by the way they looked and the way they sounded, they epitomised rock and roll at that time and just everything about them. So you know as Heidi said there’s a point in time when you switch from listening to what your parents listen to or what’s just on pop radio to seeing an image of a band and really kind of wanting to explore it and then falling in love with it and that was Guns N’ Roses for me. You know I had a big crush on Axl Rose like everyone else did, I told my mom that I was gonna move to LA and marry Axl Rose, run away.
Heidi: She still might (laughing).
Carla: Another big thing for me was that I’m bi-racial and I grew up in Detroit in a kind of racially divided neighbourhood, where you weren’t really free to like rock and roll if you were a bi-racial kid or a black kid they made fun of you relentlessly, but seeing Slash and seeing him play lead guitar in this rock and roll band. I was like wow these people are wrong, it’s perfectly fine for me to like rock and roll and want to do that and so it was a huge influence on my life.
NRR: I don’t know if you’ve seen the news today but Axl has been announced as the lead singer of AC/DC. I was just wondering what you thought about that?
Carla: You know I think he will do a great job, I really do. I think he’s got the right tone in his voice to do it …. Axl is a passionate AC/DC fan and he’s a huge star, so you can’t just have anybody come in and finish those AC/DC shows, so I think it’s a great fit, I think he’ll pull it off just great and I mean it’s a chance to see a legend sing for another set of legends.
NRR: I was wondering which one album could you not live without?
Carla: That’s a really hard question because I like so many different kinds of music, but I think that I’d say “Los Angeles” by X is probably one of my favourite albums of all time and throughout the years it’s just one that I go back to continuously.
Heidi: I would probably go with “Iowa” from Slipknot. I just think that the raw aggression in it’s just energizing and I mean it’s just hard to say depending on mood but I really think that that is one if I had to pick one that I could only listen to for the rest of my life I could live with that (laughing).
NRR: Carla, I know that when you are not performing you also do a lot of sketches and you’ve also just put out a third book is that right?
Carla: Oh I do like sketchbooks, I have one novel out and then three sketchbooks. You know it’s a great way for me to make extra money when I’m on the road but I also have always loved art. When I was a kid all I cared about was comic books, art and you know heavy metal. So you know now when I’m on my tour bus I get to sketch and draw and it’s pretty awesome that I get to have all those things in my life still that I loved when I was eleven years old.
NRR: Where do you find the inspiration for your artwork?
Carla: Just different things, a lot of it is either sex or death related I think (laughing). Just because I think everything in my life is kind of related to that kind of stuff you know I was an embalmer for years, so I always liked drawing very dark images, skulls and stuff like that but it’s been nice walking around these cities and it’s very inspiring to look around at all the beautiful architecture and just get inspired to create. I’m not necessarily gonna go and draw a building but you are inspired to create by just the atmosphere of being in the UK and seeing all the old beautiful stuff here.
NRR: Have you had a good look around in Newcastle today?
Heidi: This morning I woke up and went with Henry our guitar player and Skye from Sumo Cyco and Matt from Sumo Cyco and we went to the castle and we saw all the grounds and everything and then we went and had a Full English Breakfast. It was beautiful I loved walking around this morning. It’s been a really good day so far, I’m excited for tonight.
NRR: What else do you have in store for the rest of this year?
Carla: We have another tour as soon as we get home, Lacuna Coil is part of it and then we are playing some big U.S. festivals and then we are taking a little break to write our third album in the summer and so we are really excited about trying some new stuff and you know going home and sleeping in our own beds for a little bit.
Heidi: I’m excited to lay by the pool. I actually have a summer to do something rather than …because we’ve been on tour every summer for a while now so it’s gonna be nice and wake up and be like I’m gonna write some music and lay by the pool (laughing) you know because it’s really nice in Los Angeles. Yeah, I’m definitely going to be taking full advantage of that.
NRR: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us.
Carla: Thank you.
Heidi:Yeah thank you.

 

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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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