BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: With Baby Beef
PHOTOGRAPHY: TIM BAKER
Sydney trio Baby Beef are all kinds of wonderful. Their music is atmospheric, meaningful and full to the brim with character. The best bit, they don’t take themselves too seriously. In fact, watching their music video clips is guaranteed to improve your mood. So, considering all of the above, we thought we’d take a minute to get to know them a little better – in the comfort of their own home.
As always, please press play below to enrich your reading experience.
B = Baby Beef (Hewett)
C = Christian Values
M = Mumma Beef (Hayley)
Ok, let’s get to business. One pillow, two pillows or euro pillow?
B: I’ve overslept my way into a love/hate relationship with all pillows over the years, I’d like to throw a curveball and say boomerang is the pillow for me.
C: Things change every night.
M: One for sleeping.
How did this magical Baby Beef project come to be?
B: About a year ago I finally had some songs I thought fit to share. Christian and Mumma are my best friends so I shared them with them first. They liked them a lot, so we worked on them together, until they developed into an outlet beyond a band. It’s about expression. We like to express.
What’s the dynamic like between the three of you? What’s everyone’s role?
B: Well obviously Mumma Beef is our mother, she knows what’s best for Christian and I. Everyone’s role is to inspire the other two.
C: A lot of the time, Hewett’s dynamic is melancholy. He brought those songs over to us as an honest expression of themes like depression and anxiety. The group dynamic evolved to nurture and respect those feelings but also present them in a new light - adding layers of humour, melodrama and other storytelling devices.
‘Just Relax 2018’ is a wonderful theme song for a band, and life in general. How do you like to unwind?
C: If you saw me poolside or rooftop with an Aperol Spritz in my mitts, you better believe my strings ain’t tight tonight.
B: Playing the bass guitar, watching basketball. The three of us will (from time to time) pamper ourselves at a local spa, should we have the funds.
M: Hanging with my beef boys, reading, guitar.
The video clip for ‘Just Relax 2018’ should actually be compulsory viewing. Can you tell us a bit about that shoot?
B: That’s a very kind of you to say. At that point in time Baby Beef was just me, Christian and a Casio keyboard. We didn't really have anything else to present, so we just presented those things the best way we could. At one point in the shoot a lady came out of her house and said “goodbye” angrily to us. We left hastily, but we already had the money shot.
What’s the Baby Beef creative process like? Who writes the songs?
B: I do a lot of the writing and lyrics alone, and when we get together it’s hands collaboration. I’m proud of what I write but I trust the others enough to fuck with my shit.
C: For about six months we had a very routine system - meeting in my bedroom studio, two evenings a week, with two bottles of wine.
M: I love our process. Hearing little pieces and how it eventuates once we’ve all had a bite.
Your latest track ‘Better Yet’ is rather infectious. Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for that song?
B: That was one of the songs recorded over the 6 months mentioned previously. We had struggled to get much further than the chorus, until one day Christian encouraged me to ‘write something happy.’ I tried, but what came out was pretty sombre, must have been a subconscious ‘fuck you’ to Chris. Don't tell me how to feel.
There seems to be a nice little slice of wisdom in your lyrics, do you find this project quite therapeutic?
B: It’s 100 percent therapeutic, an exercise in total self-reflection. It’s helping me express my feelings and address my insecurities. I’ve learnt a lot about myself over the last year that’s for sure, and I’m excited to learn more.
How long does it take to choreograph/practice those on stage moves?
B: Mumma Beef really instilled this choreography in us from a young age. She used to make us hang out the washing in time to ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!’ by ABBA.
M: The boys have seen Billy Elliot 37 times each.
What are the three albums (one for each of you) that you always come back to no matter what?
B: Tears for Fears – ‘The Hurting’
C: Meatloaf – ‘Bat Out of Hell’
M: It’s a tie between Shania Twain – ‘Come on Over’ and Led Zeppelin ‘1’
Finally, if you could have any celebrity cameo in your next video clip, who would it be and why?
B: I’d love to star in a clip alongside LeBron James, where he’s coaching me to become the best basketball player I can be. It’d be a montage I guess. It would end with me hitting a game-winning 3 pointer in game 7 of the NBA finals, with LeBron watching and proud-crying from the sideline. LeBron is my hero.
C: I would love to have an Iron Chef style video where we go head to head with Hiroyuki Sakai (Iron Chef France) in Kitchen Stadium. I can picture the secret ingredient reveal being all - ‘Baby Beef!’