As told by Babitha:
Written over two years and recorded in October 2021, this album was borne out of a turbulent, yet highly transformative period of my life. Fresh out of a long-term relationship and the world in the midst of a global pandemic, there was a chaotic blend of internal and external forces at play – a potent mix of anger, grief, cynicism, hope and gratitude, all of which have been captured in the record.
As the world plunged into lockdown, writing became the one constant in a sea of uncertainty, so I took that time to venture into new sonic territories and play with songwriting as a form. I experimented with both traditional and non-linear narratives across multiple genres, tapping into folk, country, psych-rock, new wave and pop. I recorded basic demos at home using Garageband, then booked in a couple of days to rehearse with the band before we started recording. Due to Covid restrictions, people were only allowed to leave the house for essential items, or for work that couldn’t be done at home. There was no way we could make the record over Zoom, so we took the opportunity to bunker down at Stranded Studios in Bellambi.
Stranded offered a joyous respite from the monotony of life in lockdown. We were all stoked to be there, not only because we felt a cheeky sense of freedom, but because this was going to be the first album ever recorded at the studios, recently built by Bowen Shakallis and Cody Munroe Moore. With Alexi Grivas on guitar, Cecil Coleman (Body Type) on drums and Russell Fitzgibbon (Skeleten) on bass, we spent the first couple of days playing through the tracks and planning out a schedule on a giant whiteboard. I invented the ‘Tear System’ where we rated songs based on their complexity and time it would take to record them. Simple songs were one tear, and hard songs were three tears because they’d probably make us cry. Only Fair was the first track we laid down – we’d played it live in almost every set, so we felt pretty confident. It was a one-tear song.
We settled into a nice rhythm over the 11 days we had in the studio. With Bowen on the desk and Cody the ‘Vibe Consultant’ keeping up the energy, we pushed through the 12 tracks. We tried to record everything live as much as possible, to capture those little inconsistencies, the subtle dips in tempo and dynamics that occur when we’re all locked in together. There’s something special about playing as a band and leaning into that shared musical intuition. Jy-Perry Banks recorded his pedal steel parts remotely, Jordan Ireland (The Middle East) popped in to play some viola and keyboard, Marcus Gordon, (Spookyland) and my sister Isobella Grist (The Blamers) added some harmonies. We slowly ticked our way through the schedule, and even made it through the three-tear songs sans tears. The final day of recording marked the end of lockdowns – everything felt good. Once we finished recording, I worked closely with Doug Wright (Hed Ardennes) to mix the album. As an electronic producer and someone deep in the techno scene, he didn’t seem like an obvious choice to mix the album, but I wanted to try something new and see if we could create a contemporary sound, rather than emulating music from the 60s and 70s. Finally, I sent the songs to the master of mastering, Nick Franklin.
Release: January 20, 2023, Spunk Records/Virgin Music Australia