I first met the three lads from Glasgow last year at a tiny gig in North London. Having slowly released a handful of singles over the last few years, questions were beginning to arise about when to expect an album. Fast-forward to September 2016 and out burst Want It Need It. Packed with fast-paced, highly energised, captivating hits, Baby Strange’s debut was everything we’d been waiting for.
I met up again recently with frontman Johnny Madden to catch up on the latest:
First of all, big congrats on the album. Tell me about it – how did it all come together?
“Well we recorded it in a space of about a year and a half in London, Glasgow and Brighton. We did have about 20-25 songs ready, but decided on picking the ones we did – mostly the singles we’d had already – because it made the most sense. It would be kinda weird if they weren’t on the first album. But there’s also some brand new ones, and we rerecorded the old songs like ‘Pure Evil’.”
Why did you record it over such a long period?
“Well we’d manage to go into the studio for about a month or so, but then these sessions would be pretty scattered between touring. Next time we’ll probably try and do it in a shorter space of time – it was quite a different experience but I’d like to be able to really capture something within a month or two. We kept changing our mind about things, but I think we were lucky in the end that it does flow well, and doesn’t sound like the songs were recorded months apart.”
How much do you enjoy being in the studio compared to playing live?
“I really love it, but I couldn’t pick between the two. They’re totally different but both have their perks. I love building an idea for a song and then hearing it come to life in the studio. And then playing it live is a totally different buzz again. When you see how people react to it, that’s when it all starts to make sense.”
What are your favourite songs to play live?
“There’s a new one on the album called ‘Nude’ which is really fun to play. ‘Pleasure City’ probably gets one of the best reactions. And then ‘Friend’ is always perfect to end on because everything just erupts into madness.”
[I then noticed that Johnny was wearing a badge for Girls Against – [a campaign started by five teenage girls in order to raise awareness and tackle the problem of groping and sexual harassment at gigs]
“Girls Against is a very important cause. Those girls are doing something great, I’m shocked that it’s taken so long for people to speak up and become aware of this problem. But thankfully now people are a lot more switched on, and if something like that is happening in the crowd there’s a much bigger chance that people will jump in and try to intervene. And with a lot of bands getting behind the campaign victims are finding the confidence to speak out because they finally feel they have the support. It’s so important to raise awareness of these things.”
Baby Strange’s debut album Want It Need It is out now