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Interview: Baby in Vain’s Andrea Thuesen

Last night, Echo Park’s tastemaking venue, The Echo, was graced with an excellent show from Danish trio Baby in Vain. The small venue saw three great sets, with two opening sets from Annie Girl & the Flight and a wild show from Kim & the Created but it was the Copenhagen group that stole the night.

Baby in Vain performing on stage
Photo taken by Kieran MacIntyre Monsters and Critics 2015 ©

I was initially surprised by the lack of bass in their instrumental section, but when guitarist/vocalists Lola Hammerich and Andrea Thuesen’s riffs coalesce, it comes out as mean as all hell. Each song was complemented with down and dirty solos and a thick layer of distortion dabbed through each track like clamorous paint, the noise gives their music the feeling of being at the edge of dissonance, but maintaining sweet and bellicose melody and unison vocals that fire out like cannonballs. Not to mention Benedicte Pierleoni played the drums with white knuckled ferocity, each snare hit throughout could rattle your bones.

Baby in Vain on stage
Photo taken by Kieran MacIntyre Monsters and Critics 2015 ©

This was the last show of their two week run in the states, which was spent supporting The Kills on their tour, the young band has been garnering a lot of attention here in the states for their sludgy and tough as nails output, it is the breath of fresh air rock ‘n’ roll needs and who better to do it than a young group who shows an ardent dedication to their roots, the music of Baby in Vain is like early Sabbath meets MC5 if they both came down with a case of Grunge. Suffice it to say that they will be the burgeoning band in demand very soon worldwide, before their set I got to chat with Thuesen, who was excited about going to Amoeba to pick up records for the first time earlier in the day, we got to talk about their new record in the works, touring and the secret drink that her bandmates and her bonded over.

Andrea Thuesen, Benedicte Pierleoni and Lola Hammerich
From left: Andrea Thuesen, Benedicte Pierleoni and Lola Hammerich. Photo taken by Kieran MacIntyre Monsters and Critics 2015 ©

Read the interview below:

How’s this tour with The Kills been?
Andrea Thuesen: Awesome, I mean we toured with them once before and it was a lot of fun, getting to tour with them again was amazing. They’re good people, a great band, I mean it’s not like we have been sitting with them and talking a lot but they’re nice to us, they seem to like our music and the audiences have been amazing at every show we’ve played with them and people have bought a lot of merchandise, so it was very nice. But it was also the last time we went with them but it’s nice that it’s still nice [laughs].

What’s the difference between playing here in the states versus Europe?
AT: Well it’s different because we’ve been mostly playing festivals in Europe and Scandinavia, like the Nordic countries, and of course festivals are a lot different from playing venues, but I think that the audience here is more giving than in at least where we’ve been in Europe and Scandinavia. The shows we’ve had here, where we have been the headliners, I mean we had a show in San Francisco last night which was maybe 20 or 30 people but the other two shows we had on our own have been so weird and no one showed up. So I don’t really know how it is to be a headliner here because we haven’t had proper experience but being a support band is so much more fun here than in Denmark or in Europe… I mean in Denmark being a support band is a thing but people don’t really care about it, people are like “whatever, [they’re] just there.”

What’s the story behind the video for “Muscles”, how did that come about?
AT: I don’t know actually! The director of the movie, Fredrick, he just had kind of a concept and then we actually just knew we were going to this castle in Denmark and there would be a guy, a very muscle-y, strong, fitness kind of guy and that’s it. I actually think the original concept was more hip hop, like expensive cars and then it just took a whole other direction when we first got there. Fredrick just had this picture in his head I think and tried to realize it, then we started shooting and at some point he was like, “I think we have what we need.” And it was over [laughs] then he did all the after work on it so I think it turned out great, just the concept wasn’t really a concept but then it just came together.

You guys have a full length debut album coming soon?
AT: Yes! We are nearly finished, well, we have been working on it for some time now and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel right about now [laughs] but we don’t have a label yet so it’s hard to say when it will be released, who will release it, we don’t have a title for it yet or anything but hopefully it will be released by January or February if everything goes as planned so we’ll see [laughs].

Hopefully we hear it soon!
AT: Yeah! I’m very excited for it!

You and your bandmates met at a Wave of Stone show right?
AT: Yeah! That’s good!

What was the drink you three got that you bonded over?
AT: That… is a secret [laughs] good drink though! It’s a Danish drink but I can’t say what it is [laughs]

On the song “Catcher”, Benedicte (drummer of Baby in Vain) played horns, will we hear more horns on this album?
AT: Actually, there’s one song on the record with horns as well but more noisy, I guess it’s a thing now that we have horns… On Record Store Day we released a [split 10’’] album [“The One Eye Love”] with our friends (Electric Elephants) where we have two songs on it and they have two songs on it and we had a song together, and on that one Benedicte plays sax on it as well. The song is a cover of a band called Turn Me On Dead Man from San Francisco and the song is called “Cyclops”, it’s really good, the original is amazing, our cover is good too [laughs]

What newer Danish bands do you think are going to catch attention stateside?
AT: I don’t know actually, I’m not really up to date, I’ve been kind of living in my own world the past year so I don’t know what’s going on in Denmark, all of this Electronic stuff, there’s this great group called Rangleklods, which is kind of Electronic, melancholic, it’s incredible! It’s this guy Esben and his girlfriend Pernille, just the two of them, and I guess they played SXSW and I think they’re on their way, it would be great for them here, I actually think they’re moving to LA to record their next album here… Los Angeles I guess is kind of the place to be right now for Danish bands, I know so many Danish bands and artists going here to record, there are more Danish musicians here than in Denmark [laughs] it’s weird.

Do you guys have any tour plans the rest of the year?
AT: None really, we have a couple of shows well just one in London that may turn into a tour of England, we want to go to Glasgow but we have the show in London, we may want to go somewhere but right now we just need to finish the album and get it released and then we can focus on touring and stuff like that but I think the rest of the year will probably be quiet.

What’s been an interesting experience on this particular tour?
AT: Well, we played in Cincinnati on this tour and it was cool but so weird because it was this private party arrangement, like [there was] small robot things, I didn’t really get the concept but there was free sushi but there were like five to ten people [there] but it was so strange we just came there and there was all this sushi, sliders, stuff like that and there was a couple of people here and there and then you could go upstairs and there was this thing that you could steer around. It was really weird but free sushi is awesome. We played in Minneapolis with The Kills and that was just so cool, that was the only time on the tour except for [Los Angeles] where we had time to be in the city and see some stuff and we had some friends from Missouri come and see the show and hang out with them afterwards. It was nice being among other young people like ourselves [laughs].

Who would Baby in Vain rather hang out with, Mark Lanegan or Josh Homme?
AT: [laughs] that’s a really hard question, I guess I would have to say.. That’s actually a really hard question, I like the music of Mark Lanegan but on behalf of all of us I would have to say Joshua Homme. I’m not that into Queens of the Stone Age, I really enjoyed the last album, it’s really good but Lola and Bena are huge fans and I think he’s cool, it’s a cool band but I just love Mark Lanegan’s vocals on Soulsavers’ Broken and It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s the Way You Land is amazing in it’s own thing but Joshua Homme.

Do you think Stoner Rock is a bad label for your sound?
AT: I wouldn’t describe our music as “Stoner Rock” anymore because I mean it has elements of it but we’ve taken it in a whole other direction rather than when we started playing. So it’s not really “Stoner Rock” anymore, we’re not really stoners, we move around on stage, we’re active so it’s not like the on acid deadbeat stoner, which I love, but still it’s more, it has the garage thing and the punk thing and the more pop kind of thing, then the stoner [rock], it’s all of the genres together I guess, I don’t know, it’s weird [laughs]… It has the 70’s blues thing, and the 90’s grunge and more post punk delay and echo sounds. On this album it’s more hi-fi, the garage is there but it’s really not our thing anymore it’s more rock now.

Where would you love to play?
AT: When you live in Europe and you play music, I guess the dream is to break through in the states, because you grow up watching American shows and American movies and you read American books and magazines and you listen to a lot of American music and that seems like it’s just the place to be if you want to be famous so I haven’t really thought about being huge anywhere but here [laughs] because if you’re huge here, you’re huge everywhere else. I guess I would like to go to… Australia? [laughs]

Kieran J. MacIntyre is a voracious music nerd of all genres, bass player and the music editor for M&C Music.

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