FRESH FROM their tenure with indie rock heroes SUSTO, Jenna Desmond and Corey Campbell are putting everything they have into Babe Club - a new project that finds both musicians branching out both musically and sonically. The duo’s first single, "Hate Myself," is a brilliant blend of angular, Pixies-esque guitar work and beautifully understated but powerful vocals, all within a dream pop sheen that recalls the reverb-soaked emotion of the Innocence Mission’s "Bright As Yellow."
The band, who’s coming to El Rocko Lounge on Fri., Nov. 9 alongside Airpark, The Hypnotics, and Helixglow, is currently promoting “Hate Myself” with its first nationwide tour. We spoke to Desmond ahead of the El Rocko gig about the new music, what’s ahead for the band, and the realities of committing yourself to a life on the road.
How did this project start?
JD: Corey and I met in college. As we both graduated, Corey was playing in SUSTO and he and I were working on writing music. Then I joined SUSTO, and we did that together for the past three years. We just played our last show with them in September, so we'd been writing on the road. Every time we'd come back from tour, we'd record with Wolfgang Zimmerman. He did SUSTO's record, the High Divers' record, and [the new] Band of Horses' record.
We’d been writing stuff for so long, and we’re finally going to fully commit to ourselves and get out there.
When you first started writing for Babe Club, did you go into thinking you wanted to do a certain kind of project or did it all happen naturally?
JD: I think when we first met, we just had a connection. We're dating, but we were friends for a while - just hanging out and playing music. I feel like our connection is really natural. He's the sonic genius. He studied music in school, so he's a multi-instrumentalist. I'm more of a storyteller and singer/songwriter, so that really goes together well.
Lyrically, the single is really relatable - this idea of waking up and wishing you were someone else. Tell me about those themes and what the process was like writing this song.
JD: Well, we had actually sat down to record a different song and that song came out of nowhere. We ended up working on it and putting it together in pretty much a week or so. When I was writing it, I'd been on the road with SUSTO for a long time, and at that point I'd kind of lost friendships.
I was talking about it the other day with someone else - when you’re a young adult and going into your career for the first time, you don’t really have time to hang out with people. And I felt like I wanted to be something right away, but obviously those things take work and you’re kind of shitty at things at first. I was thinking about a few other people in my life and the things that they were going through in the same kind of way. Change and becoming yourself doesn’t happen in one day, which is what I wanted at the time [laughs].
I also think that when you’re in a touring band, especially when you’re starting out when you’re younger, it’s really easy to isolate yourself. You’re just in that world, and when you come out of it it’s hard to reconnect with people because you almost go into shock. Do you think that’s a factor as well?
JD: Yeah, kind of! Because, it's like, you're not there hanging out every day. I think when you're younger you have so much down time. And when you're out of town for so long, you're not able to call your friends and go hang out. That habit kind of falls through, so when you are back in town you have to make an effort to re-establish those things.
Also, everyone in my life got really busy. My friend went to law school, a lot of them moved away. It was just a changing time in my life, compounded by being on the road.
It’s that weird thing that happens when people kind of drift apart and life happens. You sort of come to a moment where you go, “Where did my friends and my life go?” It happens to everyone, I think.
JD: Yeah! In different ways.
So what's next for the band?
JD: This is our first tour as Babe Club. When we play live we're a full band - a five piece. We're in the middle of working on a full-length that will be finished up by the end of the year. We're going to be dripping out some music early next year, and then probably release the full-length in the middle of the year.