Funny little backstory behind this interview. This was actually supposed to be the very first interview posted on the Shameless Promotions website after the For Today interview we did back in February. I had unfortunately never heard back from these guys, but behold, a few weeks later, I received an email from the members of Babybear with some of the most accurate (and hilarious) answers to our interview questions. Check out the interview with the band below!
1) How did Babybear begin? How long have you been around?
Before the days of social networks and Snapchat, there was AIM. Erik and Darren were friends from skateboarding and former high school bands. One fair day, Erik told Darren, "Hey, I know this kid. He's young, a drummer, but he's really good. I think you two would jive. Here's his screen name. You should instant message him and set up a jam session." This happened. Jamming commenced. It was blissful. What Erik didn't say is that he'd been jamming and writing with Mike, and this arranged "jam" between Mike and Darren was actually a test, a way to see if there was connection. There was. Shortly after, based on the perceived "jiving" in said jam sessions, Erik asked Darren to play guitar for Babybear. Brian Benson filled out the lineup because he had long, flowing blonde hair and fair, freckled skin that shimmered in stage lights like a Twilight vampire emerging into the sun. Every band needs that. Alas, Babybear was born circa 2005.
2) When and where was "Sees The Potential" recorded? How long was the recording process approximately?
"Sees The Potential" is a fragmented idea that finally compiled itself during one amazing week at Erik's home studio, E & G Studios, during the Fall of 2012. The writing process began about a year and a half prior on a river known as The Walhunding. While floating peacefully down its shores, smoking ganja from apples, jumping from tree limbs into the water and chugging Sailor Jerry's, Erik and Darren started talking about song titles and themes. This play on words - Sees The Potential - was somewhat autobiographical and self-critical of Babybear's attitude: simply having fun with friends, playing music, never taking music as a career too seriously. Like, we see it...but should we seize it? Fast forward to summer 2012. Erik and Darren, in Postal Service style, began sending recorded ideas back and forth via digital messaging. Melodies recorded on cell phones, guitar tracks laid down in Garage Band, lyrics via text message all became building blocks for songs. In November 2012, Darren took some time off work in Columbus, drove up to Akron, and he and Erik embarked on a 4-day binge of songwriting and tracking guitars over Mike's already recorded and mixed drum tracks. We pretty much wrote most of the leads and produced song dynamics in those four days. It was a song-writing process we never embarked on before, but it was wildly fun, rewarding and memorable.
3) What is the meaning behind the title "Sees The Potential"?
The answer to this is somewhat built into the previous answer. But to expound a little bit more: Make your own happiness by understanding what makes you happy, not listening to what others' project onto you as happiness...There's an epidemic in America, perhaps globally in various regions, where people chase happiness based on others' expectations/opinions of what happiness is. This is profound bullshit and produces the opposite endgame. Taking this cliche phrase, "seize the potential," replacing the first word and applying it to the project as a whole reveals a story of growing up, and, in some ways, growing apart from friends - falling victim to adulthood, proximity and responsibility - but still making the time and sacrificing to make a passion, an idea, reality. That's what this album is. We carpe'd the shit out of the potential!
4) I read somewhere that you (Erik) got a song in a Taco Bell commercial in 2004. I'm very curious to know more about that, what was the song?
Back in the early days...Darren and myself used to play a game at Taco Bell drive-throughs. We'd pull up and simply start asking outrageous questions about menu items, like, "Do you know what other food items were processed on the machines that make your quesadilla sauce?" and "Approximately how many ounces of tomatoes are used on average in a taco supreme?" Based on how the employee in the order line handled our questions, we'd formulate a plan. Upon pulling up to the window, we'd inform the employee that we were hired "secret shoppers" from Taco Bell Corp. sent out to randomly audit customer service at its locations around the U.S. and ask for the manager. We'd report our findings to the manager...inaccurate product knowledge, rude customer service, absolutely superb handling of our questions. This usually led to free food, and in one instance the handing over of a business card to an important TB corporate contact. Upon receiving this card, I followed the paper trail with a couple commercial jingle melodies...A year later, I got some royalty checks, which I spent on Swedish Fish, silk bed sheets and lifetime passes to Clay's Park. Moral here is: To achieve what you want in life, pretend to be someone you are not.
5) Are there any particular themes that are present throughout the EP?
Life is like surfing...even when you eat sand, it's still fun.
All living things need love, care and attention.
Smoking weed isn't for everyone.
Love your friends, always, even when they fuck up, even if you stop talking and they become a ghost, love them for what they taught you.
Bonfires whenever you can.
Bruce Hornsby and Boys II Men.
6) What made you decide to go with the "name your price" option for the release of your EP?
Fuck, if Radiohead can do it...Why can't we?!
7) You guys remind me a little of Walk The Moon, both in terms of energy and tone. Where does the band take its musical inspiration from? Do you guys listen to one or two particular genres, or are your musical tastes all across the board?
We are board tasters...
There's overlap in influences between all of us for artists like Feist, Elbow, Mutemath, Weezer and Cherry Poppin' Daddies.
But Brian listens to Kenny Loggins and stays at Target way too long listening to those CD walls of ambient Earth noises. Mike recently found a love for cryptic, Wiccan stoner metal, so between listening to those obscurities and Frank Ocean, he makes some time for White Denim and John Mayer. Darren dances gingerly to Dubstep, fueling his quest to be more in touch with the machine. He also indulges in Rage Against The Machine, Pantera, Lil' Wayne, Biffy Clyro and Hot Chip. Erik bounces back and forth between Sam Cooke and Outkast, but has been known to dance really hard really late at night with his friends Glassjaw, Daft Punk and Wild Turkey.
8) Where do you take inspiration from lyrically? Both in terms of writing style and content?
Ohio. Friends. Oldies. Nature. Bonfires. Pontoons. Nashville, not the city, the filter in Instagram.
9) What kind of message would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
We'd like to buy a vowel, and swap the "e" for an "a." We want our fans to walk away with a massage.
10) What are your future plans for the band? (new album, new tours, music videos, etc.)
Reunion tour 2020...
We're keeping the same attitude and approach we've always had. Just friends who come together to make music when the time is right.