When God Was Great – the 11th studio album by ska-punk pioneers The Mighty Mighty …
Meet Baby Dave: the Hobart duo ready to knock (or is that rock?) your socks off.
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They’ve been tearing it up in their home city for years, and now they’re set to make a big splash with their latest single, Heartbreaker. It’s a killer track that commands attention, and we wanted to know more, so we got Joe Stone (bass and vocals) and Theo Idstrom (drums) on a line for a chat.
Let’s get the band introduced.
Joe: We’re Baby Dave, the self-described friendly neighbourhood two-piece from Hobart. We’ve been going since 2018. Just two mates from college who liked Royal Blood.
Theo: We had this opportunity from the Tasmanian rock challenge; we thought we’d give it a go. Joe put some pretty cool pedals on his pedalboard and was able to pump out a lot of sounds from the one instrument.
What’s the story behind the band name?
Theo: [laughs] We just couldn’t find a band name. I was thinking of the most stupid things, like Soggy Weetbix and stuff like that. One of my uncles is named Dave. That just made me think, you never really see babies called Dave.
Joe: When Theo originally pitched Baby Dave to me, I was against it. I just thought WHY and he said, ‘who looks at a baby and says, Dave?’
Theo: It just rolls off the tongue. We didn’t think the band would go further than the rock challenge, now we’re in too deep to change it. In retrospect, we might have tried to pick a more professional name, but these things happen.
Look, it could’ve been worse. You could’ve gone with Baby Graham.
Theo: [laughs] We also thought of Baby Craig.
Joe: Craig’s just a name you get when you hit 30. Or Keith. There’s a lot of names you could put, but Baby Dave just looks good written down as well.
So when it comes to songwriting, how do the two of you approach that?
Joe: It’s always been riffs first, song second, and then some lyrics thrown over the top. We did that with our debut EP, but now we’re just trying to experiment. We don’t want everything to sound the same. We’re going to see what ‘lyrics first’ sounds like. If it sucks, we’ll know not to do it again.
Do you think there’s been much of a change in your sound from your debut EP till now?
Both: Big time.
Joe: We’d only recorded stuff for mates projects, like really terrible covers and maybe one or two demos. When we did the EP, we smashed it out in 14-hours. It was a cooked day, but we learnt a lot (laughs).
Theo: From there, we solidified our sound.
Joe: It’s been two years since we recorded the EP. We’ve had time to develop and get constructive criticism from others on where our sound could go.
Theo: The people who’ve listened to Heartbreaker so far have said we really have our sound now. They’ve said it sounds like our live shows. Now, we’re just more confident in how we want to write our songs.
I just didn’t know where my head sat. I was a bit pissed off with everything going on.[ Joe Stone ]
What’s one piece of feedback that’s stuck with you?
Joe: We didn’t have a massive budget for our debut EP. It had a really raw sound, and we were happy with it, but there wasn’t much in the way of post-production. We were rushing everything, and some people told us to spend more time solidifying what we want. Heartbreaker captures the energy we wanted, but it takes it to a more professional standard.
Let’s talk about your single Heartbreaker. Joe, you’ve said it came out of a tumultuous time in your life.
Joe: My entire life was getting flipped on its head. I was moving house, my previous job was cutting my shifts, I was starting a new job, and I had a relationship that was turning long distance. I just didn’t know where my head sat. I was a bit pissed off with everything going on.
Theo: You came up with this really cool riff. It was high energy and faster than our other stuff.
Joe: Yeah. Real angry tones. It encapsulated how I was feeling at the time.
Tell us about the scene in Hobart. What’s it like being part of it?
Joe: Everyone knows everyone; it’s so fun. Your friends will come to your gig and invite their friends, and then you’ll have a whole group. We’re only a two-piece, but we play super loud. Often, we’ve had those friends of friends come up to us to say our performance was much more than they were expecting. Then it’ll be a snowball thing. They’ll come to the next gig, and they’ll bring their mates.
Hobart’s scene is almost a bit underground, but it’s diverse. Acts like Luca Brasi, A. Swayze & the Ghosts, and The Sleepyheads have put us on the map. Now, people are starting to hear a bit more from Tasmania.
Who are some of the bands biggest inspirations?
Theo: Royal Blood, Muse, and The Black Keys.
Joe: The White Stripes too. Theo and I both come from blues and folk backgrounds, but I also grew up in the punk scene. We draw from a lot of different areas. Our live shows tap into that punk atmosphere. They’re high energy and raw.
What’s in store for 2021?
Theo: We’re going to try to do some shows on the mainland for the first time.
Joe: We’ll be playing riffs and sinking tins [laughs]. We’ve got a few songs written; we might record a few more for the rest of the year. We both have pretty busy schedules. Whenever we can get together and write a few songs, we do. We have one pre-recorded track in the bank. We just need to do some production on it, but that might drop towards the end of the year. Then we might begin work on another EP at the end of the year. We’ll see which way the wind blows.
FOR FANS OF: Royal Blood, Muse, The Black Keys