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SPOTLIGHT ON BABY VELVET

Call Me is out now!

Image: Nick McKinlay.


Earlier this year, Melbourne-based multi-disciplinary artist Hannah Crofts (All Our Exes Live in Texas) unveiled her new musical project, Baby Velvet, with the release of Call Me. We caught up with the musician to chat about the release, working on solo music, her live show and so much more!


Crofts will take to the stage tonight at Sydney's Surly's in Surry Hills for an exclusive free performance, supported by Loni Rae Thomson.


Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey, and your background in music…


I’ve always been an absolute obsessive fan girl, classic 13-year-old with wall to wall photos of Hanson, and then got into the All Ages scene of Melbourne – I was at every Freezer show, all ages punk fest etc. It wasn’t until I was about 17, I started singing and for some reason got it in my head that the only way I could become a musician would be to study Jazz at uni, so that’s what I did. And God I was rubbish at it!!! I studied at WAAPA but dropped out at the end of year two cause honestly, I just wanted to play folk music. I met Georgie from Exes at WAAPA and we both moved to Sydney where we formed Exes with Katie & Elana.




We’ve come to know you as a member of All Our Exes Live In Texas. What prompted this new solo musical endeavour and why was this year the right time to branch out?


Exes had been touring for 7 years straight, sometimes up to 200-300 shows a year, by the time we got through our last tour we all knew we wanted to stay put for a minute. It was a great opportunity to be in one place and write my solo record, something that I am so proud of, it took me about a year to write the songs, half a year to record it and now the first single is finally out! Exes still exist, we are touring early 2022, and now I get the added bonus of having my own band and music.




How do you find it differs writing and recording in a band environment with All Our Exes Live In Texas vs solo where you’re completely in charge of the process and outcome?


Making my album was an extremely odd process due to covid. I made the album with LA Producer Kevin Ratterman, I was at the time supposed to be in LA to make it however due to COVID we ended up making the album remotely together. I bought recording gear, taught myself logic, and recorded all my vocals and guitar myself at home! I would send them to Kevin, he would add to them, send them back and so on. It was weird making my album in bedroom all alone and a very different process to the collaborative project that is Exes! I wouldn’t change it though because I love how my album has turned out.




You recently dropped your new single Call Me. What inspired the conceptual nature of the track?


One thing I have always struggled with is the fact that if you have a mobile phone, it is expected that you must communicate regardless of if you want to. I think about growing up with a home phone, if you weren’t home the person would leave a message and you could get back to them whenever you wanted. With mobile phones/text messages/emails I find it crazy that if you contact me, I must answer! The song is about having long stretches of depression and a general loss of identity and how sometimes you must tap in and out of life, choosing when you can come back in / taking a mental health break if you need it. This is a song about losing it all, the job/the relationship/the sense of self but building it back up and then when I am ready, coming back into the world and answering my phone.




What’s one line from the release you find at times can be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?


‘It took my art, took my heart, took my man’ – I think about all of the things depression and anxiety have taken from me in the past five years, they have taken so much but also I am currently the happiest, strongest person I have ever been.




How would you describe your sound to someone who is about to press play on Call Me?


I hope it comes across as a really fun indie rock track! Kevin and I worked really hard and getting all of the track sounds to be exactly as I dreamt them in my mind – layered, reverb-soaked vocals, distorted guitars, bass that pulls you forward…




How have you approached crafting a set and overall live experience for this musical project?


I have never wanted to play music by myself, one of my favourite things about music is that its communal and I get to share it with people I love. The band I play with are a revolving door of some of my favourite musicians and humans in the world and I want that to come across to the audience – we are all LOVING the music, the friendship, the vibe and that’s hopefully what the audience will fall in love with. I also can’t shut up on stage so it’s just a given I’ll tell you all of the feelings I have ever had.




What lasting effects do you hope audience members walk away with after attending one of your performances?


I think all songwriters dream that a song you wrote will resonate with someone who hears it. That in that moment they needed those words to help in anyway (good or bad). I also love when you see a show, hear a song, and think ‘god I wanna go home and write a new song’ and I would love if anyone who saw my show felt that.




The past nineteen months have taken its toll on the music industry, specifically the touring sector, but also in terms of making that in person connection with audience members and creating a shared feeling and experience. How important do you think live music is not only for yourself as a musician showcasing their art, but also for the audience members who resonate with your music?


I’m a funny kind of musician, it’s not that I make music for others (of course I make it for myself) but it’s kind of like cooking for one. I’ll do it, I love the food, I enjoy it but how much better is it when you are cooking for others? To sit down and share a meal together. So I’ve really struggled the past 19 months without shows, being in your pjs writing songs and generally on a path alone just isn’t my dream – so happy shows are coming back though!



RAPID FIRE


Biggest influences?

Shovels and Rope, Dolly Parton, Lucy Dacus


Dream collaboration?

Rufus Wainwright


Album that has had the most impact on you?

The Last Waltz


How do you define your musical style in 3 words?

Honest, fun, communal


Best song of 2021 so far?

The Breeze – Dr. Dog


If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?

Can I choose the TV show Ted Lasso? A whole bunch of uplifting tracks that make you wanna dance on your couch.


Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?

Miley Cyrus


What was the first song you loved to sing?

Bye Bye Blackbird


A song you would love to cover on tour?

You’re still the one – Shania Twain


Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?

Sweet Creep – Jonny Fritz


First concert you went to?

Muse at Festival Hall


Best concert you have been to?

Sufjan Stevens at the Sydney opera house


First album you ever bought?

Slipknot (I was so scared of it I hid it under my bed and never listened to it)


Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?

Spice Girl!


If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?

Nana Spice


Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?

Supporting the backstreet boys around aus or midnight oil in the USA


Guilty music pleasure?

Hanson. I still love them.


If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?

Shovels and Rope would be my dream band to support.


An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.

Dolly Parton.


What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?

Remember to keep washing your face twice a day and always wear sunscreen.


The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?

When I watched Robbie Robinson in the Last Waltz.



Call Me is out now!