Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Bumping into... Babs [DJ at Juicebox, Synth Player at Psychic Weapons, lover of Siamese Cats and Velvet Paintings]

Bumping Into... is a series of mini-chats with a variety of peeps that you might run into in some of our local music communities. (There's a bit of an intro and my thoughts behind the series here.)

How are you? Where are you?

I'm great! I'm sitting on my sofa...hanging out on this lovely long weekend in the little apartment that I share with my amazing partner Derek Westerholm and MeepMoop the Cat. Derek is making synth noodles on the Korg Volca next to me as I write this, lol.

What have you been up to since March or so?

Oh boy, lots. I'm lucky in that I started a new job, so that really keeps my schedule pretty busy. Having that stability helps take the edge off you know... the whole pandemic thing. Transitioning to this new life has not been without its challenges, anxieties, and fears but I'm happy and healthy and filled with gratitude. Trying to keep it normal by continuing to think about music, making music, playing music, exploring music... I really miss seeing my family though, we're very close. I talk to my mom every day on the phone. Derek and I adopted MeepMoop the Cat almost a year ago to the day and it's been fascinating and fun to raise him together. He is a fine little cat fellow. We are very proud of him, lol.

Have you found any new ways to do old things? How are you feeling about the shifts in how music is being made/shared/listened to?

I jumped into online DJing pretty fast when everything shut down, and have been mastering the whole OBS streaming thing. Even though the Piston is closed for now I keep up with my monthly party Juicebox and broadcast on the last Saturday of each month as usual. At first I wasn't sure if I could... or should... like does the world need a DJ night when the world is going to hell? became apparent that among our little community of friends, we needed to have a place where we could virtually meet and interact and feel... somewhat normal and support each other. I've always loved being a hostess so it's fun inviting the world into our living room. Derek's upgraded our home recording capabilities and we are looking forward to tracking some new song ideas. He and I are also looking at more DJ sets and broadcasts together in this new year, which is really, REALLY exciting. And of course, there's a Psychic Weapons album pretty much done and in the can..we're just trying to figure out how/when best to get it out there. We are very much of the "release an album, play live" mentality and when that option isn't there... it can be a bit challenging. I'm not into chasing and maximizing algorithms. That seems strange. Or maybe I'm just old, lol. We do really miss playing live and jamming.

Any works of art that have been a light for you in these times? Anything that's just been a good diversion?

Honestly, it's been really great to get more involved in the local and international DJ community. DJ Blush, DJ Nico, Datafreq, and Dr. Dan (Not So Kwyet) have been incredible hometown allies and hosting fabulous online streams and parties. It's wonderful to meet so many great selectors from across the globe sharing great music of all genres. My listening has expanded greatly and it's been very inspiring... and my record collection keeps growing as a result! There's a lot of camaraderie and support and positivity, which is really encouraging. As for listenings...well I'm about to release a mixtape with my most played songs of 2020... Baxter Dury is a continuing obsession of mine, the Osees... Oh Sees... Ohsees... (pick your preferred spelling) continue to delight. On the pop front I loved the last Gorillaz album... their concert live stream was amazing. I'm very proud of my girl Barbi who released a fantastic record with her project Siviyex. Derek showed me the new video for "Gem" by Jane Inc. just last week and I was like WOW. As for other sonic/visual inspirations, best to check my mixcloud page or insta, too many great artists to mention and I'll let their art do the talking instead!

How are you feeling about 2021?

Cautiously optimistic? Realistic? Caustic? I try hard not to get caught up in online and social media bullshit but of course, I'm pretty politically active... and vocal... I find the fact that 74 million people voted for The Orange Menace and people not getting the dangers of COVID, wealth disparity and the rise of anti-science and conspiracy theories quite...disturbing. I hope the world is on the verge of becoming a better place (I EXPECTED AN AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT GODDAMNIT!) but sometimes I wonder if Humankind has it in us to actually make the required changes. that bleak? LOL. That being said, I do feel that art and music and truth and kindness and awareness...and maybe a bit of witchcraft are the Way.

Anything else we'd chat about if we bumped into each other?

I definitely want to know when and where I can hear more of your fantastical sounds. Local music, because I know you've got the inside track on that. I want to know what you're listening to and what's inspiring you!

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