When I first met Rhea Caldwell, I remember thinking how great it was to meet like-minded people so passionate about the local Melbourne scene. Fast forward a few years and she’s now contributing music to our great local scene as Baby Blue. We had a chat ahead of her debut single launch (and double launch with CoastBusters) this Saturday.
Hi Rhea, thanks for the chat! No worries! Thanks for chatting.
As someone who was previously hosting/booking underground music events (Graceland Presents), how does it feel to now be the one on stage? It’s been really fun. I now see why everyone does it! It’s a completely different experience. I usually like to be hidden in the background organizing people and things to make gigs run smoothly but now I’m in the forefront on display to anyone who will watch. Its fun but incredibly nerve racking at the same time. Especially when I go to a lot of gigs and listen to a lot of music. I can be really critical of myself but I really like being up there looking at people having a lil jive along to our songs. I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of that.
And at what point did your new solo project expand to include guitarist Fabian Hunter and drummer Nat Riley? I think I only did 4 or so solo gigs before Fabian (CoastBusters) offered to play guitar with me. Nat (19th Century Strongmen) offered to play drums with us too and joined a couple of months later. It was really cool because they wanted to play with me. I didn’t have to ask or hunt anyone out. I think that’s really important for bands to work. The players really have to like the music and want to play it.
You’ve just released your first single, ‘Soccer Ball’. Can you tell us a bit about the recording process? I was about to head up north for a couple of months over Summer and we had set the goal to record at least one single before the year was out so we did about 5 live takes in Fabians bungalow. It was pretty straight forward. I think we ended up using the first take though. Fabian mixed the track and fiddled around a bit with layering a couple of the vocal techniques and sent it through to me. I sent back an iphone recording of me listening to the track and adding some harmonies where the the boys could chime in then they recorded that and added bass and casio whilst I was away. Fabian ran it through tape and Adam Dempsey (Deluxe Mastering) mastered the track for us and that was it! Pretty weird way to do it really but we got it done! Next time I definitely want to be more involved in the mixing process or at least be in the same city.
You’re also involved in If You See Her, Say Hello. What’s it like working alongside 20 talented female musicians? It is a pretty amazing experience. I learned a lot about arranging in our rehearsals. Those ladies are all such fierce and independent established female songwriters and they really pushed me to be the best I could and supported my song. I’m very grateful for their support. I had some really weird, creepy BVs happening on a song called ‘Shakes’ and I can still hear them all singing every time I play it now.
Can you tell us your favourite Melbourne acts? Currently listening to; Oh Pep!, Totally Mild, Broads, King Gizzard, Terrible Truths, Mangelwurzel, Lost Ragas and Big Smoke. Does Darren Hanlon still count as Melbourne?
And Melbourne venues? Oh I love so many venues for so many different reasons. But the one’s I frequent the most these days are; Some Velvet Morning, The Curtin, Old Bar, The Tote and The Toff.
What’s on the cards for the remainder of the year? Hopefully put out another single, an EP and who knows maybe an album if we can. We’ve got enough songs.
Thanks for your time! Thanks buddy. Hopefully see you on Saturday! 🙂
Head along to The Toff in Town this Saturday night (February 27th) to see Baby Blue and CoastBusters double single launch with support from Emily Ulman. Tickets here.