How I Made: BABii on her ‘SCREAMER’ mixtape

Ahead of the artist's headline London show at DMY Live on November 10, we sat down with BABii to get the low-down on her latest project...

03.11.22 Words by: Billy Ward

In this feature on Dummy, we’re asking artists to drill down into how exactly they make their music. We’re looking to hone in on the processes, equipment and locations they made their sounds in, and following UK dubstep scene pioneer and producer Skream, we sit down with electronic polymath BABii ahead of her headline London show at DMY Live next week. Talking through her collaborative mixtape ‘SCREAMER’, which came out earlier this year, the record draws heavily from British dance music and her nomadic upbringing with her father surrounded by the sounds of bassline, garage and drum ‘n’ bass. With features from a wealth of influential producers such as Iglooghost, umru, SV1, Jennifer Walton and Warpstr, ‘SCREAMER’ takes BABii’s daring experimental approach further than ever before. 

Where was the project made?

“In a lot of different places. Because it was a collaborative record I did it at friends’ houses, while I was in America, at this funny studio in a basement in London, in my studio, and in other places I never went to because other people produced some of the beats, so there’s some mysterious places too.”

What software or hardware did you use to produce the mixtape?

“That’s also a mysterious question…for the stuff that I did I recorded in Logic, with the song I did with Iglooghost he uses Reason, umru uses Ableton, every DAW. Not much hardware, i’m very much a laptop kind of person. Unless there is some hardware that someone used but I doubt it to be honest.”

Was there anyone else you worked on the project with who isn’t mentioned on the record?

“No, I made a big effort to make sure that everyone who I worked on it with was credited as much as possible because I usually make everything myself and I hate this thing where producers are not credited enough, so I knew I was going to credit everyone. Everyone who I worked on it with, the name is there somewhere.”

What were the themes you explored when making the record?

“That’s a really easy question for me because that’s how I make things. For my previous record I did an ARG, like an online puzzle, a few people participated but it was like a secret activity for people who were paying attention…part of the lore in that was there was a proper UK fairground with a ’90s vibe in this puzzle. I got really into this theme so I decided I wanted to do a record that sounds like the kind of dance music you’d hear at a rogue funfair in the middle of a damp field.

“I was exploring those themes a lot and referencing late ’90s dance stuff and bass line…I was born in the north of England so there was a lot of electronic music around growing up, so it was referencing things from my past as well. A lot of the lyrical content is about my little sisters who are totally wild teenagers right now.”

What were your early experiences and exposure to dance music and the world of raving?

“I grew up in this very strange industrial building up north and there were a lot of artists who lived there and everyone was friends with each other. My dad’s friends were into dance music and I’d hear it through them. I was always out with my dad as a child and somehow I was allowed into places that you probably wouldn’t be allowed into as a child these days.

“I also remember going to a lot of funfairs as a kid and hearing that kind of music and getting really excited by it because of the adrenaline that you feel. We’d also travel around the UK quite a lot because my dad used to deliver furniture and late at night on the road it’s the time for dance music. Riding down the motorway listening to that has always been a pinnacle musical moment that influenced me as a kid.”

Favourite tracks on the record and why?

“It’s always changing…I really like the song ‘BUTTERFLY 11’. It was the last track we made for the record which was maybe why. It’s about my older little sister, she has a tattoo of a butterfly and a number 11. I also like the changes in the song at the end, I’m going to extend those bits into a full song, it’s really fun to play live.”

Were there ever any difficult moments when you were making the record?

“No. It was really easy, I usually have a hard time making a record but I guess because I was making it with lots of other people it was pretty easy. I guess the hardest part was chasing people occasionally and I did little interviews with my sisters to use as soundbites in the record – that was kind of challenging but it also wasn’t. I had already pressed the record button when I started to call one of them and didn’t even have to ask anything and she’d go off on a rant. It wasn’t that difficult at all weirdly enough.”

What other samples and soundbites did you use?

“There’s also a soundbite of my mum talking at the end. I went and saw her and just decided to record our conversations. It just felt appropriate in context with the other bits.”

What are your main musical inspirations?

“It changes all the time it’s hard to say. I like finding tiny little people. I’ll find someone that I really really like and they’re not that big and I usually just hit them up and ask if they want to make a song. At the moment I’m quite into Kibo, he’s a rapper and he’s so funny with the way he phrases things. He just put out an EP actually.”

How do you think this project differs from the previous work you’ve put out?

“It’s definitely more fun. It was a practising collaboration so it sounds different because I’m doing it with lots of different people. I just think it’s a lot more fun.”

Have you performed the tracks live yet?

“I’ve done it a few times but not loads yet. I like playing ‘NECTA’ because everyone gets really excited by the drop in that song and ‘BUTTERFLY 11’ is also pretty fun because people think the song is finished and then the best bit comes in right at the end.”

Purchase tickets HERE for BABii’s headline London show at DMY Live, taking place Thursday November 10 at The Lower Third.

Stream ‘SCREAMER’ below:

Read next: BABii, caro♡ and Roma Radz announced for DMY Live show at The Lower Third

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