At Home with Lil_Babeee_4EVA
The electronic musician gives us a tour of his home studio and tells us about the conception of his new album Horror Movie Dance Party.
It’s a cold October night. The artist currently known as Lil_Babeee_4EVA invites me to his studio. For those who don’t know, L_B_4E (who insists on being called Lil_Babeee for short) often wears a black mesh face with a black wig. Even though I already know this it still alarms me when he opens the door.
“Hey, how’s it going” he says to me. His voice is unnaturally deep, like it’s been slowed down with audio editing software. His studio is small, dark, and cold. I’m not the least bit surprised.
“Why do you say that?” he asks.
“Did I say that out loud?”
“Yeah, you said you’re not the least bit surprised.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—“
“Can I get you a cup of tea?”
“Um… sure what kind do you have?”
“That would be love(ly).”
He heads to what I assume is the kitchen. Did I say all of that out loud? Can he read my thoughts?
“Here you go.”
“That was fast.”
The tea is cold and barely steeped.
“Yes, thank you.”
Even though his mask hides his face, I can still see a big toothy smile underneath. It's eerie.
He shows me around his place, starting with the bathroom. It has a toilet, shower, sink and barely fits us both. We stand in there chest to chest for over forty minutes.
“Can we get out of here?” I ask.
“Yeah, I was waiting for you.”
We exit. He seems annoyed with me.
“Where do you record?” I ask.
“Omg in here.”
He opens a trapdoor.
I climb down the ladder. Somehow it starts getting even colder than it was before. Pitch black.
“Is this safe?”
“Just jump off the ladder! You’ll land!”, he shouts from above.
I jump and land on what feels like mud.
"It's not shit I swear!" Lil_Babeee assures me.
I can’t see a thing. The ground feels like it’s moving.
“Just head down that tunnel!”
The ceiling seems to lower as I move forward. Eventually I have to crawl on my hands and knees. All I hear is the sound of water drops reverberating in the distance.
“Lil_Babeee, are you still here?!”
“I’m right on ur ass.”
He turns on his headlamp that he often wears during live performances, yet it's somehow darker.
“Oh jeez u bonked ur head into the fricken door!” I hear him say.
A wooden door opens revealing a warm, candle lit room. It smells like incense and is about as big as his bathroom. Maybe smaller.
There isn’t a whole lot in here. A small desk with a MacBook circa 2007, two studio and a spinny computer chair.
“Spinny” says Lil_Babeee.
His hair is now blonde.
"Did you change wigs in the tunnel?" I ask.
"I don't wear wigs."
Just to the left of the desk is a large synthesizer with a smaller synth on top of it, as well as a sampler and mixer. Most of the room is taken up by a massive entanglement of patch cables that look like a rat king. Some of them tendril up the walls and appear to be…breathing?
“Hey, what the fuck happened to your tea?”
“I lost it on the way here” I explain.
“I’m not making you another one.” Lil_Babeee says.
After he bares his teeth at me for twenty-five minutes he explains this is where he recorded his latest album Horror Movie Dance Party.
“Oh nice” I say.
Oh nice? That’s the best I could come up with? What the fuck is wrong with me.
He says a lot of the songs were recorded in the summer of 2020 during one of the many lockdowns caused my the novel Covid-19 coronavirus.
“I just had a lot of free time. Would see friends here and there, outdoors of course, when we were allowed. But basically spent all my days making music.”
One of the cables wraps itself around my neck.
I start choking.
Lil_Babeee looks at me blankly.
“Whoa, dude, you okay?” he asks, unenthusiastically.
I try crying for help, but can’t.
My vision starts to go.
Lil_Babeee grabs a set of keys and begins to cut the cord.
After about thirty minutes the cable finally SNAPS.
I fall to the ground, gasping for air.
“And you sure can hold your breath for a long time” Lil_Babeee laughs.
“Ten years of swimming lessons.”
“It look me ten years to learn how to swim” I explain.
“Why did it take you so long?”
“Poor coordination. Holding my breath was not the issue, obviously.”
Lil_Babeee laughs way too hard.
Lil_Babeee_4EVA performing live at China Cloud in Vancouver, July 2022
Lil_Babeee records all his tracks in Logic Pro 9.
“It’s a little outdated but I’m used to it. I just got Logic 10 a few weeks ago but have yet to really use it. It looks a lot like GarageBand which I’m not super into but I hear good things.”
He cites Caribou, Thom Yorke, Four Tet, James Holden and Aphex Twin as major influences for this record.
“The first electronic album I really got into was the Richard D. James Album when I was like 16 or something. It kind of changed my life.”
Around that time his brother was in several post-hardcore bands circa 2005 - 2006. The guitarist in one of those bands also recorded his own solo music using a program called Fruity Loops. It was then that Lil_Babeee realized he could make music all on his own.
“In order to learn that program I would just make covers of songs I liked. So I would take like a Nine Inch Nails track and learn all the parts and the production of it and recreate the whole thing.”
But if he’s been making music since 2006, why was his first release in 2020?
“That’s a good question, for once. I’ve kind of always made music for myself just cuz it’s fun, but I think with this whole pandemic thing it was very much a fuggit let’s just put some shit out you know what I mean?”
Totally? That’s my response? What the fuck is wrong with meeeeee.
“I basically recorded a shit ton of music and picked my favourite ones which ended up being my first album White Noise Machine but then I had a couple of scarier tracks leftover. So I had the idea for Horror Movie Dance Party at the same time as my first album but then made a couple new spooky tunes for it. Took a really long time to get the track list right.”
“Is there something you hope to accomplish with this record?”
“I hope it’s scary but still listenable. Halloween music is never actually scary. I’m hoping this album gets played at Halloween parties and hopefully the short runtime is the perfect amount of time before someone gets annoyed or bummed out and turns it off.”
At this point the patch cables have tied me up and hung me upside-down in the middle of the room.
“Do you mind if we head back to the main entrance?” I ask.
“Oh yeah totally, let me get you out of this. Sorry about the mess by the way.”
It’s cool? Oh my god I’m such a loser.
We walk back through the dark, damp cave.
“Did you have a chill time?” Lil_Babeee asks me.
He leads me to the front door and embraces me for a long time (about fifteen minutes). When he releases me I see a single teardrop underneath his mesh face.
“Don’t go” he says.
“I have to.”
“But you didn’t even ask about my visual art.”
“Oh yeah who does your album covers and music videos and stuff?”
“It’s me…It’s a pseudonym.”
He pushes me out the door ass first and I fall down a spirally black hole.
I land ass first in my bedroom somehow.
All my stuff is still there.
I'm still there.
Nothing has changed.
I'll admit, I haven't actually listened to Horror Movie Dance Party, nor do I plan to, but I'd imagine it sounds a lot like the horror I'd just experienced.