The lazy music journalist moniker “psychedelic”
has stuck to Amazing Baby since the band put posted two songs on MySpace in
early 2008. Amazing Baby is much more than the druggie hippie stereotype that
has been painted on them. This being said, I did play their music to a group
of stoned kids who really enjoyed it.
What started as a flippant recording project between Will Roan, guitarist Simon
O’Connor and drummer Will Berman (who now plays for MGMT) quickly became
a legitimate musical endeavor and MySpace phenomenon. Roan and O’Connor,
the core founders of Amazing Baby, picked up friends and friends of friends
to join them, and Amazing Baby became what it is today. Joining O’Connor
and Roan is Matt Abeysekera, Don Devore and Doc Laaxo.
Their four song EP, “Infinite Fucking Cross,” was just a light Costco
free-sample of what was to come. The band’s latest album, “Rewild”
is a satisfactory compilation of heavy rock, addictive narwhal dreamscapes,
and majestic tunes destined to be anthems of the year.
Amazing Baby is constantly being labeled as Psychedelic,
do you agree with that label?
Simon O’Connor: It’s so vague of a term. It just
means a bit of a drony 60s/70s influence rock n’ roll band, which is what
we are, but I think we’re a lot more than that as well. If you consider
us psychedelic, then you consider David Bowie psychedelic too, or T. Rex. A
lot of our influence comes from Brit Pop and bands like Pulp. There’s
a ton of stuff in there, and I have no problem with the psychedelic moniker,
but that’s not all we are.
There’s a YouTube video of you guys performing
to a group of toddlers and kids. How does that experience compare to performing
for full-grown humans?
SO: Oh my god! The funny thing about that was that was one
our first shows ever and we were playing up in Martha’s Vineyard where
Will [Roan], the singer is from, and it was kind of like family hippie, red
diaper festival. And I would say that I prefer people wearing diapers over cynical
liberal arts school graduates.
How does it feel to have Bill Murray as part of your fan base?
SO: It’s amazing. I love all of his work including The
Man Who Knew Too Little, which is a little known gem from the darker period.
Before Wes Anderson gave him his new breath of life. I do know that he thought
our name was Crazy Baby, but that’s okay.
Can you speak a bit about your earlier work for the band The Misogynistic
SO: Well, at school I was in a shit load of bands and Misogynistic
Pineapple was a very brief experiment that I was involved in with Ben and Andrew
from MGMT and my friend Judd Macintosh and a girl named Ingrid. We decided to
join a scum rock band, something very grading on the ears. We only played one
show and it went over terribly. Everyone hated it.
Your band is clumped into this Brooklyn music scene
group with constant comparisons to MGMT and sometimes even Chairlift. Does that
SO: I think being compared to them is a mistake. We sound incredibly
different. If we were all three from different cities I don’t think we’d
be compared whatsoever. We’re a group of friends, not necessarily a genre
of music and I do get irritated when we are compared to them. In reviews of
our records they often treat [Amazing Baby] as MGMT second directed, which is
absolutely absurd because the only connection we have to them is that fact that
we’re good friends. I think we intentionally create music that doesn’t
sound like each other’s groups to separate ourselves. It gets irritating
reading a piece of press on us that doesn’t mention one of those bands.
What did you listen to as a kid?
SO: My first musical love was The Beatles and David Bowie when
I was four. The first tape I ever bought was ‘True Blue’ by Madonna.
I think simultaneously I bought the ‘Batman’ soundtrack by Prince.
I loved Prince forever.
What was your first concert?
SO: The first concert I ever went to was Paul Simon playing
Graceland in Central Park. I went with my parents. But the first concert I wanted
to go to, and I begged my parents, was Nirvana and the Butthole Surfers at the
Oakland Coliseum and I was visiting my grandparents for Christmas, 1993. Nirvana’s
second to last show in the United States ever and I was 10. It just blew my
mind it was insane. That’s when I knew I wanted to do this for the rest
of my life.