Since their formation in 2010, Butcher Babies has become a notable addition to the metal scene, earning a multitude of dedicated fans through their lively stage show and potent music. The band has had a handful of releases over the past few years, including Uncovered, their most recent EP which came out last September and consists of five tracks by artists ranging from The Osmonds to ZZ Top that the group had put their own spin on. Now gearing up to play a supporting role in In This Moment’s North American Black Widow tour, they are paving the way to debut their currently untitled sophomore record, which is set to be released later this year. Below, co-frontwomen Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey discuss musical growth, the creative process behind a Butcher Babies’ album, and plans for this touring cycle and beyond.
The band is about to embark on an extensive North American tour with In This Moment—how do you guys prepare for being on the road?
Heidi Shepherd: We love to tour. I’ve always said that I would rather be on tour than sitting at home. So, I’m always excited to be on the road. To prepare, I exercise like crazy. With our live show being as energetic and intense, I have to keep my cardio up and stamina high.
What are your personal favorite songs to perform live? Which get the best crowd reaction?
Carla Harvey: “Magnolia Blvd” because it’s our last song, then I can get off the stage and start drinking. Plus, hearing the crowd sing along to that song is incredibly rewarding.
HS: “Jesus Needs More Babies For His War Machine” is my favorite to play live. That song gets the crowd into a frenzy. Over time, we have realized what will make our crowd move. “Jesus” is the perfect pick me up!
You guys recently wrapped up your second LP—how will your sophomore release differ musically from Goliath?
HS: The new album is finished and we are really excited for everyone to hear what we have created. In true Butcher Babies fashion, we put it all out there. This album will extract every major emotion one might have. It’ll make you happy, angry, sad, and energetic—even maybe in one song all at once. We put a lot of emotion into it and know that other people will feel what we felt. All of the songs carry their own identity and flavor, which is exactly what we were aiming for. We have a release date during the summer of 2015. Can’t wait to unleash this beast!
CH: We are all so proud of the new stuff; it is definitely a step above what we did with our debut album. We’ve continued to grow, yet at the same time we have remained true to the aggressive sound that we started this band with.
What is the creative process behind writing new music?
HS: As a band, all five of us sit in a tiny room and jam out. We all have a say in every note, every symbol hit, every lyric—everything. One thing that we find very important is that we all feel like these songs represent every single one of us. So far, we’ve succeeded in doing so.
How was working on this album different than making your first?
HS: Actually, this will be the fourth installment of a Butcher Babies release. Our very first EP was released in late 2011. Every album since then has been a growth and evolution of the band. Just like most bands do, we have learned a lot about our fanbase during the past three years of constant touring. We are and always have been a band with a party vibe during our live shows. We wanted to develop more songs that would make the crowd move, so, we did!
CH: For this album we wanted to go back to our roots a bit, which were heavier and thrashier than Goliath. When we play live, fans really connect with our older stuff like “Jesus Needs More Babies” and “Mr. Slowdeath,” so we wanted to bring that vibe back but with a fresh perspective, as we have grown as musicians since we wrote those songs years ago. The special thing about Butcher Babies is that our individual metal influences are so vast that when we sit down to create something together, it’s always going to be very different from anything else out there.
Is there anything you particularly hope to accomplish with the new record?
HS: We’ve always thrived on evolution. Growing with your music is important. With honest music that makes you move, it’s hard not to connect and grow. Also, with this album, we hope to secure the ability to release more and more and more music!
Can fans expect new music on the Black Widow tour?
HS: Absolutely! We have been itching to play this new music live for so long that we can’t wait any longer. So, whether it be a festival, headlining show, the In This Moment tour or us passing through a Flying J, the new tunes will be heard on this next run.
What were your first experiences with music growing up, and do you feel that they still affect you today?
HS: I grew up in a family where music was very important and prevalent. However, we were not allowed to listen to metal. My family thought it was evil. So, being the natural rebel I was, I immediately gravitated towards Slipknot, Korn, Limp Bizkit—I was a product of the nu-metal generation. This is something that still gets my blood pumping. There’s nothing like some good nu-metal madness to get me excited about life.
It seems like the band tends to get a lot of criticism from online trolls who criticize your look and sound. How do you handle haters?
HS: I honestly couldn’t care less what “trolls” have to say. Someone will always have something bad to say about someone else. I don’t have time for their negativity. With every negative comment, there is an army of Butcher Babies fans who support what we do. That, to me, is more important than anything any “troll” could say.
What are the band’s plans for after the tour, and the rest of spring and summer?
HS: We will be in Europe for most of the summer, slaying away at the summer festivals. We are stoked about venturing back over the pond to see our European friends.
CH: We have a lot planned for the end of the summer and early fall but we can’t divulge that info just yet!
Butcher Babies will be performing at The Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ on April 18, the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA on April 22, and The Paramount in Huntington, NY on May 14. For more information, go to butcherbabiesofficial.com.