Words by Jessica Fynn
If one good thing has arisen from this year of uncertainty and isolation, it’s that the restless Generation Z have been forced to retreat and enter into a slow period of self-reflection. In this respect, alt-pop group, Babe Club (Jenna Desmond and Corey Campbell) have released their debut EP at a time that feels right.
With a sound marked by the gritty guitar riffs of the 70s New Wave era, ‘Remember This Feeling’ which landed on November 6th, is an EP with texture and intent: it takes its listener on an introspective ride through time and sensation. After a computer crash, a brief interlude, and a panicked phone call, Babe Club spoke to me about some of the feelings that went into the creation of their debut EP.
“It was written mostly from the growing pains of touring on the road, being isolated away from people that I knew, having so many new experiences at once and not being able to talk to anybody else who was going through the exact same things,” reflects Jenna.
“‘Future Talks,’ that’s the first song on the album. I wrote that right around the time when I first thought ok, I’m going to start playing in a band, and then I stopped shaving my legs, and I would just fight with my mom a lot. She’d say “oh, I don’t think that this is the right thing for you to do” and I don’t know, the feelings were confusing. So I wrote that song to try and convince myself that it was all going to be okay.”
Jenna started writing the lyrics for what would eventually become ‘Remember This Feeling’, almost four years ago, during a period in her life that was punctuated by indecision. Stuck at a cross roads between graduating from college with her “practical” degree in psychology, and dreams of her place in a crowded music scene, Jenna wrote lyrics that capture this process of self-growth.
“I’m definitely the kind of person that when I am going through a change, I’m extremely external when I talk, so I like to think about different choices I can make and share them with people. I’d say “I’m gonna do this, and I’m gonna do this” and it comes across as really indecisive, and so when I actually do know what I want, I sometimes feel like people don’t believe me. Now, I do feel more confident in being a musician, and trusting my artistic integrity. Four years ago, I was definitely insecure about that, but now that’s not really a thing. It’s just about making different style life-choices.”
‘Remember This Feeling’ captures many sensations. It is the sound of freedom and euphoria, the fleeting moments of adolescence, the essence of what it means to be young and in love. Running through it however, is the current of something darker and unflinching – the sound of Jenna relaxing into her career as a musician, taking the highway, blind, through a process of self-realization – the development of her artistic relationship with herself, and with Corey.
“I had just graduated college, and I totally wanted to play music, but I had to really convince myself to try to do it.” Jenna tells me. “It wasn’t something I thought I’d ever really do. “I knew that it isn’t really a sensible thing to do either…[she laughs] financially. It was something I dreamed about more. And then Corey caught me in a good, dreamy phase.”
As a duo, Jenna and Corey complement each other artistically. Sat in our respective homes on opposite sides of the Atlantic, I felt as if I’d walked in on something intimate. As individuals, Jenna channels the sparky feminine energy of Patti Smith or Stevie Nicks, while Corey has a disposition that strikes me as easygoing, unfazed. As musicians, they balance each other.
“Sometimes I’ll walk in to the house and Jenna is riffing on this new song I’ve never heard before” says Corey. “She’d listened to a podcast or something and just wrote this song based off the story in the podcast. Or sometimes it’ll be…” He trails off, pensively. “I stick to the technical side of the music, so I’m producing the tracks a lot. Jenna produces too, but in a different kind of way. I’m coming from a performing, technical sense, and she’s the taste, style and aesthetic.”
“All the euphoric things that you hear in the sound,” Jenna continues, “that’s me creating a moment in the song, and Corey then taking that to a whole new level. He knows how to make that feeling within the music.”
For Babe Club, this intimacy and shared aesthetic has been a crucial part of the creation process. They tell me that dispute over creative direction can at times be heated, but this is the passion they need to experiment as individuals. “I wrote a song the other day, “ Jenna tells me, “and Corey said “yeah, I don’t really like that first line that much,” and I said “yeah well its good,soooo”. I just got mad! I think the times when we are exploring new things, individually, are the times that we get mad at each other. Because we want the room to grow, so naturally sometimes we’ll be on different pages in that way.”
What they were in immediate agreement on, was that their hope for ‘Remember This Feeling’ was to create a sound that was quirky and nuanced, but also relatable. They want people to feel an automatic connection to their music, but also to them as artists, as people.
“I remember one time,” Jenna reflects candidly, “back when I was playing with my previous band. Someone came up to me after a gig, and they were so excited to speak to me about how much they related to some of the lyrics in one of the songs we’d played. They thought I’d written those lyrics myself. But I couldn’t take credit for that. The guy who wrote them was standing straight across from me! So I said, he’s over there. Why don’t you go speak to him about it?”
Jenna flashes a humble smile of gratitude when she acknowledges the opportunity that herself and Corey have now. “I want our audience to talk to me about the lyrics you relate to, the lyrics you love, the lyrics you hate” she says. “My DMs are open, I want to start a conversation.”
Babe Club see the release of ‘Remember This Feeling’ as the beginning of a cyclical process – releasing their music into the world, they hope to get something back – this time round, these are lyrics that Babe Club can proudly claim as their own.