A Still World: My Baby Loves Voodoo
Soundtrack to this piece: Out On Gin – My Baby (hit play, and read on).
Daniel: When performing, we try not to see ourselves as a band. We think of it as an experience that is shared with the audience. On stage we like to take on a certain persona. Reality and imagination are interwoven and it can become quite theatrical. I do the ritual of voodoo ceremony by introductions to the show like a ringleader. Joost is commander of Voodoo beats and dance. Cato is both narrator, muse, protagonist, purveyor of truth, fortune teller, flapper girl and everything in between.
Cato: For the song writing process we all worked together with producer Mickey Smid and a collective of befriended creative minds who came into the studio. We believe a certain form of artistic collaboration is key to success when creating new material. Sharing a vision can be a powerful thing.
Daniel: Our own respective musical influences may vary but as the collective unit MY BABY, we have been influenced and inspired by early folk, blues and gospel as well as 60’s and 70’s soul funk, west African folk, Indian ragas and dance music of all forms. Leading up to the conception of ideas for our record My Baby Loves Voodoo, we listened to a lot of folk and blues songs from the 20’s and 30’s that contained social criticism, especially songs revolving around the great depression.
Since the global financial crisis the media has often drawn a parallel in order to get a better understanding of the problems we face in our time. It only seems logical for us to explore the music of the past and draw inspiration from that but place those ideas and impressions in a contemporary context. We wanted to write about political oppression, the unequal distribution of wealth and the unifying spirit of peace and love.
Joost: Our Musical guru, Frank Sutherland, brought us together. Frank is an Indo-Dutch blues guitarist, teacher and philosopher who has been active in music as far back as the folk blues revival of the sixties. He introduced us in Amsterdam some ten years ago when we took guitar lessons from him and he inspired us to start a band together. After that, we spent years together performing in a band, The Souldiers, before we set off with MY BABY as a three-piece in 2012. But, perhaps we know each other from a previous life. When on stage we connect in such a way that it seems we have known each other for thousands of years.
Daniel: Joost and Cato are brother and sister who grew up in Holland playing and singing in their family band with their dad and two other sisters. Close harmony singing was a part of life from an early age. I’ve spent most of my life going to and fro between New Zealand and Holland being an itinerant fruit picker and blues busker on the streets.
Joost: Every artist needs to unlock his or her creative core. That journey is the most important one.
Daniel: A lot of music revolves around human suffering. Listening to it ultimately must leave us with a feeling of hope. Blues songs for instance are often about heartache, a feeling of loss that pushes you to the limit of spiritual anguish. It is a profoundly humbling experience. It is through that experience that people find recognition and find solace. That’s how music connects people. Together with our producer, Mickey Smid, we set out to develop a particular style. ‘Psychedelic gospel’ we called it.
Joost: We wanted to fuse hypnotic groove with gospel harmonies, cascading African melodies and funk riffs. A voodoo melting pot from the Deep South that seeks to put people in a trance-like spell. Over the past two or three decades dance music has become a huge part of our culture. It’s hard to fathom how many people connect and celebrate life by going to dance parties and raves. Yet this tribal celebration has been around for thousands of years across all cultures in the world. The roots of those rituals are fascinating to us and we have made that trance-like hypnotic groove an essential part of our live performance, but it is also prevalent on a lot of the album.
Cato: It was our second time playing at the Landjuweel Music Festival – we played a small stage last year. We have visited Landjuweel many times! There is an enormous amount of freedom and genuinity – there is a collective consciousness that vibrates throughout, and playing to such a crowd is a joy. The gift of positive energy is such a reward. I think we ended up doing a three-hour set – we could have played all night!
Daniel: Unfortunately “the music industry” is still very much stuck in the 20th century. And you can’t quite circumnavigate it yet. Old codes are firmly in place and it is still very hard to get new and original music past media institutions that can make or break you. But as with everything in life it is a question of belief and perseverance.
Cato: We are currently working on our second album. It should be finished early 2015. But we still have plans to distribute our first album throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand. No Depression, the lead cut from Loves Voodoo, is doing rather well in England at the moment.
Joost: Also we will be releasing a new video clip/art of our song Juno Moneta. A collaboration between us, Ruben van Leer and Dim Balsem combining footage shot on location in India, and digital images of Cato, shot using kinect cameras. A unique and original concept by Ruben.
Daniel: And touring of course! We have toured in the UK in October and plan to return in April. We will travel to Eastern Europe in late November followed by Japan, New Zealand and the US in December/January. It is a very rewarding existence being able to see places and meet people in such a way. That experience you share is what determines the quality of your life.
Of course we have ambitions next year to continue to travel far and wide and spread the voodoo. And India is certainly on the list. Also we plan to sit amongst Buddha statues in Chinese gardens and listen to raindrops falling on leaves and in puddles. It’s orchestral. Music is everywhere.
My Baby is a three piece psychedelic blues act from The Netherlands, featuring Cato van Dijck on vocals and guitar, Joost van Dijck on drums and vocals and Daniel de Vries on guitar. They have released one studio album titled My Baby Loves Voodoo. Read more about them on their website here, or their Facebook page here.
Photo Credits: Nirupama Belliappa at the Landjuweel Music Festival
All images © IndiEarth and EarthSync Pvt. Ltd.