Words Into Melodies, an Interview With BavéWritten by Selma Omar Costa by Thea Undemo
The Stockholm music scene has a new addition to keep an eye on. Bavé released his debut EP ‘In Vermouth’ in September 2021. It is saturated by escapism and takes us back to warm late nights and summer nostalgia. His charismatic stage presence is influenced by iconic guitar heroes and he has no fear of venturing into new territories. We met in his charming underground Stockholm studio to get deeper into his background, dreamy sensual sound, inspirations and first ever live performance.
What’s in your Vermouth? How often do people mispronounce the album title?
My Vermouth is both a place and a drink, which is why it's treated as the two on the album: first track is called Vermouth but the album is named In Vermouth. You’re in Vermouth, drunk on Vermouth. It’s intentional and perhaps a little confusing, but it will be a way to use the listener's own imagination and provide room for interpretation. People, at least Swedes, tend to mispronounce it and I think it might be because they think of Vermont. Bartenders always get it right though.
When you create music, what are you most inspired by?
For me, it is always first and foremost about text. Which is usually inspired by coming-of-age movies, books, teenage dramas - the classic, person X meets person Y who in turn changes one person's life over a summer. I can never get tired of portrayals of teenage love.
Where does In Vermouth transport you?
I am transported to the summer of 2018, when I moved to Stockholm after living on the island Biskops Arnö and writing music for a year. Almost everything that is treated on the EP takes place just before and after that summer in terms of time. It is and will remain the best summer of my life I think!
It is a hugely personal and intimate album for you that takes you to a specific time in life. At the same time you give listeners their own room for interpretation through the title in a way. Where do you want to transport your listeners?
I would like to transport them to love as they see it, sex, fresh fruits, the sun, swimming together with friends, alcohol, summer and late after-parties that you overstay for way too long.
In your interview in P3, you talk about your single “Summer House”, how it has a deeper meaning for you and is dedicated to your mother. But also how it reflects on class differences you experienced growing up segregated. Where is “home” for you and how does it show in you as a person?
I was born and raised in Gottsunda and kind of always thought that that’s always where home was going to be for me. But every time I go there I just feel more distanced from the physical place. Not that it has changed much but rather because I have found home to be where my friends are. And we have changed. Gottsunda still shows in me as the everyday hustler and smooth talker I am though.
You feel more distanced from the physical place, but do you feel that the place has somehow inspired your music?
I guess it might have subconsciously affected some of the themes in my writing, but not musically.
So what or whom has inspired your sound?
A lot of psychedelic rock music, Funkadelic and Jimi Hendrix for instance. But also the nature in Nancy Sinatra and the sex in Prince.
Is there any song that has had a greater impact on the body of the entire EP?
In terms of sound, I would say the title track Vermouth, which also was the first song written for the EP. It was the first track me and Leo Goldmann did where both of us had an aha moment; this is how we want the EP to sound. That song kind of became the framework or color palette that we kept looking back at while writing other songs.
When you collaborate with someone like Leo, how do you communicate a feeling between each other?
Leo and I have a very special bond where we can tap into the same energy real quick. For instance, before making ''Skies'' we both knew that we wanted to write something to dance to. I hit the bathroom for literally two minutes when I heard him playing the bass riff for it. I just entered the room again and sang ''Star-spangled eyes'' and that was that.
How did Leo help develop your sound?
I would say that it would be a combination of him being way ahead of me on the technical side of things, but also that he has a background playing in bands. Leo being a drummer levitated the shit out of my sound. I think this is what gives our music that small indie-rock vibe you sometimes can hear on the EP, but also what is now a requirement for both of us - that the music sounds organic.
What kind of music are you listening to at the moment?
I’m very much listening to the local scene at the moment - Jelly Crystal, Venus fantastic debut EP, NEY LIQA and June Vide. The sound of Stockholm has never been so sexy.
Do you have any dream collaboration?
I would love to make a Rick Rubin record barefoot at his place. I think he could push me into interesting head-spaces.
You had your first live performance at Södra Teatern in October last year.
How did it feel?
First of all, I felt nothing. I didn't even really understand what had happened until a whole day later. Once I landed it was as if every second I had spent in the studio had been leading up to that moment. Seeing hundreds of beautiful, unknown faces sing my songs is completely indescribable.
How did the gig come about?
Södra Teatern called me and I panicked because it was in two weeks and I had no band. My friends told me to accept the offer, which I did and a couple of days later Leo and I found Theo Kylin (guitar) and Karl Perlskog (drums).
You looked very comfortable on stage for your first performance. You may not have any stage fright, but is there something you tap into to make you feel at home on stage?
Actually, I do have stage fright but I was completely gone once I stood up there. I tapped into my Prince mode and I knew that standing still before the microphone was no option. The dancing part comes more naturally for me than the singing just because I've danced since I was a kid and still do. Honestly it was the singing I was worried about. Before doing the show I even called my friend Stella Cartiers (Stella Explorer) for tips. She basically told me that you always sing off-key a bit at the beginning which calmed me a lot. And I'm pretty sure I did (sing off-key), which is aight.
How do you feel like the album translates when it's performed live?
There are parts of the album that get lighter and darker when I perform live. On the EP, In Vermouth has this floral, quiet and vacuum-type vibe. Whereas live, more instruments are added and the hard, dark and psychedelic sides of it are channeled, which gives me room to behave as I do on stage. It's like the backside of Vermouth when playing it live. I want people to recognize the songs while offering them a new experience.
What did you take with you from your studies while studying at the island Biskops Arnö?
I understood the importance of isolation while creating but also the total opposite - to let people in.
It’s been a while since the EP was released and we've had the time to vibe and learn the lyrics. What can we expect from Bavé in 2022?
This year me and the team are trying to pick up the pace a bit. There will be more music and I’m excited to hopefully be able to perform again.