Baby Baby’s sound is often compared to the “fun-rock” genre, a style of music that brings good times to the forefront of the music. But while the band is certainly “fun,” and they do “rock,” there’s more to what Baby Baby does than what that genre suggests.
On the Georgia quintet’s most recent album, 2014’s Big Boy Baller Club, Baby Baby bangs out a synth-spiked, riff-heavy, high-energy style of controlled chaos that explodes with infectious enthusiasm. The engine-room rhythm section of drummer Grant Wallace, percussionist Colin Boddy, and bassist Hsiang-Ming Wen creates a massive canvas upon which keyboardist Ryan Burruss and singer/guitarist Fontez Brooks spray engagingly catchy hooks. As a vocalist, Brooks resembles an unholy, modern-rock David Lee Roth, stretching his range like a rubber band while jumbling up sound-bite phrases and nonsensical asides with a veteran frontman’s confidence, a dash of hip-hop swagger, and more than a little self-deprecating humor.
The band formed in 2009 as a trio after meeting at West Georgia College in Carrollton. “We started out as just bass, guitar, and drums,” Wallace says. “And now years later, we have keyboards, an extra percussion player — the sound has changed dramatically. We’ve gone from just kind of goofing around and being silly, playing long, six-, seven-, eight-minute songs to trying to do three-minute pop songs. It’s kind of a Top-40-meets-fun-rock vibe. That’s what we’re going for.”
When a band puts a premium on not taking themselves too seriously, as Baby Baby has, they run the risk of being criticized for not taking their music seriously. Wallace says that the group has heard that criticism before, and they’re not concerned. “That doesn’t bother us at all, actually,” he says. “People can think what they want. It’s actually positive, as far as we see it. What’s the saying? ‘All exposure is good exposure?’ It’s still getting our name out there, and we’re having fun.”
The band records demos of their songs live, and then analyzes what seems to work with a crowd — and what doesn’t — before taking the songs into the studio. “We look for the parts of the song that the audience seems to like best, and then we’ll try to replicate that in the studio. If they’re not digging a part, we’ll just nix it and go back in rehearsal and throw something brand new into the song and see if it works. If the crowd’s into it, then we’re definitely going to be into it.”
That doesn’t mean that the band is going to reproduce their songs note-for-note onstage, however. “Every set changes,” Wallace says. “When we play live, the song is based off of the crowd. And if they’re feeling it, then a three-minute song can become a 10-minute song just because the crowd’s right there with you, and they want you to keep it going.”
Baby Baby’s high-energy music requires an equally high-energy performance style, which can be demanding after a long series of shows. And with an upcoming two-month stint on the 2015 Vans Warped Tour ahead of them, it stands to reason that the band might be interested in learning to pace themselves.
“I really wish there was some kind of trigger, so that I won’t over-exert myself and then wake up the next day feeling sore, but there isn’t,” Wallace says. “Every show is so much fun, and we’re always going to go for it. We’ll deal with the consequences the next day.”
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