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Badd Energy

Badd Energy

Interviewed by
Courtney Sanders
Monday 31st October, 2011 10:13AM

Multi-disciplinary artist Jessica Hansell AKA Coco Solid has been working on the latest album for one of her many projects, Badd Energy. We caught up with Hansell to find out how she differentiates Badd Energy from her other work, what the album's all about and how it feels to be signed to Flying Nun.

Tell us a little bit about what you've been up to?

Just cruising around today. I got back last night; we did a big weekend in Wellington and we played the Punkfest down there and then the next day we played a show at Freds which is an old church it was a bit of a mission and I got back last night, so I’m a bit hair brained today.

Yeah, that’s an epic weekend, but Freds is awesome, right?

Yeah totally. I kind of thought it was going to be rad anyway, but I don’t know, it’s such a cool venue.

It’s got quite an awesome little community behind it, I hear?

Yeah totally, and it’s little things like the really nice lighting in the church – all the perks of being in a church and all the cool things about a venue joined together.

So to start, tell us the Badd Energy story to date.

Me and Sam Moore, we’re good friends. We met about five years ago and he did some producing and playing on my record The Radical Bad Attack and then we decided it worked really well and we should just do a small project together. So we recorded an album Tropical Scorpio and we called ourselves Badd Energy. It was quite a low key affair compared to other stuff I was doing. We knocked it out over about six weekends just at home. That was in 2009 and then I came back from Korea this year and we did some more recording but it was kind of obvious that we’d marinated a little bit and were kind of on a different wave length to the first album. So I guess it was a bit more ambitious. And so we got our friend Trixie to come in and do some songs with us and she joined the fold and then when we started putting a live show together and we got our friend Jeremy to come in. He’s proved pretty crucial in that way – he’s multi-instrumental guy as well. We’ve put a record together and that’s going to come out at the end of summer.

Tell me a bit about the sound of the record and the vibe and what you going for when you were writing it.

The dymanic of the group is a really relaxed one. I don’t want to use the word stoner but we’re called Badd Energy as a joke because it’s a good vibe when we’re together, especially when we’re creating. It's not just psychedelic music but a psychedelic culture. We just pieced together the things we were interested in and we found out about these underwater pyramids that were discovered off the coast of Japan that pre-dated the Egyptian pyramids by 5000 years, and that became the muse for the record – underwater, ancient, futuristic.

It translates through to the artwork and video clips too. Tell me about the video for ‘Third Eye’.

Yeah ‘Third Eye’ was made by a directed called Jason Howden from Wellington. He approached us and said he was interested in doing something and he was into that track and it turns out he completely got it, totally got the buzz we were on. It’s not too hard to understand. Psychedelia isn’t necessarily a shtick it’s a lifestyle; it’s a buzz, it’s a permanent buzz. I’ve always found that shit exciting and awesome and Sam and Jeremy and Trixie are exactly the same and I think we attract that kind of energy from other people as well.

It must be awesome to collaborate with people who are on the same buzz as you. I’ve interviewed you before and you mentioned that the collaborative element was one of the most important parts of the creative process for you?

It’s the reason why I am a creative person, because of the synergy that you have with other people and the ideas and experiences you can share - whether you clash or connect it’s still really important as an artist to go out there and collaborate. I think it’s important to have a wide range of collaborations so you don’t get locked into anything. Badd Energy for me is a really cool project because it’s kind of punk and grunge and low-key side to me. I guess people don’t often see that with my other projects but anyone who knows me personally knows it’s one of the most relevant and authentic modes of me making music, just being this way.

You’re releasing the album on Flying Nun. Tell me how that came about.

That was awesome! It was a mutual approach on both sides. We had finished the record and we were really interested in putting it out on a label and we kind of discussed Flying Nun being a ‘wouldn’t that be cool’ kind of scenario and around that time they got in touch and they asked us what we’d been up to. We were really excited and we just jammed out how it would work in terms of a time line, working around everything both parties had going on and locked it down. It would be one of the highlights of my year so far.

How does it feel to be part of the Flying Nun lineage?

It’s been a real learning experience for me. I have such a stigma with labels especially being independent for so long. We were discussing a good label for the project and it was really important to us that they didn’t have that ominous label thing going on. And Flying Nun has such a strong back-catalogue but when you look at that catalogue they’re people you completely relate to as artists and they all have really strong identities and Flying Nun always respects the identities of the band and the music. So far it’s been really awesome.

You’re pretty synonymous with awesome live shows, tell me a little bit about what we can expect through November when you’re touring.

It’s a pretty low key but psychedelic affair. Trixie is the vocalist, I’m doing drums and keytar and the boys are doing everything under the sun. It has elements of a factory jam band on the outside but there’s a huge digital element there too I really like and enjoy. It’s definitely a complete mix of everything and our influences are so eclectic it kind of comes out of our pores in the live show.

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