Basement Babes: How about we start off with introductions. What is Birthing Hips (as a unit) and who are all of you (as individuals)?
Birthing Hips: When acquaintances miraculously survive a plane crash unscathed, they conclude that since they are “living on borrowed time” they should band together for hazardous adventures. The four — pilot Andres “Ace” Abenante, daredevil Carrie “Red” Furniss, fearsome Owen “Rocky” Winter, and scientist Wendy “Prof” Eisenberg — became the Challengers of the Unknown.
Soon famous, the Challengers accept many “unknown challenges” from The Pentagon, mad scientists, and people with a problem. Over time the “Challs” establish the hollowed-out Challengers Mountain as headquarters. Later they adopt an hourglass logo to symbolize time running out. They encounter genies, common and sophisticated thieves, aliens and robots good and bad. Their adventures later veer toward superheroics, and take in everything from occult menaces to Bermuda Triangle mysteries. The Challengers travel through space, time, and other dimensions.
But in all seriousness, we came together because we were friends and wanted to play fun and different music together. We are all a bunch of freaks and none of us are cis white dudes so that is really cool. It’s scary to contribute to an art world dominated by said dudes but we think it’s really important for different voices to be heard.
BB: The music coming from Birthing Hips is unlike a lot things people have heard before. How would you describe your unique sound?
BH: we try to choose the most surprising option every time . it is important to keep everyone on their toes. It is important to keep everybody scared.
BB: You are all trained musicians who have attended music-based high schools and/or colleges. How does your training influence the music you play outside of classes or lessons?
help we are machine
,<robot teach me to feel
But in all seriousness – we hold ourselves to incredibly high standards when we rehearse so that we can fuck around when we play. Precision is not just precision. We’re used to having to repeat stuff and do stuff older people tell us is good and we still do that except we are now the older people. We allow the rehearsal time to be a time of pure exploration where we can learn a lot of stuff by making mistakes or fooling around and trusting each other.
BB: Where do you all personally draw inspiration from (musical or otherwise)?
We luv Dna, Captain Beefheart, Anthony Braxton, Kate Bush, Betty Davis, Melt Banana, Sonny shar(ROC)k, Everybody Loves Raymond, Master Chef Junior, Futurama, Rick and Morty, early seasons of Broad City, Shark Tank, THE SELENA MOVIE !!!!!, Andrea Pensado, The Simpsons, Chopped, X Files, hikes, long walks, the gym, catamaran, the contact lens, the steamer trunk, our folks, bellies, queerness, ladies.
hard work — good fortune
sum of all influences ; master of some
BB: What are your thoughts about scene inclusivity? What do you think we, in any music scene, could do to create more inclusive, more diverse and safer spaces for both musicians and fans?
BH: PUT ON MORE SHOWS IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF TOWN WITH PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THOSE PARTS OF TOWN. SOME PEOPLE CAN’T COME TO SHOWS ON WEEKDAYS IN ALLSTON IF THEY LIVE IN OTHER PARTS OF TOWN. SOME PEOPLE HAVE TO WORK REALLY EARLY IN THE MORNING AND DO HUGE COMMUTES. DON’T FUCK THESE PEOPLE OVER. DON’T FUCK OVER YOUNG PEOPLE, DISABLED PEOPLE, QUEER PEOPLE, MARGINALIZED PEOPLE. THEY ARE THE SCENE. PAY ATTENTION.
TAKE MORE RISKS BOOKING YOUR LINE UPS. DON’T RELY ON SAFE DRAW BANDS. CHOOSE PEOPLE IN TOWN YOU HAVENT HEARD AND NUr/t===ure THE WORK THEY MAKE. IT WILL MAKE YOU GROW. IT WILL MAKE A DIALOGUE HAPPEN. FIND PEOPLE WHO MAYBE WORK WITH YOU, WHO ARE SHY AT SHOWS. TALK TO THEM IF IT SEEMS APPROPRIATE. SEE WHAT ART THESE PEOPLE MAKE.
MORE BOOKERS IS A GOOD THING – ROTATE BOOKERS. WE NEED ALL THE POSSIBLE POINTS OF VIEW WE CAN GET (IF THOSE POINTS OF VIEW ARE NOT RACIST AND FUCKED UP, OBVIOUSLY). BOOK THE BEST BAND POSSIBLE FOR THE SITUATION. FUCK HYPE BANDS, FUCK BANDS THAT EXIST TO SELL SHIT TO YOU. FUCK BANDS THAT ESPOUSE MESSAGES THAT FUCK WITH PEOPLE’S HEADS. STOP CARING ABOUT COOLNESS.
TRAVERSE THE CLIQUES OF THE SCENE. MORE WORK COULD BE DONE TO CREATE A DIALOGUE….IF MORE PEOPLE IN THE SCENE POOLED THEIR RESOURCES, MONEY AND OTHERWISE, WE COULD AFFORD TO TAKE THE RISK OF BROADENING OUR SCENE. HELP EACH OTHER OUT. TALK TO EACH OTHER. SUPPORT EACH OTHER.
THERE SEEMS TO BE A DEFEATIST ATTITUDE AROUND IN THE ART WORLD. IT DOESN’T SEEM LIKE PEOPLE WANT TO TRY TO GIVE WEIRD MUSIC THE CHANCE IT DESERVES BECAUSE WE ARE USED TO HEARING IT FAIL. THAT FAILURE IS EVINCED IN THE BROADER CAPITALIST SPHERE AS WELL AS IN OUR BASEMENTS. IF PEOPLE LIMIT THEIR SCOPE TO WHAT THEY THINK IS APPROPRIATE FOR A SCENE, THAT SCENE SELF-PERPETUATES AND STAYS STAGNANT. THIS DISCOURAGES YOUNG FREAKS FROM DOING THEIR OWN NEW MUSIC AND ERASES ANY HOPES THEY MIGHT HAVE TO PUSH THINGS IN A NEW DIRECTION. FIGHT THIS.
CHALLENGE THE MUSICAL AND AESTHETIC VALUES OF A SCENE. PLURALITY IS ESSENTIAL. DON’T TOKENIZE YOUNG CREATORS, BUT GIVE ALL PEOPLE WITH INTEREST AND FOCUS THE CHANCE TO REFINE AND ESTABLISH THEIR VOICE, PARTICULARLY IF IT DOES NOT SEEM TO RESEMBLE YOUR OWN (YET).
BB: What advice would you give to someone who is underrepresented in the music world and wants to pursue music? Any advice on dealing with the haters?
BH: If you want to pursue music, you have to pursue music. The haters and the systems will always be there to fuck you. There will always be someone who hates what you’ll do…. You will always be brought up just to be put in your place a moment later, so you have to please your aesthetic/soulful requirements first. Don’t marginalize yourself before others will (and they will)– be as smart and strong and weird and different as you can be and work up to your highest capacity so that you can sleep knowing that the work you do will transcend (has already transcended) your situation. Most of our favorite music comes from underrepresented people, people who lived on the margins of society or were systemically beaten down within the racist, sexist, classist, transphobic, able-ist white capitalist patriarchy (the Heg, if u will) and it might be that that chip on their (our) shoulders gives the music an emotional and artistic heft , a sense of necessity, that other musics didn’t “need” to have. That’s vitality…
It’s not so simple as “fuck the haters” because that leaves the door open to boring, reactionary music that borrows from the haters’ aesthetic and material tropes. Definitely fuck their opinions, but try to make music that taunts them with your own originality, the uniqueness of your own resourcefulness and voice rather than their boring 60 year old pitch material.
Featured in Basement Babes, Issue 16