Interview by Tony Cannella
With the release of their new album, “Take It Like a Man”, Butcher Babies star continues to rise. The band has been on tour with Amaranthe and the two bands have formed a potent touring combination. Having caught the tour in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, it was impossible not to get swept up in the power, energy and aggression Butcher Babies brings to a live setting. I had the chance to interview one of the two lead singers Heidi Shepherd a few weeks later over the phone and here is what she had to say.
Butcher Babies were on tour with Amaranthe. How has it been going so far?
It’s been so much fun. They’re such great people and also the shows have been huge. I think that even though we’re a very different type of metal we have the same fan base. The crowds have reacted great. It’s been a lot of fun and I’m bummed it’s ending in a couple weeks.
I caught the show in Stafford Springs, Connecticut and I thought it was great. It was my first time seeing Butcher Babies and you guys were awesome. The band has a lot of energy on stage.
Thank you. Yeah, we have a lot of fun. (laughs)
What’s next for Butcher Babies after the completion of this tour?
Well, we get to go home for a couple of weeks and then in January we leave for a tour with Cradle of Filth. We’ll be out with them until March and we’re really excited about that. We have a couple of things lining up for the summer time, but we’ll see.
So your new album is out now, it’s called “Take It Like a Man”, how do you feel that it’s been received by the fans and the media?
I feel like it’s been very well received. Our fan base has been itching for some new music and as soon as we unleashed it the reaction was insane. At the shows singing all the songs – we play a lot of the new stuff at the shows and people are singing all of the lyrics, they know all of the songs and it’s really incredible. We play “Thrown Away” and it’s really fun to see people singing with us on such an emotional song. We’ve heard great things from the media, so I hope that will keep up.
You mentioned “Thrown Away”. That’s actually my favorite song on “Take It Like a Man”. Can you tell us a little bit about what that song is about, lyrically?
You know, being on tour – we’ve been on tour for four years pretty much constantly, 9-10 months out of the year – you really lose a lot of anything going on at home. You miss life. Life happens at home and you’re not a part of it anymore. You feel like you’re kind of floating through all of these towns and other things and when you go home everything’s changed and you miss it. You and your friends have nothing really to connect on anymore and it becomes a very lonely state, and that’s what that song is about, just kind of that feeling of alienation on the road. It is emotional for us. We’ve all sacrificed a lot, family, relationships, anything at home, all we have really is each other and the music. It is a very emotional thing and that’s what that song is about.
Logan Mader from the band Once Human produced “Take it Like a Man”. How did you like working with him?
He’s fantastic. He’s so great. Logan works really fast and one thing we wanted to do with this album is to capture the live element of Butcher Babies. If you saw the show it’s very intense, very raw and energetic and we wanted to capture that on the album. Anytime we were stumped on an idea, he’d be like, “I’ve got an idea”. We always say that finding a producer is like finding a sixth member of the band. Logan was great.
I heard that the record label initially had a problem with the album title, “Take It Like a Man”. How come?
(Laughs) It’s so funny. You know, actually that totally got misconstrued by the media. That was not the case at all. Someone took a comment and turned it into that, which is not the case at all. When we walked in and we wanted to have that title, they weren’t dead-set on it and were like, “That’s great but brainstorm other ideas as well”. Because that’s their job, come up with the best you can. They were 100 % behind it but they just wanted us to come up with others ideas in case you can come up with something different. It wasn’t that they were against it or anything, it was a total misquote. (laughs)
So how did you come up the title, “Take It Like a Man”?
It’s from the song “Dead Man Walking”, off of our album. It’s not a gender based thing, it’s actually just the term “Take It Like a Man”. If you listen to the song “Dead Man Walking”, you can hear a lot of pain and things we went through as children. At such a young age, I had to learn to a degree to take it like a man, fight for my life, I dealt with a lot of child abuse and for me, like I said at such a young age I had to learn to fight for myself and fight for my life and fight for what I believe in – fight for anything I am passionate about and fight for my own opinion even. For us, we’re still having to take it like a man. The things that people say, the things that people think, even though they don’t know us at all, we have to just take it like a man, strap our boots on and walk through life or fight through it. So for us, that was a very, very prominent lyric out of “Dead Man Walking” and it fit perfectly. A lot of the songs are about the moments in our lives where we had to essentially learn how to take it like a man.
“Monster’s Ball” is the first single and video. That is another one of my favorites. Lyrically, what can you tell me about that song?
Basically that song’s about the pit. We changed it up to make it kind of seem like a circus thing, which it is. When you go to a metal show, nobody cares about what you look like, what you do for a living, everyone is in the pit for one thing and that’s just to have fun and to rock out and to release that energy. I grew up in the pit (laughs) and that was my release. For us, we wanted to kind of express that emotion that you feel in the pit that we release. It’s about the crowd surfers coming over and high fiving us. There’s all these different emotions that we feel in the pit and we release.
Last year you released the “Uncovered” EP. It included an eclectic array of cover songs, but the one that stood out for me is your version of The Osmonds song “Crazy Horses”. Why did you decide to cover this song?
I grew up as a Mormon kid in Provo, Utah and The Osmonds are from Provo, Utah – I went to high school with Donny’s son. For me, it was a song that I always listened to as a kid. I remember rummaging through my mom’s records and I was trying to find something cool that I could latch on to. I remember the opening riff of “Crazy Horses” and it was the heaviest thing that I had heard to that date and I was obsessed. I would listen to it over and over again, I would turn it up so loud the neighbors would get pissed. To me, it was a song that had always stuck with me and it was cool. The Osmonds tried to do something different at the time and I latched on to it. To this day it’s still one of my favorite songs.
Any chance for an “Uncovered” Part two?
Yes. We want to do it between every album.
Which songs would you like to cover next?
I’m not sure. We’ve come up with a couple of different ideas here and there but when it’s time it will be a surprise.
We’ve come to the end of this interview Heidi. Thank you so much for doing it and Femme Metal is happy to support Butcher Babies. To wrap this up, do have any final words for your fans?
This band has been together for 6 years and we’ve worked our butts off, but we honestly – and I know everyone says this, it is the truth – without your fan base you’re nothing. It’s been a wild, crazy 6 years and I can’t wait to take this roller coaster another 6 years with this fan base. They are the most incredible fans, they’re just so die-hard and I just wanted to say thank you.