Interview – Heidi Shepherd & Carla Harvey of Butcher Babies Talk Lilith

Evolution, it is a forward moving process that cannot be denied. Sure, some of us may try to halt its momentum, but if we are honest, we will embrace it with open arms. Doing just that, the hardworking Metal act known to all as Butcher Babies are proud of who they are today, who they were yesterday, all while look toward tomorrow.

Recently releasing Lilith back on October 27, 2017, the band view their third full-length album as a rebirth, one which will aid in their quest for many more years of music. Recently we caught up with front ladies Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd to talk that very evolution. A bond between creative minds, and most of all friends, Harvey and Shepherd speak candidly about growing as people, the work put into Lilith, life lessons learned, and more. – It has been a very busy past 4-5 years for Butcher Babies. In that time, you have released three full-length album and toured heavily. At this point, how would you describe the journey thus far?

Carla Harvey – It’s been obviously an incredible journey all of us. All of us dreamed of being musicians and playing in bands as kids. We all moved to LA, or came from there, with that dream to find each other in this sea of people and create this project that has taken off the way it did. It has been an incredible journey for everyone! At the moment, with Lilith, our new album, we kind of consider this a rebirth, a cleansing of who the Butcher Babies are, and who we want to be in the future. We’re going into 2017 and 2018 full force with Lilith and a fresh new look.

Heidi Shepherd – The last time we spoke, we just released Goliath. We’ve been a band since 2009, we have two EPs and three full-length albums. As Carla stated, it is a rebirth, because we’ve been together for eight years. We’ve gone from being kids to adults, figuratively speaking, growing as people. I think, when we’re in our ‘Silver Bullet,’ as we call our bus, when we’re here sharing a small space with nine people, you learn a lot about each other and you learn a lot about being an adult. I think for us, not only have we’ve grown as people, but as musicians, and taken these last eight years of our career and made ourselves into something great.

Century Media
Century Media – Absolutely, Butcher Babies has certainly grown in that time, from the band’s 2013 Goliath record to 2015’s Take It Like a Man and now 2017’s Lilith. Lilith is a bit different, tell us what the idea behind this album was?

Heidi Shepherd – I think that there are some parts of the album that was a little part of a departure from our typical sound, but I think there’s a lot on the album that’s still that thrashy sound the Butcher Babies are known for. I think, for us, we’ve always experimented in our albums. On our last album, we had a couple songs that were a little more toward the mainstream side, and I think we did it again on this album. Obviously, we hit ‘em hard with our typical thrashiness.

I think Lilith is about half and half experimental. We want to grow, we want to do different things, because if you’re going to put out the same album four times, five times, six times, it’s really stagnant and boring. I think part of growing as a musician is evolving and trying new things with your band members. Carla always says we’re very lucky, because we have a fanbase that really allows us to kind of do what we want to do, and they welcome us for it, and they grow with us. It’s a little bit different, but there’s a lot the same on it too. – Yes. Some would say Lilith is perhaps the band’s most dynamic album to date. There are some very dark moments intertwined throughout the record. That said, many of these seem to be very personal songs. Is that an accurate assessment?

Carla Harvey – I think when Heidi and I write lyrics, they tend to be very personal. We write from the heart, we always have. We’ve never been afraid to take our own life experiences and put them into lyrics and into words on paper. We love that, we love being free and open, because we know that music saved our lives as kids and we want to share our experiences of growing into women with other people who may be feeling the same things, but are afraid to express their emotions. 

Heidi and I also just love to tell stories with our lyrics. For instance, the song “Korova.” Korova is a Russian term for cow. In Siberian prisons, if you want to escape, you bring your own korova, a trusting friend, that you plan on eating over the course of your journey crossing the Siberian wasteland if the journey gets too hard. We learned about that term, we researched it. We had fun drinking wine while researching it and writing a song about it. We’ve done that on every album. For example, songs like “Grim Sleeper,” the theme is about a serial killer, Lonnie Franklin, who went through Los Angeles. We love telling stories as well, taking stories from our lives.

Heidi Shepherd – It’s fun to dive into these stories, and, as she said, to research and put yourself into the perspective. Like “Grim Sleeper,” which is off of our first album, we kind of put ourselves in the position of what the killer would feel like and what would the victim feel like. We did it again on our second album, Take It Like a Man (2015) for the song “The Butcher.” It’s fun for us to really dive into stories. Yes, our music is our therapy, and when we get to step on stage and sing these lyrics we’ve written, it’s really our form of therapy, and that’s how we grow. I think both of us really needed that in our lives to get over the things that each of us have been through.

Century Media – It is great that you have that positive outlet. Everyone needs that.  

Heidi Shepherd – Yes, if we can show one person they’re not alone and that we’ve been through that too, or we’re going through that, I think that is the most accomplishing feeling we can feel. – That in mind, as you said, this is sort of a rebirth of the band, a cleansing, a new image. When you ladies broke into the mainstream in 2012, there was a different image, and that is something you had shed. 

Heidi Shepherd – Actually, that image was not there. I know the one you’re talking about. It’s the classic Wendy O. Williams with the shape. That actually wasn’t apparent in 2012, only in 2011.

Carla Harvey – When we started this band, we were just having fun with our friends on the Sunset Strip. We started this band as a tribute to Wendy O. Williams. We didn’t know how far we would come, that eight or nine years later, we’d be touring the world together, and being an inspiration to young people. We welcomed that.

We realized that we have powerful voices and we can say things that would make a difference in other people’s lives. We decided that we were not going to be just a tribute band. We shed that whole look and the whole thought process behind that and we became our own people. Again, that is something we all dreamed about; being in a band that would make a difference. That look didn’t go with the new MO of the band.

Butcher Babies live at Webster Hall, NYC 3-8-16. Photo credit Stephen Pearl Photography.

Heidi Shepherd – That look was gone in early 2012. In 2013, when we released Goliath, we really hit it with the more mainstream with the Mayhem Festival touring with Marilyn Manson. I think with the look at that point, we had the blood, we were very Horror-based and that was really fun for the time. That was really the evolution of the look prior to that.

I think over the years, we’ve become women, and definitely more of a role model. As soon as we realized we were becoming role models to young kids, and even young women or young men, or even older women or men, as a role model in general, we started living our lives in a more positive manner as well. Not just on social media or the public eye, but personally too. 

When I look on my Facebook and I look back at the “On This Day,” of things I would posts online in 2012 and 2011, I’m just shaking my head (laughs). Those are things I wouldn’t never even say nowadays or even think about posting online, because I’m a much different person. As a band, we took a year off touring to write and record Lilith, it’s definitely a rebirth for us. We have a new drummer, we decided we want to experiment with the music. It doesn’t really matter what the public eye thinks. I don’t really care whether they like our public image or not. It’s about how we feel and how we’ve grown. – Agreed 100%. One thing you had said in our previous interview was, when you are on the road going through life, any walk of life, you are going to find phonies, opportunists, people who do not have your best interests in mind.  You had mentioned that during your previous tours, you had learned a lot about different people, perhaps, even your own heroes. Does that make you a little more apprehensive about trusting people?

Carla Harvey – That’s a very good question. I think that you have to trust people until they give you a reason not to be trusted. I think we’re all a little bit guarded. Throughout the years we’ve learned that no matter what we go through as a band, we are always our best allies, we are always our best friends and we always have each other. Which we are very lucky to have because not all bands have that. A lot of bands can’t stand each other, which is a terrible thing. We’re lucky that we have each other, trust each other, and know that we all have each other’s best interest at heart. We’re all smart people, we don’t let ourselves get taken advantage of. We look out for each other, our business, and the people we surround ourselves with.

Heidi Shepherd – I think after time, we’ve definitely grown to be able to sniff out a phony pretty quickly (laughs). None of us are kids, we’re all in our 30s and 40s. It’s something we’ve attained over the years to be able to sniff out the phonies. I think that, as you grow, you learn how to be guarded, rather than not to be just trusting of everybody. You learn what to trust and what not to trust about people.

Butcher Babies live at Webster Hall, NYC 3-8-16. Photo credit Stephen Pearl Photography. – It basically becomes an instinct. Like you said, you get inclinations about people and you should not be completely untrusting. That is a good outlook.  

Heidi Shepherd – Right, and from the initial conversation, I can think of that exact scenario when we talked about that. Over the years, since we spoke last, we’ve met a lot of our idols, who some of them have been absolute gems. They have been better than you could ever expected and we’ve become friends and good peers with some of our idols. I think there are some that you kind of steer clear from. If you meet one of your idols and they’re kind of a jerk, it’s like, ‘Oh, well, that sucks.’ Then, you meet the next one, and they’re a total gem.

Carla Harvey – We’ve also realized everybody’s allowed a bad day, and you don’t throw people under the bus because you had one bad experience with them. Celebrities, musicians, everyone can have a bad day. Everyone’s just human. Some people are just rotten eggs, but most people are just having a bad day. – Yes, that is a very good point. Not everything is as black and white as it might seem. Last question. I know you are both big fans of Horror films. What are some newer Horror films you have enjoyed? 

Heidi Shepherd – Yes, I think it was The Conjuring 2 (2016) that was scary as could be. I loved every second of that, screamed out loud in the theater, throwing popcorn in the air kind of scream (laughs). I really enjoyed that one. I think that they’ve done a good job with The Conjuring and the Insidious trilogies. It’s been so creepy, and I really liked it. 

I have also really been into Paranormal Activity. The last Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015) was really creepy. I think the second one, they may have lost their footing a little bit, but the third and fourth were great. We’re Horror movie fanatics, so I know a couple have come out recently that we haven’t been able to see yet. I did see Get Out, and it wasn’t really a Horror film, but a Thriller. I saw that it was put into the Golden Globes as a Comedy, which absolutely makes no sense! I thought that was a pretty good Thriller as well.

Warner Bros.
Universal Pictures

Carla Harvey – I haven’t seen any movies lately. I swear I have the hardest time watching movies, I just fall asleep. We will just go with Heidi’s choices there (laughs).

Heidi Shepherd – We went into the theater recently to see Thor: Ragnarok, and I fell asleep in the first 20 minutes. Then, I woke up, and I loved the movie, but that’s just normal for us… if we get a moment to sit down, and we’re in a cozy chair in a dark theater, it’s over (laughs). 

2018 Tour Dates:
2-20-18 Rescue Rooms Nottingham, United Kingdom
2-28-18 the Waterfront Norwich, United Kingdom
3-10-18 Explosiv Graz, Austria
3-13-18 Legend Club Milano Milan, Italy
4-27-18 Metropolitan Park Jacksonville, FL
5-12-18 Northern Invasion Somerset, WI
5-13-18 Northern Invasion Somerset, WI

For more on Butcher Babies: | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

For more on Heidi Shepherd: Twitter  | Instagram 

For more on Carla Harvey: FacebookTwitter  | Instagram   

Purchase Lilith

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