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THE BABYSITTERS CIRCUS

The Babysitters Circus are heading, hopefully in toga, to Massey Palmerston North on Thursday, March 1. Tickets can be purchased online at musa.org.nz

Like many, you may have had the song Everything’s Gonna Be Alright Now by The Babysitters Circus (TBC) stuck in your head. Its hook has not only been featured in a large amount of airplay but also in all sorts of promotions, including for the Rugby World Cup.

The song could perhaps be interpreted as an optimistic reference to the post-apocalyptic world that those who share shelter in TBC member Jason Kerrison’s infamous Ark, can look forward to. For further inquiries into such conspiracy you may have to pursue them at various O-Weeks across the country. If you haven’t heard the song yet, jump on YouTube and look it up – you should find their music video featuring a dancing flash mob.

There is however, more to this group than the pop single. Massive magazine interviewed the vocalist Jamie Greensdale in an effort to uncover more ahead of their performances at O-Week events throughout the country.

The single can be seen as a pop song combining many elements of different genres with an unbelievable head-sticking catchiness.

Jamie explained that this mash of genres reflects each of the member’s musical backgrounds. “I bring hip-hop, Selwyn brings a lot of soul – he’s a soul singer and [brings] bluesy funk and soul kind of elements. Tim [Kiddle], he has a pretty heavy rock background with The Feelers and Opshop. Then Jase [Kerrison, of Opshop] brings his rock and singer-song writer background, but he is DJ-ing and singing in this band, so he’s bringing quite a strong electronic focus to what we do, because he has been doing a lot of electronic and, you know, electro funk kind of stuff.”

No member is predominant in the music-writing process. “It is a shared co-creation.” Such co-creation makes the group intriguing, especially upon the discovery of other tracks online that seem to deserve a hip-hop categorisation while still cohesively sounding like a song from the same group.

The group has gained attention quickly, most likely from their status as a super group with members of Opshop, the Feelers, and Maitraya. The name is derived from the way they formed, jamming together while collectively babysitting.

The four had been collaborating long before this though. “We all knew each other from a bar called Embargo in Auckland, where Opshop formed. Jason used to play there, it was a backpackers’ bar and he played there doing covers. He and Tim Skeddon went to school together in Christchurch, he invited Tim to play there.

“Selwyn, who is the other vocalist, he used to come in, started singing once in a while with the boys. I just knew Jase from the scene. I used to go to the same bar and I just got up and started rapping with them a few times and ended up doing that once a week as well.”

TBC may seem to have potential to be all over the place as you try to piece together these musical backgrounds in collaboration, but Jamie clarifies that “the only general theme to it is everything’s danceable – that’s our only rule. Whenever we present a track to the boys, that’s our only criteria. Genre-wise, it goes everywhere.”

Despite the mix of genres, it seems the tracks mostly amount to pop songs that the masses would be pleased with, something you can enjoy but your mum will, too. The group can be seen to be as serious for its members as their other projects.

“For me, there’s no main thing,” says Jamie. “We are pretty dedicated and this seems to be taking up a lot of our time in terms of creativity and performance.”

With this commitment of time we can expect more tunes to be made available for purchase soon. TBC is currently mixing and mastering a second single for release in early March and could have their album out in May. Between now and then they are playing a lot of shows.

Performances are centred on involvement with the crowd. “As much as anything, we want to create a party vibe.”  In their recent performance in the Square in Palmerston North, their onstage wardrobes were the centre of media attention. The purpose of ridiculous costumes was explained. “We perform in pyjamas partly because it’s easy wardrobe-wise. Also, nobody can take you seriously in pyjamas and we don’t want anyone to think that we are taking ourselves seriously.”

With their appearance at Musa’s O-Week being at the toga party, it seemed the not-too-serious approach might be appropriate. “Toga’s sound pretty unserious to me – I’ll try and wear a toga.” On top of a toga and party vibe you can also expect a bit of te reo, Jamie having included it heavily in his solo work and now bringing it into this project.

When asked what he was looking forward to at O-Week, playing alongside Homebrew for the first time came up.

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