No rules, zero expectations: In conversation with Baby T
Earlier this year B.Traits, real name Brianna Price, decided to take it all the way back to the beginning, breathing new life into her Baby T alias, the moniker she began DJing under at the age of 18.
Having built a reputation as a fierce selector and radio broadcaster on BBC Radio 1, Brianna’s movements into production also marked the beginning of her own IN.TOTO imprint, and have extended to her work on her multi-sensory Paciphonic AV show.
Now, finding herself in a more receptive musical space with no one else’s expectation to adhere to but her own, it felt like the perfect time for her to revisit Baby T and the sounds that first fuelled her passion for DJing. Taking a “zero fucks” approach, Brianna hails this move as something of a reclaimation, bringing to the fore her influences in drum & bass, hardcore and jungle.
Her first EP as Baby T is evidence of that. Finding a home on Berlin’s Samurai Music, Portra is made up of three versions of the title track – Hybrid, Ambient, Jungle – and signals the direction she’ll be travelling in for future Baby T excursions.
Following the release, we chatted to her about the motivations behind the change, being in a more receptive musical climate and her thoughts on being an artist in lockdown…
Hey Brianna, how are you doing?
Hi mate, Im OK thank you for asking! Taking it one day at a time, like everyone 🙂
We’ll chat a bit more later about how the lockdown has been for you, but first let’s talk Baby T. You recently decided to go back to your roots and relaunch your first alias. What made you want to revisit the moniker?
Baby Traits was the very beginning of my career, but back then, our scene was completely different in terms of diversity when it came to gender. I was very young when I started touring as a DJ, and felt I had to adjust the way I DJ’d, dressed, and carried myself to avoid unwanted attention and to be taken seriously. I abbreviated Baby to B so my name was more gender-ambiguous and I was more aggressive back then, with an insane work ethic and drive. I love thinking back to that energy I had, everything was new!
Lately I have been revisiting the genres that made me first fall in love with dance music; hardcore, jungle, and drum n bass, and realised that those tempos and that energy is still at the very core of my passion.
You’ve mentioned it being something of a reclamation, and that by revisiting this alias now, you’re able to do exactly what you want with zero fucks. As well as gaining a lot of experience and knowledge since the early days of Baby T, do you feel that you’re also operating in a more receptive musical environment now?
Yes! I wanted to re-launch Baby T so that I could take the shackles off… Our community is much more receptive and welcoming to new ideas and projects now that ever before… and sometimes being too eclectic can be confusing to your audience, so I believe it’s good to create an alias when the time feels right, an altar-ego of sorts, to breath fresh air into what you are creating. With Baby T, the way I create is totally different than when I am in the studio as B.Traits. Baby T has no rules, I let the sessions flow more, I think because there is no specific expectation of the result.
When you first started DJing as Baby Traits, what artists and labels were you finding inspiration in?
In the very beginning, I was playing a lot of trip hop and downtempo. Artists like Deltron 3030, Bonobo, DJ Shadow, Massive Attack, Portishead etc. I was in the deep sticks of Western Canada, where Alternative Rock was really the only genre you could hear on our local radio stations so to finally come across UK labels like NinjaTune and Mo’Wax was monumental for me.
Fast forward to 2020, are there any contemporary producers in that same sonic sphere that you’re keeping tabs on?
Calibre is still absolutely killing it. It’s incredible, he’s maintained his signature mood throughout his entire career.
Obviously you’ve come a long way since the early days of Baby T, how do you see the moniker evolving? What does the future of Baby T look and sound like?
It’s been nice to do something ‘new’ again after growing and evolving B.Traits for so long. Baby T is a chance for me to do something different in terms of performance as well, I have been interested in creating a live show for ages, but it never felt right to do it as B.Traits.
Baby T represents the more creator/artist side of my personality, rather than the front facing DJ/Presenter that B.Traits has grown into.
Honestly I have no idea what will come next as with the current COVID-19 situation all of my debut Baby T shows have been postponed, so now I have all of this time to properly develop and execute what a Baby T album or live show would be like! more on that soon 🙂
With all the diverse projects you’re invested in, we imagine you have some other fresh projects in mind. We read that you’re taking some time off touring this year to spend time in the studio, will the focus be predominantly on Baby T productions? We hear you’re developing A/V shows too…
haha yeah well I had planned to tour less this year and magically ALL dates have now been postponed, so I have loads of time to work on all of the creative projects I have on the go. Developing Baby T is certainly one of them, I’m aiming to come out of this with an album but I cannot promise anything…. I also am working on Paciphonic stuff, and doing this during this crazy time has been incredibly fulfilling and grounding, I’m meditating more, further exploring sound medicine techniques, and sharing this with others who are in need of it. I had also always intended to go back to presenting of some sort post my BBC Radio 1 show, so the quarantine has fast tracked all of this and it looks like Ill be launching a radio / stream show from my home any day now!
Let’s bring it back to the present and the current circumstances we find ourselves in. What has your experience been like as an artist in isolation?
I have found myself being quite content in isolation. I am blessed to be able to be creative during this time and am (hopefully) using this downtime wisely in exploring the different creative avenues I have always wanted to. Obviously feeling incredibly thankful to have some other means of income aside from DJ gigs, I do a lot of voice acting / voice over work in cartoons and adverts. Having this backup has also enabled me to help my peers in need by supporting and buying more music.
The impact of Covid-19 over the last month has definitely exposed the fragility of the music and arts scene. What lessons do you think the industry can take away from the situation?
It’s scary for our industry because we cannot see the end result of this yet and no one knows what it looks like. I think one lesson we are certainly learning is to actually and honestly look out for your peers, check in and try to help others who might be struggling. If you can offer some means of help or support then do it and action it.