Sweet Babylon Prepares for Blast-Off

AI0B9916If you’re a supporter of the Rhode Island/southeastern Massachusetts punk rock scene and haven’t yet heard of veterans Sweet Babylon, you’ll want to familiarize yourself — and get to know the guys personally, for that matter. Kyle Platt, Izzy Star and Lenny Batista, collectively known as Sweet Babylon, first came together in 2011, and have been steadily releasing music and playing shows ever since. Hailing from Fall River, Mass, they’ve established themselves as proper hometown heroes, and have earned themselves a loyal following in surrounding cities as well.

Currently riding the growing wave of praise for their brand-new album, New Beginnings, released on June 30, the band is now hard at work booking shows in support of the album. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Platt, Star and Batista before their most recent show on July 27, at the St. Cecilia Portuguese Feast in Fall River, to discuss the ideas and experiences that helped to shape New Beginnings, their success thus far, and future plans for the band.

“While we were writing the album, we all kind of went through our own new beginnings,” lead vocalist/guitarist Kyle Platt explained. “I was dealing with moving to a new city, Lenny with moving into his new home and Mr. Star here was dealing with his new job.” The fact that the band chose to title the album quite literally based on their own personal experiences comes as no surprise, as they rely on similar inspiration for their songwriting. Platt shared his philosophy,“Write your experiences, and write them in a good way,” something that is easier said than done, but a method that they’ve all but mastered over the past seven years, filling albums and live performances with impossibly catchy, feel-good tunes covering topics such as relationships, the 9-to-5 struggle and of course, starting anew. “In songs like ‘Live it Up,’ where I talk about having a crappy living situation, but having fun aspects of it, like watching the cat throw up on the carpet … that’s funny, and I’m funny,” Platt said, cracking a smile, earning a laugh from his bandmates. Writing relatable songs that audiences can quickly learn well enough to sing along is a strategy that has proven effective for Sweet Babylon’s predecessors and influences — bands like Reel Big Fish, Sublime and Blink-182— and is now putting them on track for the same kind of success.

In terms of their musical style, the three members agree that they have improved and evolved dramatically since they began. “The first album was very simple,” said Star. “As we’ve gotten older, our sound’s gotten more complex. Lenny’s gotten more technical. He really outdid himself with the solos this time. He’s just phenomenal all around.”

Platt added, “We don’t really touch the first album much when we play live, on the grounds that we’ve just matured so much. We look forward to playing our new stuff.” The band’s live performances reflect their years of experience, stylistic experimentation, dedication and pure love for playing music, and like the punk/ska bands that came before them, their songs speak for themselves and never fail to give audiences a great time. To stay fresh and relevant, and to more permanently establish their mark on the scene, Sweet Babylon strives to give audiences that great time as often as possible, averaging two or three shows every month. In regard to being part of the music industry, “We’re still learning,” Star said. “We’re constantly learning. You don’t have to look at it as a job. If this becomes work, it loses what it is.”

Platt also stressed the importance of all forms of networking and promotion to keep fans interested in the band’s happenings. “We try to post [on social media] at least every day, if not every other day.” Every Monday, Lenny comes up with a new meme, and it has to be Sweet Babylon related. If it’s memes, it’s Lenny,” Star explained, then went on to proclaim Batista as the band’s “meme chef.”

“Chef Boyarmeme,” Batista elaborated.

“With this new album,” Platt added, “I went to local stores to promote the release, and we did podcasts and stuff like that, trying to stay relevant to all the people.” Now that they are regularly drawing decent-sized crowds at their local shows, and have already checked playing a show at Providence hot spot The Strand (formerly Lupo’s) off their list of goals, the band’s next big aspirations are organizing a tour and getting signed. “We’re on a good path right now,” affirmed Platt. “We’re good enough to be on the same page as other bands. I really do believe the sky’s the limit.”

“We’re gonna be the first ska band in space,” Star continued. “We’re gonna break the limit and go all the way to space.”





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