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July 2013 Sweet Baboo

Guest of the Month July 2013: Sweet Baboo

Sweet Baboo is Stephen Black, a native of the north Wales countryside and a single-minded, idiosyncratic singer. Black possesses an ear for a sparkling melody, a restless soul, and a gift for a deft lyrical turn – from darkly funny to piercingly tender, twinklingly boastful to deliciously self-deprecating.

We asked Stephen about applying for and receiving Funding for Individuals. He told us:

“I released an album earlier this year called ‘Ships’. It’s a loud, brass heavy pop album about the sea. Moshi Moshi, the record label, and ITB, the live agency had booked an extensive tour to promote it. Without PRSF funding the tour, financially, it would have been very tricky. I had to pay a band, hotels etc. Touring’s a pretty expensive business, even when you’re doing it on the cheap. Well the tour was a success, hooray! and the money given to me by PRSF was invaluable. It’s also been the foundation to continue touring with lots of festivals over the summer and another tour booked for November.”

What music has inspired or influenced Sweet Baboo?

The Flaming Lips at the Bristol Academy in 2003
I think is was just before they went huge. It was incredible, and over the top. Light show, confetti guns, costumes, Gruff Rhys came on in a Power Rangers helmet and sang some songs and British Sea Power supported, one of them fell back first off the stage with a marching bass drum. I’d never seen anything like it, just a beautiful chaotic and wonderful night.

Low at End of the Road Festival
I went to End of the Road Festival in 2007 (or 6). I went to see Low play on the main stage. They’re a pretty intense band at the best of times but this time, even more so. The singer, Alan Sparhawk, ended their set by windmilling his guitar into the crowd. No one was hurt so it was pretty awesome spectacle. Mercury Rev then came on and played a greatest hits set. Jonathan Donahue, the singer kept setting off imaginary doves into the crowd and they played a cover of Once in a Lifetime which seemed to last forever. It was totally bonkers and brilliant.

The Stokes at Clwb Ifor Bach
I went to see the Strokes at Clwb Ifor Bach in 2001. They’d released one single, maybe 2 and the hype around them had only just really begun. Clwb Ifor Bach can hold about 200 people but that night it seemed there was more like 500. You couldn’t move and I was right down the front. They played their first album in its entirety and that was it. Fantastic.

Brothers are a band from Cardiff who make 60’s influenced pop music. Live, they make a glorious racket and considering the youngest is 14 (guess) and the oldest 17 (also guess) it’s pretty impressive.

Gene Dudley Group
Some of the Gene Dudley Group play in the Sweet Baboo band. They’re pretty funky and lovely too.