The brainchild of rock veteran, producer and songwriter Alex Dezen (The Damnwells) and wunderkind newcomer, Amber Bollinger, LA-based Broken Baby is an uncompromising band with post-punk edge and melodic appetite. Formed out of the ashes of failed relationships, both romantic and musical, Dezen and Bollinger wrote and recorded all of the songs featured on the band’s self-titled debut EP.
For Dezen, music has always been part of his life. Whether it’s his tenure with The Damnwells, his solo career or being an in-demand writer and producer, he’s the consummate artist. His partner, Bollinger, who tours with Dezen as a vocalist, is also no one-trick pony. She’s appeared in national television commercials and has found equal success in feature films and various web series.
The new album shines with hooky melodies and grooves while never taking itself too seriously. An eclectic, refreshing style that fuses elements of rock, punk and pop into one. Broken Baby is not just an impressive debut from a band finding their footing. It's a calling card that the best may be yet to come.
AXS recently spoke with Dezen and Bollinger about Broken Baby and more in this exclusive new interview.
AXS: How did Broken Baby come about? How did this collaboration begin?
Amber Bollinger: Alex and I have been collaborating for quite a while now. While we were out on the first leg of his most recent solo tour, he brought up the idea about us starting a band. So, after we landed back in L.A we got together and wrote the EP.
AXS: What was the writing process like for Broken Baby?
Alex Dezen: For this EP the foundation was the music. When we sit down to create something for Broken Baby, it's about whatever comes into our brains at that moment, imperfections and all. We really tried to maintain our punk sensibilities by not overthinking or belaboring these songs. It's messy, it's low-fi, it's purposeful and meaningless. That vibe helped us maintain a level of humor and playfulness.
AXS: I want to ask you about the songs from the EP and get your thoughts on them, starting with “Bullets or Bummer”.
Dezen: This was the first song we worked on together and it kind of just tumbled out very quickly. At the time, we weren't exactly sure what Broken Baby was going to sound like but the rants and rapping just came out. We just went with it.
AXS: Where did the inspiration for the song, “Hurt My Heart” come from?
Bollinger: It was actually from a dream I had one morning. In the dream I was gasping for air and when I woke up I said, "I hope my heart doesn't stop."
Click here to see the official video for "Hurt My Heart".
AXS: “Don’t Be Rude”.
Bollinger: I have a friend who had posted "Don't be rude!" in a Facebook thread. I thought it was ironic and hilarious for someone to be yelling that out into the void, but I guess that's what we've come to.
AXS: “Brain Drain”.
Dezen: We opened a book and pointed at a word or phrase. It just so happened to be "brain drain", so we made a song out of it.
AXS: “Shovel Up”.
Bollinger: It's about the end of the world. So, get ready. Shovel up!
AXS: “I Won’t Make You Shave Your Face”
Bollinger: That was our attempt at a love song. We wrote it on our couch while we were watching the hummingbirds at the feeder from our window.
AXS: Do you have plans to tour in support of the new EP?
Dezen: Right now, we'll be playing in and around Los Angeles. Eventually, when it makes sense, we'd love to go on a tour.
AXS: Amber, you’re already an accomplished actress. Was getting to explore this side of your creativity something you always aspired to do?
Bollinger: Yes! I'm always interested in exploring other sides of myself and creating new things. Whatever I can do to avoid getting a real job [laughs].
AXS: Alex, are there any other projects you're currently working on?
Dezen: I’m constantly working on music, whether it's writing for myself or others. I’m also a producer so there’s always projects lined up. My next solo album, III, comes out early next year, which Amber will also be featured on.
AXS: What excites you the most about Broken Baby and this next phase of your career?
Bollinger: It's thrilling to be involved in something other than what you normally do. It's a break from the expectations you have on yourself and from what others expect from you. It’s also pretty cool that we can create music together-- and oftentimes in our pajamas [laughs].