Single Exclusive – stebee | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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stebee is the solo project of Steven Bardgett, singer, guitarist and songwriter in the band Mouses. His debut mini-EP called ‘songs recorded in a bedroom’ is out on 28th August and can be pre-ordered from Bandcamp. The two track, lo-fi folk-punk blast of introspective musings (all set to music made from things lying around the house) is a relatable, danceable and emotional offering that takes the negative feelings associated with the recent lockdown and turns it into something rather wonderful. 

We’re lucky enough to be given an exclusive listen to the first track of the EP, Insecure, a whole two weeks ahead of its release… And if that’s not enough we had a chat with stebee to find out more.

How would you describe your solo work and how does it differ from what you do with Mouses? 
It’s kinda lo-fi scrappy acoustic punk. It’s different to what I’m used to doing with Mouses in a few ways. It’s definitely more lyrically introspective than Mouses. Less about identity, community, hope and much more focused around mental health, dealing with trauma and my own insecurities. It’s less critical of others and more so of myself. It’s by far the most personal thing I’ve ever released. Musically, it’s stripped back and super DIY. There’s no electric instruments whatsoever, which was a conscious decision I made – that in itself makes it the total opposite of Mouses!

What are the themes within songs recorded in a bedroom?
Both tracks deal with mental health issues. The first one is about challenging my own insecurities. It’s about self-worth and constantly feeling like you’re trying to be a version of yourself that doesn’t and will never exist. The second track is about trying to change someone’s behaviour and coming to the realisation that it’s just not something you’ll ever be able to control. It’s also about how it feels to see that person’s behaviour in yourself.

Who recorded and produced the EP and what was the process like?
I recorded and produced it myself one afternoon in a bedroom in my house. It’s all really DIY and I recorded everything with just two mics. I played everything on both tracks, so there’s acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, drums, a kazoo and some pans – most of the parts are just one take, so there’s mistakes in there, but I love that part of music. It was a much quicker process than I’m used to. I set myself restrictions from the off, no electric instruments, minimal microphones, first takes etc. and it sort of made the whole thing way less stressful and more relaxing. I really enjoyed it.

Tell us more about the physical release with Butterfly Effect? 
It was originally part of the Butterfly Effect singles club. They release a super limited run of 7 inch records each month (a different one each month) and I was asked to be part of it. It was a huge honour as it’s a great label and I had absolutely no recorded music at that point, so they put a lot of faith in me. There’s still a couple remaining and there’s an exclusive cover of an Apes Of The State song that I love on side b too, the only chance to hear it is on the record!

What else have you got in the pipeline?
This was a bit of a “test the water” sort of thing to be honest, so I suppose I’ll see how it goes, but the next step is hopefully an album within the next year!

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