To singer and musician Dre Babinski—who fronts L.A. band Steady Holiday—Union Station (where I meet her) and new beginnings are an apt metaphor. A solid force in the local music scene for the past decade as part of Dusty Rhodes and the River Band, when Babinski stepped on stage as Steady Holiday for the first time with her breezy-yet-melancholy vocals, she demarcated her solo career as an artist. I ask her how she came up with the name: “It’s partly a poke at myself—like a shitty alter ego,” she explains as we sip coffee amidst the bustling, baggage-laden masses, “I often feel like I’m constantly checked out: my body is here and my head is somewhere else.”
With only a few singles released Steady Holiday was invited to play Coachella this year and recently attracted high-calibre producer Gus Seyffert (think The Black Keys and Beck) for her debut album Under the Influence. “The second weekend was by far better than the first,” she tells me of Coachella, “mostly because my state of mind was much more stable. Everything is difficult for me at this stage because this is the first time I’ve taken ownership of something creatively and had to take care of every aspect of it—it’s a lot of pressure and I’m still learning.”
It seems that this journey Babinsky has departed on, wasn’t really one she expected: “I really didn’t believe that I’d be able to realize anything because I’ve struggled with a lot of insecurity,” she explains, “I still do. I really didn’t think that I’d be able to do this on my own.” Yet it’s this very insecurity that has created Under the Influence: “There’s a thread throughout the record, which is insecurity. It feels like it’s coming from a distorted perception of reality. They are really honest feelings but I know that they’re clouded with something: sadness, anger, or substances.”
It’s a somber sentiment, that doesn’t seem to tell the whole story for a sound that’s rarely pessimistic, and never nervous—an interesting juncture for considering a terminus, and a place for both departure and return.
Photographer: Graham Dunn.
Stylist: Santa Bevacqua.
Hair: Loui Ferry for Opus Beauty using Oribe Hair Care.
Makeup: Allan Avendaño for Opus Beauty using Diorshow.