In 2015, the give-no-fucks garage punk of Mommy Long Legs stole the hearts of Seattle underground music fans, many of whom knew every line of the band’s anti-capitalistic anthem, “Assholes” (and even now, Mommy Long Legs’ 2018 song, “Call You Out,” has become a viral hit among twenty-somethings on TikTok).
Despite the major love for the group, the band had a bad break-up in 2018, convincing Lolli Morlock, a driving member of Mommy Long Legs, to take a long, self-imposed break from music. But on May 21st, 2022, Morlock ended her musical seclusion with All Babies Go To Hell, the debut EP from bratty post-punk Hell Baby, a four-piece outfit for which Morlock is a dominant songwriting force.
Hell Baby was born in 2019, when Morlock began regularly jamming with new friends like Sylva Helgager (of The Carols and Plexi), after her workdays tattooing at Bad Apple Tattoo in Seattle’s International District.
“I found a lot of my identity and myself in Mommy Long Legs. Not having that anymore was really such a shock to my system and it took me actually years to feel confident playing music again,” says Morlock. “I thought for a long time that I wouldn’t be able to have that with another band, but slowly I started jamming and playing music with Sylva.”
Eventually, Sidney, a drummer Morlock knew from Everett-based band Sleepover Club, and guitarist Spencer Johndrew, who is also co-founder of the band’s label Youth Riot Records, joined the jam. Soon, the foursome began writing songs together and decided to form a band, which they named after one of the cheeky cherub tattoo Morlock drew for flash event at her tattoo shop.
At the same time, crediting the pandemic’s isolation with giving her more time to look inward, Morlock entered therapy to process a recent romantic relationship that had re-triggered a lot of her childhood trauma and trust issues. Her personal journey over the last few years brings a depth and unguardedness to the EP’s lyrical content, primarily written by Morlock.
“I’ve never come from such a vulnerable place when I’ve done any songwriting. It’s always been a joke or a half-joke, or talking about in Mommy Long Legs these like big structures we’re trying to dismantle and shout about and this is way more personal to me,” says Morlock.
On the bouncy opening track, “Pink Convertible,” Morlock directly calls out her ex’s lying, shout-singing, “You said you don’t/Lie but it goes to show/I’m driving in my car alone,” which she imagines as her dream car—a pink Cadillac convertible.
On “Hell,” the band’s first-ever song, Morlock’s lyrics—disjointed and chaotic at times alongside a repetitious and uneasy guitar melody—conjure the feeling Morlock would get during their arguments.
“We started writing ‘Hell’ just out of a jam, so [I heard] that little bass riff and then I came up with that windy guitar part,” remembers Morlock. “Then that sort of evoked this spirally feeling that I get when I’m upset and triggered.”
Though the songs have become more personal for Morlock, they still bring the heat. On “100%” for instance, the energy throughout is high and the snark is palpable as Morlock’s girlish voice lilts over a heavy, driving lick in the bass and guitar, and builds to a deranged shout at the chorus. With the lyric, “Consent/To terminal occupation/Consent/Subliminal violation/Consent/Was written in application/Consent/The value of your ambition/No less than 100%,” the garage-y banger calls bullshit on the capitalistic mindset that’s filled Seattle’s streets with Yuppies and hyper-modern townhomes.
“That one was just sort of an ironic take on like, the 9-to-5 workday and how you’re supposed to be investing every single ounce of your energy into the system,” explains Morlock, adding that the band plans to put out a music video for the song, featuring the members of Hell Baby as ragged, coked-out corporate shills completing a business merger with four sex dolls.
Such a wacky scene encapsulates Hell Baby’s devilish sense of humor—which saturates All Babies Go To Hell—and the way the band members support each other’s creative whims. It makes the EP a very cohesive and fun listen.
“I have never felt so open playing music with a group of people before. First of all, we have a hilarious dynamic with one another. We have a lot of chemistry as a group and we really balance each other out. If I have an idea, people are down to explore it,” says Morlock. “We’re all coming at it with out own vulnerability and we’re all trying to heal. When you can really connect with a band and like, have a method of [writing together] that feels good for everybody, then that’s really special and pretty rare.”
Hell Baby plans to go on a mini West Coast tour down to Humboldt County this summer and to release a full length within the next year. In writing the new album, Morlock says she’s got every intention to continue to bring in more of her personal life. After all, we’re each walking through our own brand of hellfire.
“I was always worried about being vulnerable in that way in my music but… the world is so utterly fucked up and so blatantly in our faces right now that like, it’s kind of like, well who gives a fuck?” she said. “I’m just going to say how I feel.”
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