Meet The Musician: Interview with Caspar Babypants
Welcome to #MeetTheMusician! We’re big fans of music around here, in all its forms. From the upbeat and playful to the sleepy and gentle, there’s a tune for every family with Yoto - and what better way to celebrate the joy of music than to meet the awesome artists behind some of your favorite Yoto tracks? This month, we sat down with artist Caspar Babypants to find out why music is so special to him and what goes into the creation of his upbeat, funky tunes!
About the Artist: Hello there! My name is Chris Ballew. I am also known as the lead singer of the rock 'n' roll band The Presidents of the United States of America, but if you have children I am probably better known to you as Caspar Babypants. I've been making music for kids and parents for over 10 years and have a huge library of music that you will definitely want to listen to as soon as you're finished reading this little Q and A!
Q: Share a memory of music in your childhood - why is it special to you?
A: My biggest memory of music as a child is listening to the Beatles album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band when it came out in 1967. My older brother had bought it for my parents as a Christmas gift and they filed it away with their other records and I discovered it when I was two and a half years old and basically only listened to that album for the next seven years! I loved the way that album made movies go off in my head and made me travel in my imagination. As a grown-up making music for little kids and for grown-ups, I definitely always try to access that very visual psychedelic aspect of music as I write and record my own songs.
Q: Why do you love making music?
A: I love absolutely everything about making music! I love creating something that feels real out of thin air. I love giving others the gift of melody and words that they can walk around singing to themselves to make their day brighter. I am a minimalist so I love the fact that I can record 1000 songs and they don’t take up a bunch of space in my house! I love being messy and making up songs and then making critical decisions to strengthen those songs until they're ready for people to listen to. I just love the whole process!
Q: What was it like being *drumroll please* the lead singer for The Presidents of the United States of America?
A: It was crazy! That band was just another in a series of bands that I was doing to make my life interesting and stay challenged. We did not form that band with the intention of having it become as big as it did. It was disorienting and flattering and amazing to us that our funny little songs would reach so many people. Ultimately it wasn't really for me. I have learned that I work best alone and I don't really enjoy touring because it's hard to live a healthy lifestyle on the road. I'm way happier now at home alone in my home studio making groovy little songs.
Q: If you were a musical instrument what would you be and why?
A: If I were a musical instrument I think I would be an electric piano. They never need to be tuned. They are warm and fuzzy and harmonically rich. They make everything feel cool and relaxed. So can you please make me into an electric piano now… please?
Q: Where is your favorite place to dance?
A: We have an amazing simple and spacious house on an island near Seattle and my favorite place to dance is in the big wide open kitchen of that house. We call it “twitchin’ in the kitchen”! I try to dance every day actually. I love dancing to the live version of Marvin Gaye's song “Got to Give it Up.” It's over 10 minutes long and if you dance to that song a couple of times a day you don't need to go to the gym!
Q: What’s your favorite sound and why?
A: Right now my favorite sound is the sound that a certain squirrel makes that lives near our house. We call him Star Wars because it sounds like he's shooting a laser gun! Every time we hear that sound we say “Star Wars what are you doing?” And we laugh and laugh and laugh. My other favorite sound is the sound of my wife Kate Endle’s laugh. Kate makes all the artwork for my Caspar Babypants album covers and the Yoto cards so we have a lot to laugh about!
Can't get enough of Caspar? We've recently launched two brand new Caspar Babypants music cards: More Beatles Songs and More Dancing Songs. Learn more about the musical legend behind this foot-tapping titles on his website or explore his bestselling albums in the Yoto Card Store.