There's a new band in Charleston that sounds straight out of the '90s and it's called Baby Yaga.
The three-piece grungy rock outfit features singer and guitarist Presley Randall, who has volunteered at summer rock camp with nonprofit organization Carolina Youth Action Project; bassist Avery Greeson of local band Whitehall; and drummer D.J. Edwards, the founder of Real South Records.
The band's infectious, upbeat sound has already won over crowds at The Royal American, with the first two shows packing out the standing-room local venue. And now, Baby Yaga has some music that you can listen to online.
Check out the lyric video for "Not Even!" Charleston Scene's first song premiere of 2019, and our Q&A with the band.
Q: First, I've got to ask where the name Baby Yaga comes from.
Presley: The name Baby Yaga is a play on one of my favorite figures in mythology, Baba Yaga. She's portrayed as an evil witch but ... she's kind of like the Professor Snape of folklore. I also have a fun character named "Baby" that I like to play sometimes. I have dozens of skits written about her and dream of making a YouTube channel for her one day, but for now she rests well away from the public eye.
Q: Tell me more about the making of this lyric video for "Not Even!" Why do you think lyric videos are so popular?
D.J.: We wanted the lyric video to keep our new fans engaged in our music, but we wanted to do it in a way that wouldn't be cheesy — no bouncing balls on the words or anything like that. Lyric videos are popular because fans want to really know what singers are saying. There's only so many times you can mumble through your favorite song before you finally give in and search the lyrics. Everyone loves videos, and we hope that we're writing at least someone's favorite songs, so a lyric video was the obvious next step.
Q: What are your influences on the music side of things? I'm hearing a wide range, from more pop stuff to more punk.
Presley: So all of my favorite music comes from the '90s, but I'd have to say my two biggest influences have been Pixies and Weezer. We've been compared to the female-fronted bands Diet Cig and Bully, but I actually hadn't even heard of them until after writing our current set list for Baby Yaga.
I have zero experience writing music up until this point, so it's hard to say how I've come to write the songs that I have. But the singular influence that got me to actually pick up a guitar for the first time was hearing "Your Best American Girl" by Mitski.
Something just clicked when I watched her play in the music video. I was like, "I'm pretty sure I can pull off whatever she's doing on that electric guitar," and that was about a year ago.
Follow Baby Yaga on Facebook at facebook.com/baby.yaga.band.