Sir Babygirl On "Hardcore Bubblegum" and Producing Her Debut Album

Credit: Eli Raskin

Credit: Eli Raskin

There’s a lot going on in Kelsie Hogue’s debut album, Crush On Me. The frenetic energy running like a vein through her first full-length effort as Sir Babygirl draws on the ghosts of 90’s-era pop and alt-rock, but at no moment is the sound not fully, completely her own. Songs like “Pink Lite” (“I smoke too much for a non-smoker”) and “Haunted House” (“I can’t wait to lose all my friends in one night”) are ferocious, tongue-in-cheek meditations on being young and insecure in a still-developing identity. Ultimately, though, Crush On Me feels like a crucial step in Hogue’s process of owning that identity. Its brashness is infectious; we dare you not to listen to this album and feel like you, too, can be a badass.

The New Hampshire-based “DIY pop diva/producer” answered a few questions for us about the process behind this album, producing her own music, coming into her queerness, and her (now-deceased) pug.

What does "hardcore bubblegum" mean to you?

Hardcore bubblegum is the sound of the Powerpuff Girls absolutely decking someone, hardcore bubblegum is the sound of a ballerina pegging Donald Trump, hardcore bubblegum is the sound of two drag queens sword fighting, etc.

What do you hope people feel when they listen to your music?

Whether they like it or not, I hope they absolutely lose their shit.

How does the idea of a "second adolescence" and how it factors into queer identity play a role in Crush On Me?

I’m a super late bloomer in most aspects and didn’t start coming into my queerness until my mid-20s, which felt super vulnerable in many ways. I was realizing my attraction to girls and non-binary genders more and more, and also realizing maybe I wasn’t just a girl but also a boy and something in-between. But I didn’t really have the direct community or language, so there was a deep sense of isolation and alienation, which I think is also supremely high schooler.

I think the most iconic thing about teenagehood is the heightened emotions. I wanted this album to sonically map that level of emotional intensity and not shy away from the fact that coming into yourself and subsequently “coming out” is a very messy and gradual experience in many ways. 

What's your favorite thing about your pug?

That while she may be dead, she is also eternal.

What was the most challenging part of making Crush On Me? The most rewarding?

The most challenging part was honestly believing I was capable of teaching myself how to produce. There’s such a lack of representation, and I had a lot of internalized fears of inadequacy because all I saw and interacted with were cis male producers. I’m still trying to unlearn those feelings but have gotten a lot better and have also found an incredible collaborator in my engineer, Lee Schuna.

The most rewarding thing about making it was realizing just how capable I am at production and being able to make the sounds I heard in my brain come to life. 

Katherine Flynn