Cara Bateman

by the partae
Cara Bateman

Where are you currently based?

At the moment I’m based out of Delta, BC, Canada.

How did you first start playing music?

I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. My first memory is at about three years old just belting Christmas carols at the top of my lungs. As I got a bit older I’d listen to albums front to back and would try to mimic the singers exactly – learning every word and inflection. I used to be shy when it came to singing in front of an audience, but close friends continued to push me to give it a go for so many years. After a few years playing open mics in university, I started to want to take things more seriously. That brings us to about five years ago now when I started teaching myself to play guitar so I could write my own songs and accompany myself. It’s a never-ending journey of discovery and learning!

What’s been happening recently and how has your Covid experience been so far?

Covid has presented challenges for me like it has everyone, but when it started to impact things back in March I decided to take advantage of the time off to further commit myself to music and creativity. I already had these recordings in the bag (for the upcoming EP, ‘Some Thoughts I’ve Had’), but really wanted music videos for them. So I picked up my iPhone, did a bunch of research on filmmaking and video editing, and the rest is history. I’ve got three of four videos done so far and can’t wait to share them with the world!

How has your sound changed since your first release in 2016?

Oh man. Drastically. My first album is country/rock/folk, and this one is jazz/soul/R&B. Couldn’t be more different!

What inspired these changes in your sound?

Part of it comes from my knowledge on guitar. I’ve still got a long way to go to get my chops up to snuff, but at this point I can play a bit more than some basic C, G, and D chords. I also find that I’m heavily influenced by my surroundings and life experiences at the time. In one particular rough patch of my life a couple years back, I was churning out alt, grunge-style songs (that have yet to make it out into the world). Last year, I moved into a community house with some unreal musicians and artists who sent me deeper down the jazz, R&B, soul, and gospel rabbit hole, and I’m still exploring those sounds and riding that wave. There is a LOT to explore within those genres! And these recordings reflect a lot of those influences.

Please tell us what inspired your song ‘Love is’ and how you went about writing it:

I had a recording session booked with the musicians you hear on the album. Leading up to that session, I had a number of newer songs I’d written that I really liked. Three of them felt like this cohesive unit, but the rest almost felt like they could be the start of a completely different album. So the week before the session, I started writing furiously to come up with something that felt like the final piece of the puzzle.

At the time I was in a relationship that I felt wasn’t right for me, but I didn’t want to admit it. ‘Love Is’ became a reverie of a love I hoped to find in the future, while reminiscing on some beautiful and challenging moments from loves past.

Where and when did you record and who with?

I was living in Victoria, BC, and booked a gig opening for Zach Kleisinger – an amazing singer-songwriter from Vancouver. I loved his set, and I remember thinking his backing band was incredible. Turns out, we all hit it off after the show and I made my way to Vancouver a few weeks later to record with Zach’s backing band. Harry Tudor played drums, Colin Weeks was on bass and backup vocals, and Yitzy Holton-Hinshaw played lead guitar and keys and was our sound engineer and producer. We recorded everything live-off-the-floor in a small bedroom in Yitzy’s home (otherwise known as Flavour Studios). In three days we figured out the arrangements, barely slept, and laughed a lot. It was hands down the most fun recording experience I’ve had to date.

What programs/instruments did you use to record?

Production was minimal on this record as I wanted everything to feel raw and to capture the emotion of the songs. I sang and played rhythm guitar, Yitzy sat in on lead guitar and keys, Colin slayed the bass and Harry nailed the drums.

How did you approach the recording process?

In the past, I’ve been guilty of perfectionism and paralysis by analysis. With these songs, I felt like we all had such great chemistry as a band and things seemed to flow effortlessly. We decided not to use a click track which helped to throw perfectionism out the window right off the bat. Truth be told, I actually love hearing a flaw here and there in a recording – it feels emotional and human and it’s fascinating. So instead of overanalyzing and second-guessing things, I decided to go with the flow and it honestly came together fairly quickly. That’s not to say that we didn’t work hard – I’m pretty sure I was delusional by the end of the third recording day. But I wanted to trust my gut on these. Playing the songs felt right and I liked what I was hearing, so I wanted to keep things fun and lighthearted without bringing any stress into it.

You’ll be releasing a music video for ‘Love Is’ on November 23, how did the video concept come about?

I just wanted something super positive, uplifting, and wholesome for this video. At this time especially, I felt like I needed to make something that could bring a bit of joy to people’s lives. So I decided I wanted some footage in the style of a home video to showcase different types of love – young parents with their babies, a senior couple, newlyweds, and a man with his dogs. Because of Covid I was limited to the number of people I could collaborate with, but at the same time – I’d moved in with my folks in my hometown when the pandemic hit. So the cool thing about this video, for me, is that everyone that appears in it is either a family member or a close childhood friend who I may have lost contact with at one time or another. It felt very personal and close to my heart.

Where did you film? And how was the experience? 

All of the footage was shot at parks, or in people’s backyards in the Vancouver area. And filming was an absolute blast! It was great to reconnect with old friends, and to include my friends and family in a part of my musical world.

What do you like to do away from music?

I’m an avid runner and cyclist, but I also love hiking, longboarding, camping, and basically anything outdoorsy. Since the pandemic hit I’ve taken up mountain biking which is scary and fun. I dabble in some acting and love to draw, and am pretty much always on the hunt for the next creative project.

Who are you listening to at the moment?

Eloise! She’s been my soundtrack for 2019 and 2020. Also Ella Fitzgerald, Blossom Dearie, Samm Henshaw, Ruston Kelly, Yebba, H.E.R., Chris Stapleton, James Taylor . . . I could go on.

What’s planned for the remainder of 2020 going into 2021?

I’ll be releasing three more songs to complete the full ‘Some Thoughts I’ve Had’ EP, and the music videos that I made in isolation. I also wrote a super upbeat pop song with my friend/fellow musician Alexander Ferguson in recent months. It’s totally different from anything I’ve ever done, and we’ll be releasing that a few months into 2021, too!

Favourite food and place to hangout?

Pasta. Every day all day. Every different type. I could literally eat pasta for the rest of my life. Favourite place to hang out? If we’re talking restaurants and we’re on the subject of food then I’m gonna go with Tapa Bar in Victoria, BC. The bacon wrapped almond stuffed dates are a killer and their sangria is perfection.

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