Melbourne folk icons The Maes challenge heteronormativity in sweet new track ‘Make A Baby’

Melbourne folk icons The Maes challenge heteronormativity in sweet new track ‘Make A Baby’

Words by Savannah Selimi

Sisters Maggie and Elsie Rigby will bring their new single to The Potato Shed this month.

For a song imagined “absentmindedly whilst driving”, The Maes’ new track ‘Make A Baby’ tugs at heartstrings in a simple manner.

Elsie Rigby notes that the new track is: “In part a giddy love song, in part a ridiculous practise-run for convincing someone to have a baby with me. It takes a childish notion I’d always held of having kids someday, and reframes it for my mid twenties. Now the idea of having a baby seems just as dreamy and far away, but more exciting and frightening. For me it could happen with a partner of any gender, so part of the song is about expanding what parenting could look like in my life.”

The duo aims to challenge conversations around parenting. The song was written while Rigby was in love with a woman, thus she labels it a “queer song” which remains “ambiguous in the lyrics”. This ambiguity paints a universal love picture of a couple pondering parenthood – unbounded by gendered terms or heteronormativity.

“I remember feeling a sadness when I realised I was queer, because I have always wanted to have a baby someday. What if I want to have a baby with someone else who has a uterus? It took me too long to realise I can do that.”

The track isn’t guided by wanting to make a big statement but is laidback and warmly imaginative. It’s a queer love story told honestly by queer women.

Releasing the track around Mothers Day, the duo has had people reaching out to tell varying stories on parenthood reflecting the song’s relatability: “I’m so glad, because that’s exactly what I want this song to be – accessible to anyone who has, or wants to have a baby.”

‘Make A Baby’ is, “all the thrill of becoming a parent, without a scrap of the reality, responsibility, or intent”. It’s not a song about wanting to become parents and commit to sleepless nights and school drop-offs, but as the chorus goes, one about wanting to ‘love somebody forever’.

If it wasn’t already cute enough, Melbourne filmmaker Emily Dynes captured the song in the “most jubilant and intimate way”. Rigby adds that from the beginning, the folk outfit wanted the music video to “celebrate queerness”. And it did just that. Portraying multiple generations of queer relationships, Dynes invites adoration to what we’re seeing, casting golden hues and capturing candid smiles.

Though it plays breezily, the song-making process was anything but. First recorded in January 2020, the song had to be produced in bursts during last year’s lockdowns, perfecting strings and vocals anywhere they got the chance.

Grammy-nominated recording engineer Erick Jaskowiak worked on the track, joined by Isaac Gunnoo on bass; Kyrie Anderson on drums and a saxophone solo by Gus Rigby (Big Scary). The artistry behind it all, alongside vigorous patience, contributed to the final product: a dulcetly moving, classic-but-not love song.

The duo has a lot more hope for the year ahead.

“I think 2020 was a fertile creative time for a lot of people in different ways. Whether during the lockdowns, or beginning to surface now. Maggie and I have been writing, processing and emerging… Art is the best way to process hard experiences, art and friends. I fundamentally relied on both last year.”

The Maes are returning with their ‘Make A Baby’ tour, set to play some unmissable shows over regional Victoria and Melbourne. While they were in the middle of their Victorian tour to support their new single when the current circuit breaker lockdown happened, they are now delighted to reveal the rescheduled dates, to start later this month.

“We’re playing some new songs, and some older faves. We have three different lineups on this tour, and each one has a new band member. As well as featuring Isaac Gunnoo on double bass and vocals, who has often played with us and whose bass playing alone is worth buying a ticket!”

Catch The Mae’s at the Potato Shed in Drysdale on Friday, June 25. You can purchase tickets here.
For more upcoming shows, check out their list of tour dates and venues here.