Local Band Stereobabe Is All About
The Positive Vibes and Tunes That
Are Perfect For Windows-Down Cruising
Story by Alley L. Biniarz
Photography by Gene Schilling
We’ve all had that bad day, bad month, or even bad year(s) where it seems like nothing can turn it around…until you hear that catchy tune that plays exactly the words that you needed to hear. Local band Stereobabe’s latest single, Better Days, details a time just like that.
Band members Leann Banks and Ted Lamont say the song was written during lockdown where they were picturing the better days that came before and the ones that lay ahead. “It’s all kind of about coming out of difficult times and moving towards something better,” the two recount. The music video, produced by local photographer and filmmaker Syx Langemann, captures perfectly how quickly a bad day can transform into the best day through the power of music and community. This universal feeling makes the song incredibly relatable to listeners, while Windsor locals will love the tributes to the YQG area within the video. This fun and retro song pairs well with some Windsor classic spots seen in the video like Leann’s Dr. Disc mug or when they’re hanging out jamming at Phog Lounge. You can also spot some new views like the additions to the Riverfront Festival Plaza and Cafe Amor’s first location down Ottawa Street.
“We like to take inspiration from everyday experiences,” Ted and Leann say about the songwriting process. “When it comes to a message for our songs, it would really be about wanting positive things.”
Stereobabe takes the saying “Good Vibes Only” seriously; you can feel the positivity vibrating through their tunes. You’ll find yourself being pulled towards cranking their songs at full volume in your car with the windows down, cruising around without a care in the world. Their sound is a mix of Indie-pop, retro vintage, combined with a lot of harmonies. Both Ted and Leann have been influenced by 60s and 70s Brit pop bands and have pulled from their previous musical experiences to bring together this collective sound.
“My dad was a musician so I took some piano and guitar lessons at first, and then picked up the bass and loved it,” Leann says. “I spent high school playing the bass and have played with numerous bands—most notably The Von Bondies.”
Leann spent the late 2000s touring all over the world with the band and says that a highlight for her was when she played on David Letterman in 2009. She says that this experience, plus touring around Europe for the first time, were personally the coolest things she’s ever done. “Touring is unique from traveling and these are experiences you otherwise wouldn’t have had. Of course it’s difficult, you’re worn out and tired, but when you look back, it’s some of the best times.”
Ted laughs and says although he hasn’t toured as broadly as Leann, he’s had a few musical highlights of his own including opening for The Tragically Hip and playing with Meat Loaf back in the day. Most of his career has been in Windsor; he moved here in the 90s and played with the band Blasternaut where they released three full albums, an EP and did some touring around Canada and the US.
He’s always been into music, having also come from a musically-talented family. “My mom was the choir director at church, dad sang in a barbershop quartet and all of my siblings played piano or guitar. I even played in a band in my late teens with my older brother,” Ted shares his early days.
It was in 2020 when Leann and Ted met online through their shared love of music and decided it was time to merge their sounds together. “Leann was bored during quarantine and was posting videos every day. She would sing a song, talk about a favourite album or about her dog. When she shared her top 10 favourite albums, I was like…I have to talk to her!” Ted shares his first impressions of Leann.
Leann lives in Michigan, so Ted says they started jamming together online before they were able to cross the border. “Eventually I was able to cross because of my work visa and I knew I had to immediately come over and meet her,” he adds. Along with becoming a couple, the two started playing music together right away and with a few bars starting to open up, they picked up gigs where they could.
That was the beginning of things. They both say that although it was a slower start, they remember having lots of time to record new material and to submerge themselves in the creative process. “Initially when we were coming up with songs we shared ideas over the internet. It seems so easy, looking from the outside. But it really is difficult to write a song. We try to do it together: play off of each other and jam those ideas out,” Leann says. “All of our music is a collaborative release done in an organic way. We try to blend our minds together; our personalities and music as one unit,” Ted adds.
Along with pulling from everyday experiences to get the creative juices flowing, they also love to travel and adventure because it leads to more musical inspiration. It was after they were finished writing their song “Tumbleweed” that they started planning a road trip to the American southwest. From Michigan to California, the duo filmed along the way and released a home movie type of music video to capture the essence of this song about life, love, and adventure.
Today they say that they’re much busier; Stereobabe has recently played in New Jersey with more weekly gigs lined up through December. They both continue to sing lead vocals while Ted plays guitar and Leann plays Bass. The goal is to do more, play more tours, and to definitely hit some more road trips. Adventure is always something they’re striving for — whether that’s to find their next great song or for the chance to experience Better Days.
You can hear their music on Spotify, YouTube, or check out their Instagram or Facebook pages to see their upcoming gigs to watch them live.