Baby Storme, Spooky Star
Story by Ivan Guzman / Photography by XAVIERLUGGAGE / Styling by Marta del RioOct 30, 2023
Baby Storme sings of ghosts, ghouls and graveyards. She pierces you with her snake-like eyes, rocks all-black looks that could set her straight out of a glam TheAddams Family reboot and throws spontaneous “Black alt flash mobs” in crowded Los Angeles shopping centers. But for the 23-year-old TikTok baddie, this spooky creative output is no gimmick or seasonal marketing tactic — it’s just what comes naturally.
“I’ve always related a lot with the darker side of things,” she tells PAPER over Zoom. “I just go with it better.” Her new EP Forever Halloween sticks with this inherent ethos. Over glimmery '80s synths, Baby Storme builds a sonic and visual world that could equally resonate with angsty young people 30 years ago as it could today. Now, her self-proclaimed goth world is only getting bigger.
Ahead of her favorite holiday, she sat down with PAPER to talk about all things Halloween, trick-or-treating and trauma.
Blazer and skirt: Kajal New York, Shirt: Widow, Shoes: Dr. Martens, Rings: Oomiya
How did Baby Storme start? Did you always want to be an artist?
I grew up singing in the choir. When I was three, I taught myself piano and I always wanted to do music for real, but I just didn't think that it was something attainable. Then when I got older, and I went to college, and I realized I didn't like college, I was like, ‘I might as well just follow my dreams and do what I want’. So I started as an independent artist then, and I'm still an independent artist now.
Why the name Baby Storme?
It was actually very random. Years and years ago, when I first started doing music, I just used to always have silver hair — I would wear silver braids. And that was just my signature look for years. So eventually, everyone would just compare me to the superhero Storm. Then I just put the ‘baby’ in front of it. Yeah, it's very anticlimactic but that's the story.
How has the release been for your new EP, Forever Halloween?
It's been good. It's been two weeks. We've been doing a lot. We haven't really started promoting it yet the way that I want to. But, you know, as of now, we're about to really start putting the pedal on things and moving things forward.
What does promoting things the way you want look like? I saw you’ve done some flash mobs — were you into the whole YouTube flash mob culture of the early 2010s?
Oh, yeah. I definitely want to do more flash mobs, because back at that time, I was watching so many flash mobs, and I was super into them. So it makes a lot of sense that I'm doing them now. But it just looks like more flash mobs, more content, and way more visuals. I'm still fully independent so everything I do at this point is just coming from me. It'll just be a lot more visuals.
What do you love most about the spooky season?
I would just say the way it makes me feel. I've always related a lot with the darker side of things. And I think when fall comes around, it's colder. It just makes me feel differently than all the other seasons. I just go with it better.
You just naturally lean toward Halloween. I'm an October baby, so I feel the same way.
Yeah, it's definitely one of the best months.
Did you have a favorite Halloween costume from when you were a kid?
Actually, when I was a kid for three years in a row, I was an angel, like an actual one. All with the wings and everything. That was my favorite costume. I don't know why I related to it so much.
(Center) Clothing: GCDS, Shoes: Widow (Back) Clothing: Dolls Kill, Shoes: Dr. Martens
I feel like we're seeing genre become less and less of a thing in music. I know you've described your sound as “alt” before. If you could make up a genre name to describe your sound, what would it be and why?
I would say it's like alt-pop. A lot of the songs I make are commercial, but they still have that alternative ‘80s grunge element to them. So I would definitely say alt-pop or dark wave or something like that. But then it is very hard to say because I do have songs that are just a piano and nothing else. For the most part, I would say alternative pop is pretty fitting.
I saw on your TikTok, you reacted to a comment that said, “I knew with all those piercings and that sad gaze in her eyes that she was a trauma-based chick.” Are you a trauma-based chick?
Oh, yeah, for sure. I definitely am. I think at the end of the day, we're all trauma-based. Life is based off our experiences so my experiences led me to who I am today. The same for everyone else, you know? I've been through a lot of good and a lot of bad, but I think it definitely comes out in my music. I think it's impossible for me to not be affected by life or trauma. I think everyone is a bit affected in different ways. They could have worded it a little bit better, but they're not wrong.
Who were your biggest musical inspirations as a kid?
As far as inspirations, I never really had anyone in particular that I wanted to be like, but I definitely was into a lot of everything that was happening in the 2000s pop era. Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Britney Spears. I was very into pop culture as a kid and I was very up to date with every music release, all the artists, I listened to everything. All the genres I love. My playlist goes from pop to alternative to rock to classical to rap to, you know, everything.
If you were a decade, which would you be, and why?
Nineties for sure. I would say because I just adore the ’90s beauty, ‘90s glam. I would also say the music I'm making right now, I think it would still work at that time. Also because that was before [cell phones]. Everything was in-person.
What candy would you want most in your bag as a kid when you went trick or treating?
I don't know the name of it, but all the old people have them. You know, the strawberry ones? Yeah, the ones that have the strawberry wrappers and all the grandmothers have it.
Yeah. I don't even know if they have a name.
Yeah, they're good. They're really good. I would say those, for sure.
Dress: Aniye Records, Shoes: Widow, Jewelry: Mariko Palm Beach
What do Baby Storme fans have to look forward to in the coming months?
More music. And I'd say more music that has a message, and a lot more visuals. I really want to just build my own world.
Can you give us a peek into what that world will look like?
Oh man, very gothic, very Victorian. Dark. I love it.