Latest release: Purple (Abraxan Hymns)Website: www.baronessmusic.com
Georgia rockers Baroness are returning to Australia next month for what is, surprisingly, their first time as a headlining act. As they toured America in support of their best-selling and most acclaimed effort to date, fourth album Purple, we managed to grab a chat with bass player Nick Jost and talked about just where the band might go from here.
Baroness is finally making it down here for their first headlining tour.
Yeah man, and I’m very excited to be part of that. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. Last time we were in Australia we had a really good time. The response was really good, so hopefully that momentum and energy is still there when we get back.
Your style has changed quite a lot over the last couple of releases. Do you think that the fanbase has shifted somewhat as well?
I think it has a little bit. When we were in Europe, and while we’re in the States now, we sometimes ask people whether it’s their first time coming to a Baroness show, and about 50% of the people are coming to a Baroness show for the first time. But I don’t think that’s any different from their last two records that I wasn’t a part of. Yellow & Green was probably a departure from the previous record [Blue Record] and if anything I think that Purple brings back some of the heavier elements that Yellow & Green didn’t exactly touch on in the same way.
Where do you see the Baroness style heading now?
I’m not really sure. I think the plus side of this group of people is that we’re open to anything. We didn’t go into writing Purple with an agenda. I knew that what I liked of Baroness’s sound was the heavier side of things, so for me I think we were trying to keep it in that vein, but not with the same kind of heaviness that they had before. And we all like lots of different types of music – Sebastian is into all kinds of electronic music that’s as far a departure from this type of thing as what you can get. Maybe, will have an influence on the next record? I’m as in the dark as you are about that! We’ll see where we are, you know.
Baroness’ evolution has always seemed to be so organic, and electronics have featured before. The way that technology infiltrates everything now, do you think that they could be brought to the table at some point?
Well I think it has. There’s a lot of elements of that on Purple as it is. We’ve worked with John Congleton before think it’s inevitable when you work with a producer like that. When we wrote Purple, it was just four guys in a basement working on riffs. It’s just four people. But when we get to the studio, it’s like, let’s use these steps. We record with Pro-Tools. It’s not like we’re an analogue studio band. I’m curious to see if it makes sense, you know. If it makes sense and everybody liked it, we’d go with it. I think that element has already been integrated into our lives, so we’ll just wait and see what happens on the next record. Whatever works. If it sucks, we’ll say no. If it works, and everybody likes it, we’ll go with it.
Is there ever much analysis of fan or critical reaction to albums? Was there any thought about the reception Yellow & Green received when going in to do Purple or did you just head in and do whatever it was you wanted to do?
I was basically just doing what we wanted to do. I think with this group of people, everybody has strong opinions about music already. I don’t think anybody’s tastes come close to cheesy whatsoever. We all kind of trust each other on that in that regard. I don’t think Pete had bad taste, I don’t think John has bad taste in music. And if somebody does have bad taste, we all let each other know! There’s checks and balances with the four of us, so if it gets through the four of us, we’re all right with it. If everybody likes it, I think it’s a worthy risk to take, but I don’t write music to please any audience necessarily. That’s for Top 40 people to worry about. We exist underneath that!
You must enjoy the artistic freedom that being in a band like Baroness affords you. That you’re able to just toss around ideas and not care about what people outside the band think.
Yeah man, and I think people should operate that way. We’re not trying to make something that’s cool for pop culture. We’re trying to make something that we respect at the end of the day. Doing that, and being honest about it, people will come to the table and at least give it an honest listen and know that we don’t have ulterior motives behind what we did. There’s definitely no other reason to put out the record we put out other than we want people to hear it because that’s what we wrote. What Baroness has been doing up until I joined the band was putting out a “brand” that is like, this is what we do and we’re gonna play as many shows as possible and we hope that you all keep coming back.
Do you think that honesty is something that’s lacking from music, not just now, but always? There’s a lot of veneers that people put up. Baroness has never had that. John’s always been very frank everytime I’ve spoken with him.
I think both exist at the same time at this point. Any kid that has the financial means to own a computer has the means to make an album at this point. Everybody has a decision to make about whether they’re trying making pop music, trying to make a dollar, stay in a really aggressive artistic direction, trying to just simulate their favourite musicians and decide what they’re going to do with that afterwards. I am not that worried about the state of music, because I think that all states of music are easy to operate at the same time. We don’t sell out stadiums, but we’re able to operate and maintain our lives doing this music the way we want to do it. I think the fact that Baroness is able to exist… it doesn’t really matter that Katy Perry is singing the same songs four years later… one doesn’t affect the other. I like to think that there’s enough integrity to go around and everybody can do what they want with it. I think Baroness is just doing what we want to do. I don’t know whether it’s because people don’t have integrity or whether it’s just hard to come up with new shit right now! I mean, our basic sound is guitars, bass and drums. We’ve been working with that format for quite a while. What’s next? I don’t know.