Baroness: Interview with John Baizley: Kind Of Blue

So blue is the aesthetic of the record?

It is an arch that covers the range of this record.

The music, the lyrics, the inspiration even?


How do you think the two [LP’s] are different?

Well, most obviously to me is that we went through a line-up change between Red Album and Blue Record. So, I feel like 25 percent of it is just, from the onset, different. Our current guitar player, Pete, has a completely different style than our former guitar player, Brian, which is really obvious to me, but it’s like I have to play these songs thousands of times so it’s dreadfully apparent to me. I think what we did with this record wasn’t so much change course but continue to develop some of the stuff that we had begun to define of ourselves on the last record while at the same time reaching out in auxiliary directions and investigating new musical devices and new directions that were interesting to us in which we suddenly found ourselves now capable of two years after the fact and two years wiser.

While I don’t think that the intrinsic core of the band has really altered, and I would never want that, I think we’ve honed our skills, I think it’s a process of refinement. With the former record I think there were moments that I consider now [to be] little flights of fancy. I feel with this record we’ve streamlined everything enough that I can defend anything that we’ve done on this record that there’s a direct reason for it. On the last record there were moments where we were just looking for new ideas, which was the point of that record. It wasn’t to be concise and succinct it was to be open-minded. With this new record we retain that same open-minded sense but it’s always followed by the question, ‘Why are we doing this? Why would we even make this record?’ I think it’s an important question for a musician to ask himself. It’s not just that we want to get something out of it, it’s ‘Why are you creating something like this anyway?’

If you take away the trappings of style and genre and scene you’re just left with making music. When you can look at it like that, then it begs the question, ‘Where are you going with this and why are you going there and what are you trying to explain and how are you trying to explain it?’ And, ‘Is there a better way to present this idea and a better way to present this atmosphere, a better way to tell this story?’ That was really the crux of what we did when writing this album. To get out the initial stuff that was just pure passion and pure feeling but then to intellectualize it and say ‘why?’ It’s because we’re old enough now to ask that question.

Would you say that you’ve accomplished what you set out to do with the band? What is the philosophy of Baroness?

The philosophy is something that I’ve sort of hinted at throughout this interview, that we as musicians in the creative, artistic sense are trying to communicate. Music is communication; it elicits a reaction and therefore its communication. We are trying to communicate in a way that is as personal to us and as unique to us as possible. We are trying to present our personalities in some way, shape or form. If that’s through something narrative or something felt or emotive then that’s what it is. We’re just trying to present ourselves and we’re trying to define ourselves through this music and learn something about ourselves through this music more and more through each day. It’s difficult and challenging and that’s how I know that we are doing the right thing. I still get nervous to perform and I still feel exhilarated at the end of a performance.

Blue Record is out now via Relapse Records and Baroness will be in Philly Nov. 19 at the First Unitarian Church and in NYC Nov.20 at the Bowery Ballroom.