Baron interview with Alex Crispin
This mysterious project was born in London and transformed through musical alchemy from strange Krautrock creature to something in a shape of retro psychedelic. New album of Baron “Torpor” is just released by Svart Records and already changes insensibly an entire world around us with it’s vibration and rhythms. Baron’s melancholic vision shines bright through hypnotic tunes which full of undertones and ghostly echoes. Alex Crispin on behalf of the band lifts the curtain to magic world of Baron.
Hello Alex! Thanks for time you’ve found for this interview. Baron is a new name for most of our readers, so there will be a lot of common questions in this interview. First of all, who are Baron? Where are you from? When did you start to practice this rock magic?
Baron are a musical group who have been making music since around 2010 when after leaving ‘Diagonal’ (Rise Above) myself and a remaining member made an album/demo called ‘Illegitimate Nephew’. From then on members (Blue Firth, Peter Evans, and on ‘Torpor’ Joe Hollick) have accumulated over time and at this point, are spread across England.
Baron’s previous LP “Columns” (2013) and EP “New Follower / Comea” (2012) are closer to Ambient / Krautrock, what was your general motivation during a work over that stuff?
The sound of that period of work was borne from having been created in a more isolated, constructed way, out of various sections and ideas I had been recording over time alone, not played or conceived as a band. Naturally as the songs formed we would come together to overdub, refine and record, so the process lent itself to a more laid back, constructed feel. At the time my studio set-up was based around a lot of vintage keyboards and organs which always lend themselves to ambient or drone based styles.
How did you come to realization of your visions and ideas in such form which Baron’s music takes on “Torpor” album?
The progression in style on ‘Torpor’ came about primarily from being asked to join our esteemed musical friends ‘Wolf People’ on tour. Prior to that we hadn’t really been required as a band to stretch out and play live together consistently and from doing so the sound naturally settled more into a darker, guitar-led heavier band style. When we started playing again after the tour we’d had such a rewarding time that it was very natural to approach the writing of the next record with more live playing and recording from the outset.
What does album’s title mean for God’s sake?
The word Torpor itself describes as state of inactivity – I see it as a way of describing a trance like state which when considered in musical terms, is something I am always drawn to.
Baron’s music on new release tends to vintage hard and psychedelic rock, how did you come to it after “Columns” album? What’re main moods and ideas you put into it?
With the natural, live, heavy energy we held from playing alongside Wolf People certain songs slowly fell into place. At this time I had also moved from my urban, city set-up to living in an medieval cottage, within a forest. This geographical change certainly influenced the writing on the album – I have always been interested in any dark or mysterious musical feel, so the direction seemed to point towards that. Ideas of the deep past considered within a pastoral setting and how that vein of time runs through to the present. We went on to record the album in a large and stunning medieval hall in Suffolk.
How is this conception reflected in songs’ lyrics? It seems that your chants with repeating of some key words mostly play a role of another instrument in Baron’s set.
Almost always the lyrics are a mixture of stream of consciousness and specific imagery or suggested narrative. I have a tendency to never be particularly overt in explaining or defining the thoughts or meanings behind the lyrics. There are always exceptions to the rule of course, but the more a listener can bring and construct from themselves to the song, often the more resonant the result can be.
By the way, why did you choose this name for the band?
I can’t fully remember how naming Baron came about – it just stuck.
Here we have first one of my standard questions: can you tell a story of one particular (or just your favorite) song from “Torpor”?
I could tell you that ‘Dragonfly’ came from the memory of falling asleep on a mountain, or that ‘Mark Maker’ was inspired by carvings in the Tower of London
What was your favorite book in a school? How did it influence upon you?
School was a long time ago but going back further I have strong memories of reading, or being read the Chronicles of Prydain, a pentalogy of dark-fantasy novels which draw upon Welsh mythology. Which might just explain everything. Something that more recently had an influence on ‘Torpor’ is Ted Hughes’ ‘Gaudete’.
Did you play live as Baron?
We had toured for ‘Columns’ but having moved location again, and being spread out across the country will have to work harder when it comes to playing out. Good things may come to those who wait.
Alex, what are your plans for Baron’s future?
Certainly the aim is to finish another album or two next year, I love recording and producing music so aim to perhaps work with some more groups in that realm too.
And last question for today – do you feel that you make world better with Baron’s musical magic?
It certainly makes my world better.
Review made by Aleksey Evdokimov/2015
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