Smile Politely

Baths: Everything is wonderful

The first that struck one upon hearing Cerulean, the debut album from L.A. beatsmith Baths, is it’s sense of structure. While it contains recognizable elements of the downtempo instrumental hip-hop scene (currently blowing up on the strenth of artists such as Flying Lotus), it operates on a far different realm from the washes and tone-paintings found on Cosmogramma, You can definitely tell that whoever made it knows their way around a song. If you peel away the aesthetic layers, it turns out there’s actually a great composer lurking in there. If the archetype of the composer is a brooding, mercurial figure, then Will Wiesenfeld, aka Baths, if an un-composer, cheery, effervescent and approachable. Interview him this past Wednesday, he sounded less like an uber-hip Pitchfork’d act than someone I’d meet at a coffee shop.

SP: How’s the tour gone so far?

Baths: Good, very good. A little hectic, I’ve been getting used to doing things by myself, but it’s going well.

SP: Can you talk about your openers a little bit? What made you want to tour with Braids?

Baths: Well, I saw them at CMJ here in New York, and I was floored by their performance, it was one of the most interesting/beatiful live performances I’ve ever seen. And then I found out that that they had actually submitted to open for me, so that was like the most perfect thing ever. I talked to my booking agent, and then it just worked out and they wanted to do it, and it’s been the best thing ever so far.

SP: What about the other band playing, Houses?

Baths: He’s not actually on it yet, I’m seeing him today at Mercury Lounge, that’s gonna be the first show on the tour with him.

SP: If you had to boil down your influences on Cerulean to a few main ones, what might those be?

Baths: Well, there’s a lot of water thematically throughout the album, a lot of joyousness and positivity. Even though some of the songs are very dark as far as subject matter, I think they’re told through a positive lens. I don’t know, so joyousness and water, pretty much.

SP: You’re about to release a new 7″. Is that going to be in a similar vein to the album, or is it going to go into a different direction?

Baths: I think so…it was made around the time the album was made, so it fits in with that a little bit. It’s not going to point to the direction of the next album, because I haven’t even started recording it yet. So it’s just sort of more pieces of that. And then the digital bonus is a song that I’m very, very proud of, if you’re able to check that out it’s the third track on it.



SP: Cerulean was released on Anticon. Can you alk a little bit about working with them, given that they’re best know for their more definitely hip-hop releases?

Baths: The guy that currently owns Anticon, Sean, is one of the most open-minded guys, where he has all the passion for the lineup that exists and where Anticon stands as a label and everything, but at the same time he likes a lot of new and different sorts of music. Like I think when he signed Son Lux to the label…when I heard them, I thought “this is so different from any Anticon thing I’ve ever heard, but it feels some kinship to a lot of the music they release”. There’s a mild hip-hop vibe to some of the things that [Son Lux] have done, but it’s very, very different…so just sort of that, and how creative all of the other artists are on Anticon, Why? and everyone. I felt comfortable doing it, like it may be a sort of hip-hop oriented label, but I can do anything, it would still be a comfortable venue for me to put out music.

SP: How does playing live differ for you from putting together a studio release?

Baths: It’s just it’s own thing, a kind of neverending process for me, I think the version of the show I have out right now is working pretty well, but by myself I can only go so far. I’m looking forward to putting a band together after this next album.

SP: Hypothetically, how do you think that band would be made up?

Baths: Well, I have no idea yet really. It would form based on how the album comes together. It could be two other people, or it could be like five or six depending on the orchestration I record, I’ve been writing a lot of string parts and stuff. So basically the album needs to start being recorded before I can properly speculate on the band.

SP: Is there a time frame you’re shooting for on the next album?

Baths: Yes, I’m not doing any touring past June, I don’t think, so that’s supposed to be when I start recording, and then I have that whole rest of the year. So it should be coming out sometime in 2012.

SP: Any last thoughts?

Baths: This tour is great, everything’s been wonderful so far, I couldn’t have asked for a better tour.

Baths perform tomorrow (February 22nd) at the Canopy Club with opening acts Braids and Houses. Tickets are $12 at the door and the show beings at 6:30 p.m.

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