Greece's "TV War" recently conducted an interview with frontman John Baizley of Savannah, Georgia rockers BARONESS. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On BARONESS's songwriting approach to their latest studio album, "Gold & Grey":
John: "The way that we ended up working on that record was based very frequently on intuition and improvisation. We jam a lot. A lot. The interesting thing is by virtue of the fact that we play technical music, but energetic music and there's a great deal of balance between melody, harmony and sort of something more chaotic and nasty. We sort of trusted the ideas that we got that were interesting to us were good ideas. We did not overthink it. We weren't too analytical. We wrote all this music, this crazy music that was mostly based on us jamming and then some mistake would be made or some funny thing would happen and we'd keep that. There's quite a few songs on this album where the ending part or the beginning part is just improvised entirely, or, the last song on the record, 'Pale Sun', is a hundred percent improvised song. That was the difference between this and 'Purple', which was all written and cataloged. We did 'Purple' very scientifically. We had all the music, we had all the lyrics, we had all the songs. The idea in the studio with 'Purple' was to play them right and to put soul and energy and atmosphere into them. With this, it was just all soul, atmosphere and chaos and we somehow managed to turn that into songs which is a very different way of approaching it."
On the input of new guitarist Gina Gleason on "Gold & Grey":
John: "The way that I approached that as the bandleader over the years, while I may be in charge or responsible for the beginnings of the songs or for the content of the songs, everybody in the band knows that they are putting in a quarter of the song, or 25 percent of what's there. It's become more and more apparent to me as we've aged as a band that the special thing about the band has nothing has to do with me particularly, it has to do with what we do as a group. I've gone back and forth between thinking that things have to be very democratic — it's a collective thing, there just needs to be a vision. What's important in this modern era of music is that character shines through, is that the idiosyncrasies, the things that are unique to me that are audible, and the things are unique to Gina, and Nick [Jost, bass] and Sebastian [Thomson, drums] come through, so it never sounds like one person writing everything and everybody else executing those things. I don't know what Gina is doing; I don't know what Nick is doing; I don't know Seb is doing. It's a mystery to me."
On whether "Gold & Grey" is the most "introverted" BARONESS album to date:
John: "Yes. And that's something that I had to become more comfortable with over the years, realizing, I think, somewhere around after the time 'Yellow And Gold' had been released and I had gone through this whole [2012 bus] accident thing, I started to come to the realization that the more fragile, the more vulnerable the more intimate our songs were, the more effective they were on stage, even the big rock songs and the ballads and everything in between, it always felt like the songs that were most effective, the songs we enjoyed the most and the songs the crowd enjoyed the most were the songs that had the most exposed theme. This record, at this point, I realize the struggles that I go through and my experience in my life and this sort of bitter moments or melancholic moments or the sadness or the anger, the pain, those are what make our songs good. Sort of in a backward way, I focus on all the negative stuff. Through this music, I've been able to take all of those experiences and turn them into something that is dear to me and uplifting and positive."
On whether he will feel "free" now that "Gold & Grey" is the last BARONESS album to use a color in its title:
John: "I think so. I think at this point, we don't — trust me, when I say that it's nice to have some freedom ahead, it's not to say we ever felt confined before. That's only to say that if we continue this same progression, it would feel a bit like we have become a singular direction when what we chose to do and what our goal is through our music, we chose to stand against linearity, we want to radiate out from the center. We have a core sound and all these different, diverse sorts of styles and textures that we use, revolve around that central thing as opposed to 'We want to get bigger and go up.' It's different than that. It's more 'Let's involve everybody. Let's be more open to our audience. Let's share more with them. Let's let them share more with us.' That's sort of the philosophy at this point."
"Gold & Grey" was released last June via Abraxan Hymns.
BARONESS released its Grammy-nominated fourth album, "Purple", in 2015.