Savannah sludge metal kings Baroness have surprised and impressed with every release, and are busy putting the finishing touches on a brand new album for this year. Frontman and chief songwriter John Dyer Baizely is in Australia this month for a solo tour, joined by Scott Kelly of Neurosis. In wake of the tour, Baizely stopped in with Killyourstereo for a chat.
Hey John, how are you?
Excellent man, yourself?
Yeah tops, how’s the new album coming along?
Well it’s recorded, which is a good start.
Sweet. Last time we saw Baroness it was in November 2010 with Metallica on their epic world magnetic tour, how was that?
That tour was a blast. How could it not be? It was awesome. That was actually the last full tour we did too. As soon as we finished that we sat down and started writing the album that we just recorded. So as far as going out with a bang goes, it couldn’t have been better.
True, that year we got a total of 22 shows in Australia from you guys which is an awesome dose of Baroness, but to be honest we are starting to miss you a bit now.
Yeah (laughs), that year was crazy. We did more shows in Melbourne in 2010 than we have played in any other city to date, we played like 7 or 8 shows there.
Crazy stuff. Well we get to see you again this month, teaming up with Scott Kelly from Neurosis for an acoustic solo tour, are you looking forward to that?
Yeah very much so. It’s going to be a very new thing for me, so I’m sort of anxious and excited.
Cool, where did the idea for the tour come from?
You would have to ask Scott, I just got a phone call from him asking me to come and play that tour with him and how could I say no? I think the genesis of the tour was in 2009 when Baroness was touring Europe at the same time that Scott was doing a solo tour over there. We had him play a couple of nights with us in Germany, and on the first night which was in Berlin, me and Scott coordinated a song together, since then we had sort of always planned to do this sort of tour at some point.
Will you be playing any new solo material?
I think the setlist will rely pretty heavily on Baroness material, but only because lately I have been so busy with Baroness stuff to get together a setlist of original solo material. Although, that’s not too far off. I have written quite a lot of material, I’m just not sure how ready it is at this stage.
The last few times in Australia you have played a festival, supported the biggest name in metal at stadium shows and played intimate headline shows, and now the acoustic tour. You’re definitely giving us some variety!
(Laughs) Yeah, I suppose we’ll have to ask the Australian fans which they liked the best.
So what are you allowed to tell us about the new album?
I won’t tell you the name and I won’t tell you the song titles. It should be out in late Spring or early Summer. This record is going to be different and there are plenty of surprises on the record. It sounds nothing like our last two records.
Cool, if you can’t tell us the name, how about the colour of the album cover?
(Laughs) I cannot, that would make the album title quite obvious.
The Pink LP?
No it’s not the ‘Pink LP’ and it’s not the ‘Black Download’ either, it’s somewhere in between (laughs).
Fair enough. Have you been designing many album covers of late, aside from your own?
Just recently I finished work on an album cover for an as yet unreleased record from an Atlanta, Georgia band called Tiger Tiger. Since then I’ve been working pretty much day and night on the Baroness record musically, visually, lyrically and artistically.
What are the touring plans after the album drops?
Nothing as of yet, but I will say that we will be going out on tour and not coming back for a long, long time.
If you could create a supergroup of musicians alive or dead who would they be?
I would just reform Queen. That band put things into perspective and make me realise how underwhelmingly talented I actually am.
What would win album of 2011 in your eyes?
I don’t know if there was one for me, I think last year was a little rocky. The Opeth and Mastodon records were both great, but I’m waiting for an album to completely floor me and I didn’t get that last year. There’s a new Neurosis and Converge album this year so who knows, maybe.
Is there any Australian food or beverage that you’re keen to revisit later this month?
Yes, I’m a big Coffee drinker and Australia has the most consistently amazing coffee. There are so many cool spots to eat and drink in Australia and I everywhere seems to have good coffee.