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Louis Baker

Louis Baker

Interviewed by
Danielle Street
Wednesday 19th March, 2014 2:01PM

Singer-songwriter Louis Baker is carving out a name for himself thanks to his soulful voice that has graced the songs of Wellington-based nine-piece band Brockaflowersaurus-Rex & The Blueberry Biscuits. And the humble 24-year-old isn’t about to stop there. Louis (pronounced Louie) is poised to release his self-titled debut EP this Friday, which was recorded in London with guidance from Andy Lovegrove of Breaks Co-op. We caught up with Louis to talk about his journey from being too painfully shy to sing in front of people to recording on the other side of the globe...

Louis, a lot of people comment on your singing, when did you realise you had such an impactful voice. Have you always sung?

Nah man, when I first started singing, when I was about 16, I was so incredibly shy I could hardly do it in front of anyone. Including my family. I would just sing in my room by myself. It was really due to my Mum’s encouragement that I started singing in the first place, because I was very down about my voice, and it took me awhile to play in public. And then I was still excruciatingly shy. The only thing that really got me out there was just doing it and experiencing it and the gradual climb of the mountain of getting better at singing in front of people.

And how do you feel nowadays when you go and sing in front of people?

I feel a lot more comfortable, but that shyness still comes back to me every now and then.

You went to the Red Bull Academy in New York last May… what was the focus for you there?

Opportunities, meeting people, experiencing life overseas for the first time and being away from home for the first time. The whole thing was an opportunity to challenge myself and understand my life from a broader perspective. You take away a myriad things from that type of experience, the people I met, the music I made and the places I went. It was a beautiful experience.

And did you go straight from New York to London to record ... that must have been a dream come true…

Yea it really was. It took a lot of support, particularly from my manager to make it all happen really. She was quintessential. She introduced me to the producer of the EP, Andy Lovegrove from Breaks Co-op, who produced some Supergrass hits in the early day. Beautiful guy, great producer. So yea, people need support in their lives and for me I needed support to get over there, record and meet people.

How did it feel to hear your songs come alive with those additional instruments like the strings?

That was awesome. It was a beautiful experience. The music came alive. It’s like seeing something on another level of what you knew it as before. It was a really special experience.

How do you feel now listening back to the EP?

I didn’t listen back to it for quite awhile because I needed a bit of time to get away from it, get some perspective and get some fresh ears. Which is important for me. And I’m highly critical of my work, and often I’m not happy with things. In fact 90 per cent of the time I’m not happy with things. It was good to come back to it after awhile and it actually sounds really good to my ears.

Where to from here, what have you got on the horizon?

Well, this year is basically about spreading my music further with my message which is about peace. Just keeping on the forefront of that. For me that means keep creating music and keep playing music for people. So I’ve got tours coming up.

So that’s what your message boils down to, it’s about spreading peace?

Yea, it’s the most important thing. It sounds cheesy to say, but if you think about it in a bigger perspective, with everything that’s happening in the world at the moment it almost seems like in the 1960s with with Cold War and the arms race that it was. It’s almost there, I mean, with Russia and Ukraine, with the things that were happening in Gaza a little while ago, you know. I mean all someone has to do its push a button and it’s all gone. It’s very real, man.

Have you always held this philosophy?

I think it's something I have grown up with. My Mum’s a pacifist slash feminist from way back. She’s a sixties flowerchild, so is my father and they both absolutely the most important thing to me. Their views and understanding of life has really really helped my understanding of life.

Some of the songs that are included in the EP were written when you were 17, how are they relevant to your life now?

Well, it’s taken me quite some time to actually get my shit together and release something, so I basically saw it in a very simple manner and that was that I’m going to release stuff chronologically and the way I’ve written things. So, those were some of the first song that I wrote so I’m going to put them down first.

What inspires you to put pen to paper?

Everything. Live is the inspiration, that’s the bottom line. For any artist doing what they do it’s a sequence of things, and that comes down to what we are exposed to and that’s our environment, how we grow up. Everything that we are exposed to as human beings is an influence, not just music. Our culture, our society, our families, our communities.

Where would you like to be in say 10 years?

I’d like to be doing pretty much what I’m doing now. Life is about expressing my art and that’s what I’m doing now.

Last question, if you couldn't do music what would you do?

Probably fighting fires or playing cricket. My father is a firefighter, it’s always been my second choice. People need somebody to put out fires… it’s an important job that’s for sure. It’s a funny life they have full-time firefighters, they are either really relaxed or they are really, really busy. It’s extreme.


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