“I’ve had an itch to make a record for a really long time. You get to create your own world when you make a record. It was really fun.” As Chris Baio talks about his recently released solo debut, The Names (Glassnote Records), there is a hint of excitement in his voice. Better known as the bassist of Vampire Weekend, Chris steps into the spotlight as BAIO – the electropop music producer with art rock sensibilities and meticulous production.
“Once I started to write songs I knew I couldn’t look back,” explains Chris. “I knew I was good enough and that I wanted to put it out there into the world.” Although his own musical universe started to come into fruition, Chris sat on the project for a while until this past fall when The Names was released. “Making the album and then sitting on it was a different kind of crazy because I felt like I had made the exact record I wanted to – a record where I wouldn’t change a single thing, but no one else in the world had heard it. It was a bit excruciating, but when it finally came out I got to start playing shows and playing music for people. It made me really happy because this world that I created, this thing in my head, suddenly became a real thing that other people could experience.”
Currently on tour in Europe, Chris continues to carve a name for himself as a solo artist, something that is admittedly challenging after finding such success with Vampire Weekend. “It’s thrilling to have something that’s entirely my own. I think there have been a few challenges along the way but I’ve been enjoying myself so far.” As for the differences between playing bass on the side and stepping out centre stage, Chris remains ever the consummate performer: “I always have so much fun playing live no matter what. Playing bass on stage is a pretty wonderful feeling and getting to sing a song in front of an audience of people that are really enthusiastic is a wonderful feeling, too. I’ve been waiting to get out and perform consistently, and now that I’m doing it I’m a very happy person.”
The Names is a thrilling electropop record with art rock influences that take the listener on a musical journey from short, punchy electropop songs to sprawling instrumentation and experimentation – all within a concise 40 minutes. “I love records like that,” explains Chris. “I love art rock records where it’s not particularly long but there’s tons of experimentation. That was where I was coming from with my record.” The title of the record, The Names, is a direct reference to Don DeLillo’s 1982 novel of the same title. “The novel is about an American living in Greece and his experience in Athens. Many of the themes involve paranoia and the idea of how you carry your country in your identity when you live abroad. For me this really came together when I moved from New York to London about two and a half years ago. It was the first time in my life where I was regularly reminded of my “American-ness.”
From growing up in Bronxville (coincidentally, also the home of DeLillo) to Vampire Weekend and its strong ties to New York, to his current project BAIO (where he’s an American expat in London), a strong sense of place has been inextricably tied to his musical journey. “I think I carry a little bit of these places with me as I get older. My time growing up in Bronxville – a suburban New York town – will always be etched in me. There will always be a bit of New York in my identity and now I feel that there is a bit of a London imprint on me as well. Things constantly change and mutate every day. That’s the nice thing about being alive – there’s so much to draw inspiration from and get excited by.”
A few years ago, Danielle McTaggart was ready to throw in the towel on her music career. Now she and her husband, Drew, make up the powerhouse duo known as Dear Rouge and have two full-length albums and a Juno to their name. Known for their hook-driven tracks—and being “the nicest couple in Canadian music”—Dear Rouge just dropped their sophomore LP, Phases. The record recounts a season of emotional extremes for the couple, including winning the 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, and losing a loved one. We caught up with Danielle over the phone to talk about finding joy in music again, and the personal and public significance of Phases. G—On your website, you describe your style as “sinewy, hook-driven indie rock”. Where did that particular style evolve from? DM—I was always very into hook-y music with beautiful melodies. I grew up listening to The Carpenters and they have beautiful melodic parts, but I also always loved harder music and really rock-driven music. Bands like Metric or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or St. Vincent were hugely motivating for me, and I loved that these frontwomen were powerhouses. They’re very confident and trying to push the boundaries while
What do you get when you combine the start of a worldwide tour and the release of a highly-anticipated album on the same day? Ask Lord Huron’s founder and frontman, Ben Schneider, and he’ll say a pretty damn exciting journey ahead. The band’s third album, Vide Noir, released April 20, is already receiving accolades for its raw, lyrical storytelling from songs like “Wait by the River” and “When the Night is Over”. To engage fans at a deeper level, the band plans on creating immersive experiences that elevate the album’s narratives. Lord Huron’s tour includes a stop at Toronto’s Sony Centre on July 25, and at Osheaga in Montreal on August 4. Schneider spoke to us about his love of storytelling, Raymond Chandler influences, and what it was like working with Flaming Lips’ producer David Fridmann. G—You grew up in Michigan. Is that where your interest in music began? BS—There was always music on at our house, and I remember imagining the people the songs were about. The storytelling of songs is what’s always captured me most. As time went on, I was able to convince my parents to let me play bass in the orchestra, which led to me
Morgan Saint was born into a creative life. Upon growing up in Mattituck, NY with a family of musicians on her mother’s side and parents who worked in interior design, Saint graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, where she has lived for the past six years. With a major in illustration and a focus on photography and graphic design, Saint has executed a clear vision of her musical artistry. In 2017, at the age of 23, Saint released her debut EP, 17 Hero, on Epic Records. She is a storyteller at heart, combining all of her talents to reveal her narrative as truthfully as possible, one vignette at a time, as seen in all three of the EP’s videos, “Glass House”, “You”, and “Just Friends”. She co-produced each glossy, beautifully choreographed, and high-definition clip with Nathan Crooker, but the lyrics are all hers. They come from personal places yet are vague enough to be relatable. Her electronic pop is lo-fi, but you’ll most likely find yourself snapping your fingers to it. As Saint prepared for a sold-out show supporting Missio in Austin, Texas, Georgie connected with her to discuss coming into her own as a songwriter and