Keef Baker

Keef Baker- How did you get involved in making music? I mean the motivation, the reason behind this 'venture'.. What do you expect in a result of your efforts? Does it mean for you to acquire something, to contribute something, to express something that you just can't put into words?

Well, I’ve been writing music for 17/18 years and when I started I was doing metal and through time I’ve ended up playing a wide variety of genres of music. I originally started Keef Baker because there was a lot of electronica that was strong in melody and a lot that had detailed complex beats but not much that melded the two and at the time of starting this that was what I wanted to achieve. Selfishly I did this because it was exactly what I wanted to listen to myself.

These days what I want to achieve is music that I want to hear, whatever that may be and I’m lucky enough to be able to achieve that a in the course time. I’m not making music for any higher purpose or to shatter the space time continuum, I’m making music because I enjoy doing so and I’m lucky enough that other people want to hear it.

- How could you describe the music you create?

What I make these days is an amalgam of stuff I like. I tend to not stick to genre and use a lot of both musical and stylistic dynamics in every track. A track can start off sounding like Tool and end sounding like Bola, generally there’s always a musical journey with what I do, sometimes intentially sometimes because it’s just what the track felt like it wanted to do.

- Do you have any favourite hardware synth/effect? All in all, hardware or software?

My favourite piece of hardware is my custom bass, a one off based on a musicman stingray but it is different enough its own sound. As for the hardware/software debate… Everything has its place. I tend not to use hardware synths these days because I work on a lot of tunes at once and having to reset a desk or tweak parameters on every synth when I loaded a track sounds like a magical form of hell to me. Pure Laziness.

Favourite software? Well Logic is my main DAW and I love it, I’ve been using it since version 2.0 which was back in the early/mid 90s. Blockfish is an amazing free compressor that I suggest everyone making music should pick up. And I’m starting to really get into reaktor.

- Do you like to play live?

Yeah, I do. I love it. I always improvise my sets, when people look at my screen in Live they tend to run away screaming. But I like the fact that you can tailor it to your audience and you are essentially creating something new with each performance.

- How much or how often do you listen to your own work? Generally, what music do you listen to? (names, styles, etc..)

I listen to it a lot when it’s being made, but once the CD is complete and out there, I do listen to it still but not as much. But the whole point of what I’m doing is I’m making something that I want to listen to, so if I didn’t want to, then it would be a bit of a failure!
I listen to much electronica but recently I’ve been playing a lot of Boris Kovak, Slavic Soul Party, Grindscore, Dark Ambient and Flaming lips. Boris Kovak has been really floating my boat recently. Johnny Cash and The Fall always hit my playlist.

- What did you listen to in your childhood?

Heh. Jean Michel Jarre, Derek B and Iron Maiden. I was cursed from the beginning.

- Please, tell us some words about your new album Redeye. What’s the album about? What idea and conception did you put in it? Are you glad with the result?

There’s not really an “about” with Redeye. I just wanted to make an album of good music without any real pretentions or allusions to being anything other than it is. For me the depth of the music and the harmonic power was what I was really aiming at. Also I wanted to explore stylistic dynamics more, looking at shifting styles within a track seamlessly.
I am very happy with the result. There have been a lot of people who clearly don’t “get it” and I’m fine with that I knew they would be there but in the main they tend to be purists who think I should have written The Widnes Years II or gone more in that direction. That kind of thing is expected when you move into a different area, especially when your music’s stylistic footprint spreads into numerous camps. Thankfully though the majority of people have been very positive and understood what I was doing.

- Is IDM changing itself, or is it being changed? For the bad or for the good? If it is, what is this tendency, not only digital technologies?

I think a lot of IDM has become stale and that’s not the fault of the musicians themselves but more the sheer weight of music that exists out there. If there were never any more IDM released from this day forward then you and I could still listen to IDM we hadn’t heard until the end of our lives.

This is primarily because IDM is more DIY than even punk was in the 70s. Pretty much people have a computer these days and without even going into the arena of cracked software you can download more than enough free stuff to make music with and it’s designed to be pretty easy to pick up, so unlike punk you don’t have to pay for a guitar and then spend a couple of months learning how to play before you’re in a band your average joe can start releasing tracks onto the web within a couple of weeks. you can do it instant. Now!

There have been a lot of positive things due to this like people going into uncharted territory simply because they don’t know what they’re doing and they have broken new ground in fascinating ways, also it has showcased a lot of natural talent but of course there is the flipside which is a huge glut of crap.

I think the effect this has had on IDM is that people are trying to branch out and change in order to just even stand out a bit from the crowd and being unique is a very fine goal but that should only really be part of the goal, the primary goal should be just trying to make great tunes, something that touches your soul or sets your brain on fire and I think IDM should focus much more on the quality as at the end of the day that’s where longevity really comes from.

- Which music could change the world for some better… If music can do it at all?

The only kind of music that would have be insanely popular. I think the last band with the kind of power to change the world were The Beatles.
But at the end of the day music is never about the mass, it’s about the individual. Music for me is to excite the imagination and spice up the soul and while it may not change the world it can at least change the mood of its inhabitants.

- What kind of music makes you real sick... almost physically?

You’d probably expect me to say Britney or something here but I’d have to say utterly soul-less rubbish electronica. Mainly because I see it as an incredibly expressive medium and to waste it in that way makes me ill. There is nothing worse than terrible electronica also because a lot of the time it pretends to be what it isn’t. Clever… Experimental… On the edge. In my eyes there’s nothing less experimental than doing a bad copy of a 10 year old album.

- What is more synthetic - modern world or contemporary music?

Interesting question. Especially as the question itself can mean a lot of things. I’m going to take synthetic to mean false in this case.

I would in the past have said it was rock/indie bands because, having been in a few, they all try and make the song that will “hit the charts” and try and aim some of their stuff at the lowest common denominator. But in recent years I’ve seen artists in the electronic music scene alter what they do and go in a direction they like less in order to get more sales and I can’t stand that, it drives me mad. As far as I’m concerned if I ever sell out I’ll do it properly, I’ll start writing music for a boy band or something. As far as I’m concerned my soul is worth a lot more than a couple of thousand extra pounds a year. It disappoints me. But if you mean as in the sound, I still say nothing sounds as synthetic as the old 70s experimental synth records when everything was step sequenced and there was lots and lots of repeating.

- Do you know any Russian musicians, who make electronic music? Have you ever been in Russia?

I don’t know any personally but I love the music of Riverz End, Unit 21, Vesna and the like. While I haven’t been to Russia I have been to a few ex-eastern bloc countries and I’d love to visit Russia.

- What would you get from this life? Does life suit you? Don’t you want to change anything?

I personally really enjoy my life and feel that the future only holds great things.

- What’s your employ beside music? What are you interested in?

I love writing and am trying (and failing) to write a book. In fact a few to be honest, but I’ve not had a lot of luck. But I enjoy it and that’s what matters.

- Have you got creative plans for the future?

There’s the writing but musically it’s mainly live gigs and maybe some side projects. I’m taking a lot of time out from “Keef Baker” so I can decide where I’m going to take it next. I think I’ve taken the current “Keef Baker” direction as far as I can so I’ll be thinking what else to do.

- Keef Baker

july '07

recent releases
Yellow Swans - Going Places
CD / Type

Snog - Last of the Great Roman…
CD / Hymen

Mathias Delplanque - Passeport…
CD / Crónica

Somatic Responses - Neon
CD / Hymen

Bipol - Fritter Away
CD / Ant-Zen

KoChu - Sound Forms
digital / Justified Music

Daníel Bjarnason - Proces…
CD / Bedroom Community

Amman/Josh - Places
CD / Dynamophone

The Soul's Release - Where the…
CD / Dynamophone

Polaski - 37 Ways
digital / Kahvi

Federico Monti - Polen
digital / Koyuki

Ten and Tracer - You'll be a H…
digital / Archaic Horizon

V/A - Flowers Dragon's Eye Fou…
digital / Dragon's Eye

Ben Fleury-Steiner - Keep a We…
CD / Infraction

Kyle Bobby Dunn - A Young Pers…
2xCD / Low Point

BJNilsen - The Invisible City
CD / Touch

Robert Curgenven - Oltre
CD / Line

Minamo - Durée
CD / 12k

Ido Govrin - Moraine
CD / Interval

Corey Fuller - Seas Between
CDr / Dragon's Eye

Shinkei + mise_en_scene - Scyt…
CD / mAtter

I/DEX - Tetrapolar
digital / Foundamental Network

Henning Schmiedt - Wolken
CD / Flau

Werken - Sum
digital / Zymogen

Mika Vainio - Time Examined
Book + 2xCD / raster-noton

V/A - Emerging Organisms 3
2xCD / Tympanik Audio

Opposite Exhale - Nothing Last…
CD / Tympanik Audio

ESA - The Immaculate Manipulat…
CD / Tympanik Audio

Wouter Van Veldhoven - Mort Au…
CD / Mort Aux Vaches

Oren Ambarchi - Intermission 2…
CD / Touch

friends - CD, Vinyl, T-shirts