Sounding Board: So what was your relationship to music growing up?
Bill Baird: My mom played classical piano and my dad sang folk songs that he wrote. We listened to a lot of the British invasion — Beatles, Stones, etc. Motown. Once I reached about age 12, my obsession changed from baseball to music. Formerly, I’d sit around memorizing all manner of obscure baseball statistics. Now I memorized liner notes of my favorite records. When I turned 16, my parents got me a Tascam cassette 4-track and it was all over for me. I was hooked. I have been pretty much obsessed with records since childhood. Everything about them. So much so, I needed to make my own.
Sounding Board: Got ya, so you were really just always around it from a young age. What types of artists do you feel you always gravitated toward most and have influenced your layered sound?
Bill Baird: My sound is me responding in the moment, it’s almost never pre-meditated, so it’s hard to pin down specific influences in that regard. I basically just listen and if there’s too little or too much of something, I change it. That said, I had a few very formative musical experiences. Stereolab definitely changed my life. Velvet Underground, Saw Doc Watson perform, also Ravi Shankar, Townes Van Zandt and Terry Riley.
Sounding Board: What was the creative process like for Baby Blue Abyss and Easy Machines? Did you finish one album before beginning work on the other or were you completing them simultaneously?
Bill Baird: It was a simultaneous process.
Sounding Board: It must have been interesting to switch between the albums during production, what are some of your favorite tracks off the two records?
Bill Baird: Depends on my mood of course. I like “Sound in Your Mind” and “Be Yourself” off EM and “Bourgeois Blues” and “Long Ascent” off BBA.
Sounding Board: Was any one track difficult to create off the records?
Bill Baird: Some were done live, those were easy. Others took about 4 rounds of recording involving submixes. That gets tricky because each time you sub-mix you risk losing the track’s “juice.” In terms of arranging and such, yes, sometimes it’s hard, but that’s kind of the fun part. The really difficult part is having something to say at all, really. It takes years to distill experience into something coherent that you can speak with conviction.
Sounding Board: I would think it would be, to create something that is comprehensive and how you picture or hear it in your head. How would you describe your approach to writing songs?
Bill Baird: I wouldn’t. It changes, Maybe that’s the description. Shape-shifting.
Sounding Board: That seems like the appropriate term. You are always creative in terms of releasing material, like how you made two hundred and fifty different mixes of Summer Is Gone, and now releasing two albums at the same time, with every new release, do you always try to reveal the material in an interesting way?
Bill Baird: I think it’s more the material revealing itself to me rather than vice versa. I just go where it’s warm, I follow the feeling. It’s an intuitive process.
However, yes, presentation is important. Context creates meaning. So, yes, an unusual or interesting process, something unfamiliar to me, is always quite enticing.
Sounding Board: The various ways you have, add a level of engagement because there is more great material to discover. With two new albums coming out in July, are you playing any live shows that your particularly excited about?
Bill Baird: Not yet..
Sounding Board: Can’t wait for when you do! thanks for speaking with us
Take a listen to Baird’s track “Wino Strut” off Baby Blue Abyys below, which along with Easy Machines are out July 28th on Red Essential.