As this past weekend’s Orion Music + More festival kicked off, the first band to play the main stage of the festival was Baroness. The bigger stage was more than a little metaphorical, as their forthcoming album, Yellow and Green (due out July 17 on Relapse), should bring the Savannah, GA band to the next stage of their career. The double album is more experimental and melodic than the band’s first two albums, and should gain them an entirely new audience in addition to the sizable one they already have. Following their performance, Metal Insider contributor Alex Rudisill caught up with guitarist Peter Adams and bassist Matt Maggioni to discuss why Y&G is a double album, why they went worked with producer John Congleton again, and who they were looking forward to seeing at the festival.
What can Baroness fans expect of Yellow and Green?
Peter: Everything on it is a little different than Red and Blue. Yet at the same time, it still is exactly what Baroness does. I guess if I could kinda sum it up, its what we do slightly striped down. We really just took a bunch of riffs. What Baroness does is, here’s a ton of parts all mashed up. Riff, riff, riff, riff, riff. And that way, you’ve cut half of those riffs out and we focus more on the song itself. What does this song need? Does it need a million notes? It doesn’t need that. Some songs do still have a million notes in them. The main difference is vocally, John (Baizley) and I, singing in harmony more. Over the last year, through the writing process and really through the last two years of touring on Blue, we discovered that we know how to sing, at least with each other well enough. We wanted to treat that like another instrument in the band. Its never really been a big focus, in fact its been an afterthought.
Matt: I think its a pretty big expansion of instrumentation all around. We’re progressing vocally and adding some keyboard parts as well.
Peter: Like I said, it was more of like what the song needs. That was how we looked at it. We thought “hey this song could use some keyboards.” We never really did that before where we were like, “man this song needs that!” Maybe we never wrote anything that required another instrument that we felt we needed to add. There’s a few new tricks.
How do you think you guys have progressed as band?
Peter: In touring on Blue, we realized that we were playing these extremely dense sets. All the Red material and all the Blue material was just like pounding it out. What we’ve done to progress in out live set and in our sound in general, we’ve actually given it a little more breathing room. Now our set is a little more dynamic. What we wanted to do was focus on putting it all together.
You returned to John Congleton (Explosions in the Sky, The Roots) to produce the new album. Do you think having a producer with more of an indie background affected the production process?
Peter: Absolutely. One thing’s for sure, when we found John to do Blue, we didn’t want a metal producer. We just didn’t want that one volume, total compression, which we could have easily done and it wouldn’t have been a bad thing. There was one record in particular that we could all agree on as a band which was Black Mountain’s In the Future. That record is awesome. Its just amazing: the sound of the drums and that whole atmosphere that John was able to create. It was a toss-up between a few guys and we decided on John. When the discussion came back up about using John again for Yellow and Green, we were all for it. First off, I just wanted to work with someone I was comfortable with. We had so much material and we knew that guy would give it the right treatment.
Why was now the right time for a double album?
Peter: We had a lot of ideas, a lot of things we wanted to do and we wanted to get them all out there now, instead of wait til the next record. We were just on a writing spree from the beginning of last year, starting from January 1, 2011. We just let all the ideas come out and tried not to snuff them out. “Well that’s too mellow or weird.” We wrote all these songs and had all this material so we decided to make a double album. Its something that not a lot of people are doing any more. We get too used to record-tour-record-tour-record. As a band, that’s what we all do. You get into that groove. We had time to write an album and we just wanted time to focus on the music and the record, making it more of a bigger project.
You guys just got done touring with Meshuggah and Decapitated and you toured with Animals as Leaders earlier this year. Do you think you’ll continue to tour with heavier bands?
Peter: We’ve done a lot of support tours over the last two and a half years. We wanna start focusing on our headlining set. We’re gonna go out this summer to Europe, do the festival thing, come back, and start doing our own headlining tour. Right now, there’s nothing in the books. If something awesome comes along, we’ll talk about it.
Is there one date on your European tour you’re most looking forward to?
Matt: I think everybody is pretty excited about Roskilde Fest in Copenhagen.
Peter: Its been around for a long time. My big sister went a long time ago.
Matt: Dour Fest (in Belgium) too.
What does it mean to you to be here today? To have been personally invited by Metallica to play this festival?
Peter: It’s pretty awesome and we got this cool introduction (by Lars)! It is quite an honor to come, be invited and even kick the whole thing off.
What other bands are you trying to see this weekend?
Matt: I really wanna see Roky Erickson, Red Fang and Metallica man! I’m so excited they’re playing Ride the Lightning.
Peter: Oh! I’m gonna see Fucked Up!
Matt: The Black Angels are playing tomorrow. Those dudes rip.
Peter: Torche is playing tomorrow and Sepultura.
Favorite Metallica album?
Peter: Can I just say Kill ‘Em All through …Justice? But most definitely Master of Puppets. That record just does it for me all the way through, every time and it just keeps getting better.
Matt: Favorite song has to be “Battery.” That shit is incredible.
Peter: I’m gonna have to say “One.” Always gives me chills. Always has, always will.