DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Baker Island | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Welcome to Doorstep Interview, where we find out more about the amazing bands and artists right here in the north east! This time, we hear from Baker Island about their difficult inception and bright future.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?

We are Baker Island, from Newcastle. We began as a recording project of Sean Dodds, with some help from friends and producers. The band became an actual thing as a three-piece for a gig in late 2013, following a whole week’s practice. We’ve been through, or had cameos from, almost a dozen people since (including members of Cauls, The Wave Pictures, Pale Man Made, TDA and Rexine) but we’ve managed to keep the same line up since the summer and are now feeling much more like an actual band.

What inspired you to first start making music?

Baker Island started as a name for Sean to write and record songs under, with no set format or style, with the opportunity to shift between genres from song to song or even within one song. Basically, writing songs is fun to do, and when you come up with something you like or think is good, then that’s rewarding.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

Pavement, Pixies, Beach Boys, Bearsuit, Guided By Voices, the weird pop stuff on John Peel’s show… Basically, anything that’s got an element of poppiness or catchiness to it, even it’s buried within something bizarre.

How would you describe your sound?

Noisy fuzzpop with occasional strange bits.

Where do you see yourselves fitting into the local music scene?

Definitely on the fringes, if that. A relationship with the local music scene isn’t particularly something we’ve attempted to cultivate. We’ve got to know bands and people that do similar stuff, and that’s great, because there are some excellent bands about so it’s good that they exist and that things are going on that we vaguely fit in with. But we never think that we are part of a particular scene.

“when you come up with something you like or think is good, then that’s rewarding”

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by Baker Island?

It was previously an unrehearsed mess. Maybe now it’s a bit more of a balance between the nervous energy of being slightly uncomfortable on stage mixed with the excitement and fun of playing to people when anything can go wrong. We’ve previously played with the likes of Sky Larkin (at Out of the Trees Festival), The Wave Pictures, Allo Darlin’, Witching Waves, Rushers of Din, Apache Viking, The Artisans and Rice Milk.

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the near future?

Our next gig is in Edinburgh on Saturday 9th May with The Thyme Machine, Bubblegum Lemonade and The Just Joans.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as a band?

Pulling an album together from over two years’ worth of recordings from various studios. It was a bit of a logistical nightmare. Imagine Brian Wilson without the fire helmets, drugs or genius. We’re also really pleased to have been asked to play at this year’s Indietracks Festival, alongside The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Go! Team and Cinerama.

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?

Aside from the usual problems that come along with being in bands – finding the time, finding the money, deciding who will be the designated driver – the biggest challenge we’ve had so far is probably the revolving door line-up we mentioned earlier. Making the transition from a solo project to a band of people that know the songs and can put some new material together took a really long time but we’re excited with where we’re at now.

What else have you got planned for the future?

The single Spanish Trails was out on 27th April, and is available on CD at local record shops, and gigs, as well as download or CD available from Bandcamp. It’s also available from the usual places like iTunes, Spotify etc. Our album Bobby Hundreds is out in summer 2015. Then there’s Indietracks Festival on 24-26 July at the Midland Railway Centre, Derbyshire.

Baker Island’s EP Spanish Trails is out now.

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