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

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From a debut headline tour in 2022, the rise of indie newcomer Melanie Baker has been fast and furious, with no sign of stopping yet.

Born in the Lake District and now based in Newcastle, Baker’s enigmatic and searingly honest music has amassed an army of fans, alongside BBC Radio play and over a million Spotify streams, a career she admits was hard to imagine becoming reality. “I didn’t know that it could be a career to pursue or anything. I just loved it and it made so much sense in my life.”

Growing up immersed in the Cumbrian folk scene, Baker fell in love with music at a festival, a communal and collaborative music experience that continues to shape the way she works. “I just love playing with musicians that I really admire, and I love getting to hear them jam ideas that fit my music perfectly. Sometimes I’ll give up on a song and then someone in my band will suggest a really cool guitar riff or bass line that gives it a new lease of life,” says Baker. “It is so liberating to play with a band because I have so many ideas for different parts and sounds and layers, so getting to hear that come to life in real time is so cool.”

Adding a lightness and rocky edge to her sound, Baker’s newly formed band will join her on a UK tour this spring, including a night at The Cluny on Friday 26th April, one of her favourite venues in the North East.

Making music with my friends in the middle of bloody nowhere? A dream come true!

I’ve only been in the North East for a few years now but in that time I’ve felt so supported and welcomed with open arms. I know in other music scenes it can feel quite competitive but here I think everyone genuinely wants to champion each other and see others succeed.

I’m really grateful for that because I’ve never seen music in a competitive way, I think there’s room for everyone to share the music they’re making.”

Baker’s latest single, Double Decker Death Machine, showcases the variety and depth that make her so compelling. Alongside a track full of all the direct, raw emotion and lyricism that have become her trademark, the music video is a tongue-in-cheek romp that sees Baker raiding the dressing-up box as a whole cast of colourful characters.

I always have visual ideas in my head when I’m making music and those visual ideas usually totally contrast the song in a weird way because I want the videos to be joyous and silly and fun!”

Baker’s enthusiasm and passion for music radiates from everything she does, it’s no wonder every piece of work feels like a true labour of love. Her new EP Burnout Baby, launching on 5th April, is no exception, recorded in a remote island lighthouse cottage surrounded by friends.

Being in the studio and making music with other people is my favourite thing to do in the whole world. It’s when I feel most like myself and truly in my element. Making music with my friends in the middle of bloody nowhere? A dream come true!”

Melanie Baker releases Burnout Baby on 5th April via Daemon TV. She plays The Cluny, Newcastle on Friday 26th April.

 

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