Well you know every show is so different. It’s really incredible how different they are. And its very hard to say a certain country or region or even town has a certain type of crowd. I find it actually depends more upon whether its a weekday or a weekend, whether there’s a bar, and whether people are sitting or standing. My time in Europe thus far (Portugal, England, Ireland) has been wonderful - a wild variety of rooms, all full, and of music fans. Couldn’t ask for more.
Any notable tour stories from your current run?
This question is always so difficult. There is either a hundred stories or none. We started the tour in a tiny 11th Century Portuguese Chapel, and then into a modern architectural wonder in Porto, and have moved ourselves through ancient castles and rural farms and fireworks factories, through the streets of Lisbon drunk on these powered scooters, past eucalyptus lined beaches in a rebuilt Mini from the 70s, through the cream and gilt and chilly mist of London, and sure the other day our greenroom was a bedroom in which King Henry VII slept on his way to win the Battle of Bosworth and bring the Tudors to power. This minute i’m sitting on the green and heaving Irish sea waiting to be deposited amongst the forts and castles of Wales. What a time to be alive.
Your solo album ‘Forever Overhead’ came out last year. Were you pleased with the reaction to it?
The reception has, honestly, been pretty marvellous. I didn't have much on which to build any expectation, never having released anything other than Hey Rosetta records before. And it’s still, even with all of the digital metrics of the day, still sort of hard to tell how something has been received. But from what i can tell, on the ground, and in the social network ether, people are very into it, happy for it, and it’s meant a lot.
Hey Rosetta! Has been on hiatus for 3 or so years now. Any plans to get back together with the band at some point or do you want to concentrate on your solo releases and touring for the foreseeable?
I’ll be putting together another solo record before any new Hey Rosetta might materialize. I feel like i’m only getting started. And these days everyone is scattered and busy with new projects for the foreseeable, yeah. But I wouldn’t rule anything out with that gang of beauts down the road.
What inspired you to go solo - and how does your solo material differ to your band days?
Well, obviously, the end of Hey Rosetta inspired the move. I wasn’t ready to stop making songs and music. Being a solo artist is definitely different. I have a lot more freedom in terms of what kind of songs i’m writing and what they could sound like. Sometimes too much freedom to be honest. And I miss the band a lot, but also i’ve got an incredible new band that i am touring with these days. I just try and take the bad with the good and be grateful i can still be at it. I have no idea how my solo material would sound different from another Hey Rosetta record had we made one instead. Everyone is always changing.
How did the idea come up of an EP ‘The Eighteenth Hole Variations’?
The label really wanted to push The Eighteenth Hole as a focus track and they asked me if I had any demos or an instrumental version lying around. I had a single iPhone demo of the song before the words were finished, and we didn’t have an instrumental version cause it was recorded live at the piano, so any piano mics had singing in them. So i decided to make new alternate versions, one a vocal trio arrangement with Felicity Williams (Bernice, Bahamas, many others) & Nico Paulo (of her own band, and of mine!) and an instrumental version that i felt had to be much more sophisticated than merely muting the vocal anyway.
The Video for The Eighteenth Hole is sublimely cinematic- how did you come up with the concept/ treatment for it?
Most of the credit for the video has to remain with its creators Amos Leblanc, Adrien Vieni & Sasha Moroz. I merely reached out to Amos (whose work i love) and pitched him on an idea of a series of scenes and compositions, sort of obliquely related to the song’s narrative. When Amos and his team hit the ground in Newfoundland, much of that changed as they did their committed and flexible work of capturing all the sad and beautiful things they possibly could, which, in Newfoundland, is a lot. I think it ended up such a success.
In an ideal world – no holds barred- who would you like to collaborate with musically and why?
I usually say Feist - because i love her musical spirit and production and voice and i feel i understand her so well - or perhaps Johnny Greenwood because i don’t. Or i would love a 70s era Dion to sing a song i wrote. Or Van Morrison. Or a 60s era Cat Stevens. Or to go through the process of writing and arranging and recording a song with Paul Simon. Or Wilco. Or 60’s Colin Blunstone. Or John Lennon. Oh but i could go on.
What is your personal 5 year plan?
Well, in 2020 i going to finish writing and recording my next record, do more collaborations and co-writes, and tour throughout Canada, the US and Europe again, so i’ve hardly the bandwidth here to consider that x5. But beyond than that x5, I’d like to make more time for other pursuits and projects such as film, tv or musical scoring; using my voice to try and mitigate the climate crisis and other foolish injustices of our time; and as i’m on the road here, i forever find myself craving quiet reflection, study, musical woodshedding, general betterment, and the writing of things other than songs. Also i would like to speak (and cook) Portuguese!
Check out the video for 'The Eighteenth Hole', below. For more, visit TimBaker.net.
Tim Baker 2020 European dates:
February 4: Sofar Paris, Paris, France
February 7: Più Piano, Neuburg an der Donau, Germany*
February 9: Chelsea - Vienna, Austria*
February 12: Mojo Jazz Cafe - Hamburg Germany*
February 13: Prachtwerk - Berlin, Germany*
February 15: Lutherse Kirk - Groningen, Netherlands^
February 16: Trivoli Vrendenburg - Utrecht, Netherlands^
*w/ Nico Paulo
^ supporting Kacy & Clayton