Baths Speaks on the Dark Tone of 'Obsidian' and the Influence of Azeda Booth

Baths Speaks on the Dark Tone of 'Obsidian' and the Influence of Azeda Booth
On Obsidian, the forthcoming Baths album, Will Wiesenfeld delves into darker and more personal territory than he did with his previous output. Themes on the album include the God-fearing Middle Ages, suicide, being buried alive and the emotional emptiness of casual sex. It makes you wonder if something happened in the L.A. musician's life to inspire such gloomy content, but Wiesenfeld insists that he's just always been drawn to dark music.

"It's a disservice to the record to reveal too much about it," Wiesenfeld tells Exclaim!, "but some songs are closer to home than others. 'No Eyes' is about something I've had to deal with emotionally, and there are other songs like 'Incompatible' that sound like very real narratives that happened to me in my life but didn't. They're something that I've experienced through friends, and I just found a very engaging, emotional subject."

You only have to look at Wiesenfeld's Twitter account to see he's not a morose or depressed personality, but he says he enjoys the twisted contrast of pop music and dark lyrics.

"I've just always been inspired by stuff like that. I've looked for that in movies and in music, and it's something that's always resonated with me. It's very subversive. You're maybe performing for a room of 600 or 700 people. People are dancing and drinking and having a very good time, but you're screaming to them about killing yourself," he laughs, "or being buried underground or all those weird things the album goes through."

One of the biggest musical inspirations for Obsidian, he says, was the music of the Calgary electronic pop band Azeda Booth.

"They are the number one influence for this record. I was introduced to them by the group Braids, who I toured with in February of 2011. Their music is super intricate and the production is brilliant. But the lyrics are so fucked up, they are so dark and weird and sad and depressed. It's just this very warped realm of emotion that's so different. I listened to it religiously for an entire year."

In a synergistic twist of fate, Morgan Greenwood from Azeda Booth is now accompanying Wiesenfeld on his North American tour. "I ended up talking to him and he liked my stuff so we're setting out on tour together. He plays guitar, sings, plays keyboards, and he's a wizard with production and computers. We've built my new live show together from the ground up to work with two people. We're doing as much live as we can while still having the songs intact. Eighty percent of the live show would have been impossible without his help."

Wiesenfeld is also working on some new material as Geotic — his ambient alter-ego — but that's taken a back seat right now to prepare for the Baths tour. "I also have ideas about the next Baths album, but I have 'tour mode' and 'recording mode' and I'm either in one or the other, I don't fuck with both at the same time."

Wiesenfeld also says some remixes of his new material might be on the cards soon.

Obsidian comes out tomorrow (May 28) via Anticon, and Baths has already kicked off a North American tour, with a proposed plan to visit Europe in November.

Read Exclaim!'s newly published Baths magazine feature here.

Tour dates:

5/29 Missoula, MT - The Palace Lounge *
5/30 Boise, ID - Neurolux *
5/31 Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge *
6/1 Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater $
6/2 Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room $
6/5 Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock Social Club *
6/6 Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall *
6/7 Chicago, IL - Metro *
6/8 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick *
6/9 Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern *
6/10 Montreal, QC - Le Belmont *
6/12 Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair *
6/13 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer *
6/14 Washington DC, - Black Cat *
6/15 New York, NY - Webster Hall *
6/16 Richmond, VA - Strange Matter *
6/17 Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade ~
6/19 New Orleans, LA - Hi Ho Lounge *
6/20 Houston, TX - Fitzgerald's *
6/21 Austin, TX - Mohawk *
6/22 Dallas, TX - Loft - Palladium Ballroom *
6/24 El Paso, TX - The Lowbrow Palace *
6/25 Tucson, AZ - Club Congress *
6/26 Phoenix, AZ - The Crescent Ballroom *
6/27 San Diego, CA - Casbah *
6/28 Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre *
6/29 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall *

* with Houses & D33J
~ with D33J