INTERVIEW BATHS by Nadine Oosthuizen
“I get to do whatever I want and make a living from it.” It’s the end of our interview, and Will Wiesenfeld, aka Baths, is running out the door of his new SoCal apartment before I let him go. “Seriously, it’s still the most surreal thing in the world and I think about it all the time. I have an active career doing literally exactly what I want.”
Not that Wiesenfeld has not been doing exactly what he wanted for a very long time. He’s been playing the piano since he was four. At twelve "completely abandoned it”. Recorded his first piece of music at fourteen. And released four albums and three EPs. After that, Baths was born: Cerulean, Obsidian. Next up: Ocean Death.
Which is why I’m glad I took approximately 45 minutes required to get up to speed with Wiesenfeld’s life, love, future endeavors and death.
DWP Give us the short version
Life: CNN (Anderson Cooper)
Love: Anderson Cooper (Hugh Jackman)
Future endeavors: Hugh Jackman (Anderson Cooper)
Death: Anderson Cooper, by way of Hugh Jackson
DWP You’ve been making music from a very young age, constantly until now, did you ever think about becoming something else than a musician?
W: There was a brief point in time where I wanted to be an architect, and then still want to do something in animation but I don’t know how that would work. But yeah, it was pretty much music from an early age.
DWP What do you want people to experience when they listen to your music?
W: I have had a philosophy about what kind of music I want to put out, which is a sort of newness, just basically trying to make something that I personally haven’t heard before and possibly something other people haven’t heard before that still feels like the most true effort. When I do a full length record and a very fully realized idea, this would be what I’m shooting to do, to make something that feels new to me, something that hasn’t really existed before. It inspires a kind of writing that I wouldn’t normally do if I wasn’t thinking that way.
DWP Is this something that also fascinates you about other artist’s music?
W: Yes, exactly. That’s sort off where that came from. I’m extremely inspired by that sort of thing when I hear other music that I’ve never heard before. Something that really special like that, it’s the best feeling in the world.
DWP What kind music are you in to. Who are you listening to at the moment?
W: Definitely the one thing that I’m listening to right now that feels like nothing else is this group Empty Set, it’s just like a very ruthless, intense sort of electronic that I’ve never heard from anybody before. It’s a very particular sound that I’m obsessed with.
DWP You’ve recently played gigs like Lowend Theory Festival. Are those the type of bands you’d associate yourself with?
W: Not as much actually because a lot of it is DJ stuff, and my heart is much more into a pop electronic realm. I started off making music because of Bjork, and that’s still the realm in which my heart lies.
DWP Where would we possibly find you getting your late night music fix?
W: My late night music fix would be on the internet.
DWP Let’s talk about your process of writing music.
W: It’s always different, because I want to create something new, something that I haven’t experienced. So sometimes a song can start with a word, maybe a title, I become obsessed with the word and I’ll make a song to fit that. Sometimes it starts with a lyric. Other times it starts with a musical idea, I’ll have sort of a melody or something I’ve been singing in my head like that I’ll want to record and make that happen. But the most exciting one is when I have a sonic idea that’s not necessarily musical, that’s more like an idea of how to make a song sound- for example, the song No Past Lives, which didn’t have a musical foundation when I started, it was just an idea of a simple fast piano going into a very loud low lurching heavy beat that was kind of slow and then jumping back and forth between the two. That was all it was. Like the song Facia on the new record, started out as something completely different. It was an extremely loud, aggressive, almost like industrial song that was very trebly and intense, and then I threw away most of that song and only kept the rhythm and then I built a rhythm completely by itself and wrote music for that rhythm. So it could be totally different every time.
DWP I’ve read that the latest album, is pretty much an extension of the the previous two, is that the case? Give me a rundown of Ocean Death, what the album about?
W: Ocean Death is an extension of Obsidian, Serilian and Obsidian weren’t related, but Obsidian and Ocean Death are very much related. Some of the songs have excited but they weren’t meant for record, they just didn’t in my head make sense for it, so they just got put by the wayside, but then it came time to put out something, because that song Ocean Death had existed for about four or five years and we wanted to put that out. But to give that song context, it was the perfect song to make all those other songs work with it. So they’re all mostly thematically similar, so it’s not so much invested in the lyrics, it’s not as thought over and worked out the way Obsidian was.
If today was your last day alive, how would you spend it...
Where would you like to wake up: Pretty much where I am, I’m surprisingly content with everything in my life. I’m obsessed with making my new apartment work so, I like the area where I live and I’m super close to the ocean, so I would just like to do all of that. I would just take it easy, hang by the ocean with friends.
Last supper, what’s on the menu? A lot of Japanese food.Who would you inviteOh god, probably my family, and my other closest friends and then probably like Anderson Cooper and Hugh Jackman, somebody that I’m obsessed with that I just want to meet once (laughs).
What would you ask him? Ah man, this is going to be the worst thing ever but I’d be like “Do you have time for a quicky!”
Okay, what would you be listening to? Um, good question, maybe, Lali Puna, they’re one of my favorite bands ever and I’m just being true to my first instinct because that was the first thing that popped into my head.
Any regrets? No. (A very definite no, we’d like to add here.)
Any deathbed confessions? No,
What would be written on your tombstone? Oh my god, that’s a good one, because I feel like everyday of my life on twitter I’ll say some stupid thing and have a hashtag as something that’ll be written on my tombstone. Urgh! Hang on, let me look on twitter and see if I have one.
What would you come back as? Maybe a dolphin? Or something like that- some crazy water creature.
DWP One more question and then I’m going to let you go. Tell us what has been the most rewarding thing being a musician