Interview with Simon Baker

Jeffrey Nolet sat down with Simon Baker to talk about influences, career choices, music, and his debut album Traces.

Apr 8, 2011 - 16:31
Interview with Simon Baker
Photo by Simon Baker
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Simon Bakers debut album “Traces” proves that he is one of the bigger players in the world of house and trance music. As soon as you listen to this album you know its from the heart, the true roots where music should come from. He wanted to wait till it felt right to make an album, and that waiting paid off. He spared nothing when it comes to this album. From soothing vocals, to soulful beats, to rich instruments, this album is truly one of a kind. Simon has made an album that will touch you, lift you up, and it will change you. He has set his standard for house music very high. There is no doubt in my mind that you will be hearing a lot more from him. The only thing he leaves you with is the question, what will this amazing artist do next?

First off Simon, congratulations! How does it feel to finally have your debut album being released?
Thanks …..Really amazing, and also very satisfying to have made an album I think I can be very proud of.

What made you feel that the time was right to make this wonderful album?
I do things when they feel right naturally. I feel I have the experience now to put an album together that isn't just straight club tracks. I wanted it to represent me and my years in this music scene and show my more musical side. Hopefully this shows in the direction I have taken in the album.

This is obviously only the beginning for you in terms of your own albums, what else do you have in the works?
I am presently just working on EP’s for other labels and also some more collaborations in the pipeline. Album number two I will think about much later. Its been a long journey with this one and I need to think about something else for the time being. I am also pretty busy touring, so I have plenty going on for now.

What was the biggest influence when it came to producing this album?
I like to take inspiration from all kinds of sources whether it be music, people, or subject matter around me. I try not to name certain artists who inspired me, as I am inspired hugely by the different feelings and different sounds all music offers me. The album represents me and my life journey through house music ever since I picked up The Best Of House Vol3 on vinyl when I was 16 years old! (I am now 36) That’s what changed my life!

What's one song on your album that you think really reflects you?
I Think they all represent me in one way or another, but ill go with Grey Area, because I was in a big Grey Area while chasing the music pipe dream, very unsure where my life was going and whether I would have to take a full time job again, also the track Think! Just because very much the thinker! I can think my way in and out of things in a flash without even doing anything. I have a busy mind usually, which can be a good thing.

Tell me where the name of the album “Traces” came from.
The album title is basically is about me tracing back my life and tracing the path I have taken to get to where I am now. My story involves me leaving my full time secure job and selling my house to chase this particular career path. Traces are like faint imprints in my memory.

Did you plan much of the album out? or did it just come to you naturally in the studio?
Well firstly, I loved every minute. My favourite past time in the world is to sit in the studio and come up with new ideas. It was written over the space of a year. There is 1 track on there written more than a year ago, but most of it is 12 months old or newer. I changed the way I worked with the album by having less thoughts on the dance floor and just letting my creative juices flow naturally. I loved working in this way.

Do you remember the first show you ever played? Tell me how you felt back then, compared to when you play now.
Yes, as clear as yesterday, it was a fill in for a DJ who had not showed at a bar in my home town of Leeds. I had been djing for many years before this but only in my bedroom, never in front of 200 people, so It as kinda nerve racking, but I pulled it off and they gave me a weekly residency in the bar. It all started there really. These days I have much more confidence and usually play to bigger crowds, but still have just as much passion and dedication as I did that very first night.

Tell me about the earlier years in your career, what were the most important things that you learned?
I would play bars and local clubs mainly, it snowballed really, then the production took off. I probably learnt how to work with different crowds and that the same set 2 nights running can not always be the same vibe. You have to know how to work with the people , club and atmosphere.

Do you have any DJ's that you mentor? Who has been your biggest mentor?
Hmm, well I took Burnski on at a young age on my old label Infant records. I guess I kind of took him under my/our wing, but he didn’t need much mentoring as he was a massive talent from the start.

If you were in a different industry, do you think people would still view you the same, or differently?
Interesting question, I think I am a very down to earth person, so I would be exactly the same to my friends and to the people who know me, but I guess I wouldn’t have as many “friends” on Facebook if I was still working in my old Insurance job of 10 years ago! Put it that way!