Sometimes I wonder how I’ve gotten so lucky to be able to interview some of the greatest musicians in the metal scene. Peter Adams of Baroness is no exception. They’re arguably the most successful group to have combined progressive elements with sludge metal. They also have a new album coming out on July 17th called Yellow and Green. They even have a single out (linked below), with a new single coming in about a week. If you are even remotely interested in progressive metal, sludge metal, or awesome artwork, check them out!
Bröötalisk: I recently chatted with Athon and Andrew from Black Tusk, and Baroness came up in the conversation. It seems to me that your two bands are a very close knit group. Is there any truth to that?
Peter Adams: Absolutely. One hundred percent. Those guys are long time friends. Been friends with that band for many years now. They are great dude. We have had a lot of good times together. We’ve played some great shows together. There’s a lot of connections. We’re just friends. We’re friends like anybody’s friends, ya know? Our singer John does all their artwork too. So yeah, we’re tight. Savanah, where they’re from and where Baroness was based out of for years, is a small town. There’s just a few bands out of there. You’ve probably heard of them all: Kylesa, Black Tusk, and us. So yeah, we’re real tight. And it’s a tight knit group. So yeah, there’s a lot of truth to that. They’re our homeboys, through and through.
Bröötalisk: How’d you guys meet, if you don’t mind me asking?
Peter Adams: Years ago in Savannah, since it’s such a small town, and you just hang out. And when it’s just a small town, and you’ve only got a handful of people who are into just one thing, and you’re all musicians, you just kind of cling together. That’s how we all met, through mutual friends. Of course, we’re from Virginia. Baroness is originally from Virginia. But when we all ended up in Savannah one way or another, that’s who we hung out with because they’re cool and they’re awesome dudes.
Bröötalisk: One thing I asked Andrew and Athon is why they thought Savannah seems to be the center of the so called “sludge punk” scene, and they mentioned that the weather could be a contributing factor. What are your thoughts?
Peter Adams: Yes. It is extremely humid and just boiling hot in Savannah, most of the year. And it does create a vibe. And there’s no basements there, cuz its sea level. So you don’t have basements to play in, and everybody’s gotta find somewhere to play whether it be a warehouse or just a house or try to find a space if you can which are few and far between down there. I’d say weather is most definitely a contributing factor to the sludginess and it’s just swamp and it’s surrounded by swamp. And it’s off the beaten path. Savannah’s not this big hub where bands can readily access or hit, so there’s a bit of seclusion down there and I think that also contributes to it all. It gives you your time, if you know what I mean. You’re not bombarded all the time. And there’s like one venue to play down there. One. So it’s a small town.
Bröötalisk: I remember when we talked with him, his band practice space was just a very tiny hole basically, with a gigantic hole in the ceiling. I think he said he played with Kylesa also. Do you remember that?
Peter Adams: I don’t remember that space in particular, but I know what you speak of. Sounds about right. Sounds exactly right.
Bröötalisk: John Baizley has done an incredible job doing artwork for a ton of bands, including Black Tusk and Baroness. Where do you think he gets the inspiration and ideas for the art pieces?
Peter Adams: It’s definitely hard to answer that for him. I know that John pulls his influences from a lot of different spots. And he’s been developing this over years. John does artwork for bands that he can make a connection to. If he can connect to it it gives him that inspiration and influence record by record. Just about every band that he’s ever worked for gives him his artistic freedom to do his thing. And of course with Baroness he’s got nothing but freedom. But it’s hard for me to say what his precise influences are, but you can see a lot of it in his art.
Bröötalisk: To me, both of the covers to your albums seem to have a theme amongst them. Is that a valid conclusion?
Peter Adams: Yes, absolutely. Years ago I know that Allen (drummer for Baroness) and John talked about that a lot. They talked about doing it that way and it’s something that’s stuck during the early stages like what we did with Red and things just kind of followed in place. As you’ve noticed there’s the women that you’ll always see. The bare chested women in all the scenes. All of those are all reflections of an ongoing theme with John as an artist and graphic designer. Once again, it would be hard to answer that for him, and a lot of it is personal stuff for all of us, and a lot of his art really encompasses what’s going on here and now and what happened maybe last year.
Bröötalisk: Also, your album names are, obviously, based off of colors. Whose idea was it to do that, and why?
Peter Adams: Allen seems to think that he did in a dream. Yeah, Allen “dreamt” that. He had this idea. But it’s also kind of like Zeppelin. You know, they had I, II, III, and IV. In a weird kind of way, that’s our “I, II, III, IV”.
Bröötalisk: Your new album is slated to come out in about two months. Is there anything you can tell me about the album? What makes the record different from your last two?
Peter Adams: Here’s the best way I can put it. As a musician, you’re always trying to challenge yourself and take it somewhere new. At times it can be easy to repeat yourself because you know how to do that. But we write music for ourselves really. We think about what we want. Now, at the end of the Red Album cycle, we looked at the last bit of touring at the end of it, and that’s when I came in, and we looked at the set and said, “Now what do we need to do? What can we add to this set?” And that’s what happened with Blue. It was the same after two years on the Blue Record cycle. We played our last show in Portland, and there was this bit of relief that we were putting this set to rest cuz we’ve just been playing it playing it playing it playing it and touring. And when we sat down and finally got a chance to breathe, when we started writing last year in January, we asked ourselves, “What does our set need?” This is where it differs from the last two albums. It’s us taking a look at it as musicians and saying “What do we want?” We’re the ones that’s going to have to play this stuff for the next 150 days or 300 shows or whatever. So that’s where it differs, and that was something that we could all dig our teeth into. So it was wide open. It was a clean slate. We just want to the drawing board with it. We all had fresh ideas and we all got in the kitchen and started cooking. So what we really wanted to do in a nutshell is to have a more dynamic set with all the peaks and valleys.
Bröötalisk: Lastly, solely out of curiosity, who are some of your favorite artists out there right now?
Peter Adams: I tell you what, right now, I would have to say Royal Thunder. We just did three shows with them to start this tour off and I hadn’t been very keen on them. I knew very little about them. When I got to watch them live, I was blown away. Amazing musicians and a killer band that’s just doing it for me. So right now I’m impressed with Royal Thunder. They’re doing something right now that’s really inspirational. So yeah, Royal Thunder is the freshest band right now for me off the top of my head. But yeah, I tend to fall back on the classics, like everybody does. But definitely, Royal Thunder is the band right now that’s on my radar, and we had a great time touring with them, and I really hope we can do something more with them in the future. Everybody needs to keep their eyes out for them.
Bröötalisk: When I interviewed Misha Mansoor from a band called Periphery, I asked him the same question, and he responded that not many musicians in metal listen to metal because they’re so deep into the genre that it takes a very special metal band to really pop out at them. Is that true for you as well?
Peter Adams: Absolutely positively. I actually listen to very little metal these days, not that I don’t love metal. Here’s the difference: you put on any Priest record from the 70s and you’ve got my full on attention. But yeah it does take a very special band. Something’s got to really stand out and just hit you at that right angle. Backing up a little bit, this band called Earthling from Harrisonburg, Virginia, very young and new metal band, are delivering the goods right now. Nobody’s heard too much from these guys yet, especially from the west coast, but man. Keep your eyes peeled. I have a band called Valkyrie that’s a very classic metal type of band with my brother Jake, and we’re getting ready to do a split 7 inch with this band, and they’re finishing up the touches on their first full length record. So keep your eyes and ears open for them. Google them, get online, find them, they’re freaking amazing and talented and they bring it. All the energy is there. Just talking about it I can get excited cuz I can’t wait to hear their new record. I just heard about it yesterday. But yeah, that’s it right there. It takes something special, and those guys have something special. They’re got that special thing that’s perked my ears up. I first saw them in a basement in the dingiest darkest little dungeon you could possibly go to, and I said to myself, “Uh oh. Here we go.”, because I was waiting for something, That thing to that’s going to jump out. I’ll say one thing though, and I know you guys can relate, you know when you first started getting into heavy music or whatever and you first started going to shows and you get that energy and feeling and goosebumps and your heart rate picks up just standing in line for the show. Just that alone and getting inside and becoming floored like your life’s direction is changing by the day at that point. I’ve been to a million shows, and after a while you say to yourself, “I want that feeling back!” That first feeling that you got when you went to a show for the first time. That band did it for me. Watching that band Earthling play gave me goosebumps.