2015 Artist Survey: Baio (Chris Baio of Vampire Weekend) | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2015 Artist Survey: Baio (Chris Baio of Vampire Weekend)

Chris Baio on Music Streaming, the Election, Disastrous Dates, Cats, and Star Wars

Mar 03, 2016 Baio Photography by Dan Wilton Bookmark and Share

For Under the Radar’s 13th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2015. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2015 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2015 print and digital issues for answers from Arcade Fire’s Will Butler, Julien Baker, Blanck Mass, CHVRCHES, Dan Deacon, The Dears, Dutch Uncles, EL VY, Everything Everything, Father John Misty, Field Music, The Flaming Lips, How to Dress Well, Sondre Lerche, Low, Luna, Mew, NZCA Lines, Cullen Omori, Natalie Prass, Small Black, Surfer Blood, Tamaryn, Telekinesis, The Walkmen, Youth Lagoon, and others.

Here are some answers from Chris Baio of Vampire Weekend. In 2015 Baio released a solo album, The Names, put out simply under his last name on Glassnote.

A shorter version of this interview ran in the Best of 2015 print issue, which is still on newsstands now. This is the full unedited version of the interview.

Top 10 Albums of 2015

1. Bicep: Just EP
2. D’Angelo: Black Messiah
3. Floating Points: Elaenia
4. DJ Koze: DJ-Kicks
5. Dr. Dre: Compton
6. Maribou State: Portraits
7. Four Tet: Morning/Evening
8. Drake: If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
9. Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp a Butterfly
10. Battles: La Di Da Di

What was the highlight of 2015, for either you personally or for the band? What was the low point?

Signing to Glassnote and putting out my first solo album, The Names, was definitely the highlight of the year for me. Low point? I was supposed to play live at Summer Sonic festival in Tokyo but the morning of the gig I woke up without a voice so I had to do a DJ set instead. Singing on stage is new to me and I would’ve loved to have sang for that large of an audience, but so it goes. I also realize how absurd it is to have that be the low point of my yearI’m a very lucky person.

What are your hopes and plans for 2016?

I’m looking forward to touring more behind my recordthere are so many places I want to go and see.

With the launch of TIDAL and Apple Music in 2015, there are more streaming music options, but the same issues of adequate artist compensation persist. What are your current thoughts on streaming and which service would you most like to have your music on?

I spend so much time working on music that I really want it to reach the most ears possible, so I’m very much in favor of having it be on all services. I think for 99.9% of artists, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not having your music be everywhere possible. YouTube pays a much lower royalty rate than all the streaming companies but you don’t really hear people complain about it; most artists seem to agree that it works as a great promotional tool. I think historically fighting the tide of technology in music has been a losing battle, and as a consumer I really love Spotify. Also, the more that people use subscription services the more that royalties will be paid out. Overall, I’m into it!

What are your thoughts on Friday being the new global release day for albums? Is it helping or hurting album sales?

I have no idea! I think it’s cool though; I like weekends! Reminds me of going to the movies and eating gummy candy.

Mainstream pop music is increasingly embraced by indie rock musicians and listeners, as well as serious music critics. At this point, do you draw any distinctions between Top 40 pop and indie rock/pop? Are you comfortable with this shift?

Why focus on genre divisions or false binaries? If something moves you it moves you!

What are your thoughts on how the 2016 U.S. Presidential election is shaping up?

I find it mostly distressing. It’s really retrograde that mass deportation would be one of the main debates in one party’s primaries.

Ryan Adams covered Taylor Swift’s 1989 (and then Father John Misty covered Adams covering Swift). If you were to cover another artist’s album in its entirety, which would you pick and why?

I would like to cover the first Rage Against the Machine album. Those riffs are how I learned to play guitar and I think it would be fun to record all that screaming. I’d also like to add that my cover version of RATM would be a terrible album, so it will never happen!

Have you ever been fired from a job (be it a day job or musical one)? Why were you fired?

I have never been fired from a job. I am a great employee.

What’s your earliest music-related childhood memory?

Singing Raffi in the car. “Baby Beluga” is tight!

What outrageous request would you most like to put in your tour rider as a joke?

A cat and a fireplace. Chilling with a cat by a fireplace is pretty relaxing.

What’s the most disastrous date you’ve ever been on?

On an early date with a girl I ate a buffalo chicken sandwich, not the most visually pleasing meal. Twelve years later and we’re still together though!

Which Star Wars character are you most like?

Jabba the Hutt when I come home from tour; I’m usually sitting around in a robe eating pizza.

Following the terrorist attack at the Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris do you think that security at music venues should be improved and do you now worry about something similar happening at one of your shows?

Some of the best nights of my life have been spent playing music in Paris and the idea that people lost their lives on a similar night is beyond tragic. That said I don’t believe you should let fear control you, it gives way more power to those who perpetrate violent acts. I for one am looking forward to getting out there and playing as many shows as possible over the next year.



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