American heavy rockers BARONESS have announced their eagerly-awaited return to Australia, with their first ever headline tour taking them across the country this December. Baroness will perform in Adelaide at The Gov on December 12 to share their new album Purple and finally give fans an extended headline setlist.
Baroness have toured Australia numerous times, coming to Australia for Soundwave in 2010 and 2014 and supporting Metallica on their Australian tour with Lamb Of God. However, the first time Nick Jost toured Australia with Baroness was for Soundwave 2014.
“Man that was incredible, outside of Down fans throwing water bottles at Baroness. The whole thing was awesome man. I just spent a lot of time in each city, getting to know Melbourne, getting to know Sydney, playing those Sideshows were the coolest. The sideshow we played in Melbourne was on my 28th birthday with Gojira and Mastodon at the Palace Theatre in Melbourne. It was probably one of the cooler nights of my entire life, the crowd were great, Mastodon threw me a birthday party backstage, I’m really looking forward to getting back,” Nick says enthusiastically.
“I wish I get to spend more time to hang out after this tour we’re doing. Spend a week just travelling around or something. But yeah it was incredible man, what blew me away was that it’s impossible for any Australian to make a bad cup of coffee apparently. Every corner store has some guy with a weird espresso machine slinging really good stuff, which is not the case where I’m from (US)”.
For Nick, Purple is the first album he has worked on with Baroness. It has a notable difference in sound compared to their previous album Yellow & Green, it’s been a major success regardless.
“I think it’s actually heavier than Yellow & Green; it’s a slight return to some of the heavier themes in older Baroness. I mean the response has been really good, what’s interesting is that at every show we play Pete has gotten into the habit of asking ‘who’s first time is it seeing Baroness’ and it’s a lot of new fans. So I’m not sure if we’ve lost fans or happened to gain new ones. There is a turn in there, 50% new people or first timers to shows. Which, depending how you look at it, I think is a good thing. But people are psyched, they’re singing along to the songs, rocking out, and they’re really fun for us to play.”
Baroness have been through many changes in between their last album Yellow & Green (2012) to writing, recording, and release Purple (2015). The band had an unfortunate bus accident while touring Yellow & Green in England resulting in numerous injuries and a long road to recovery. Two of the members in this accident, bassist Matt Maggioni and drummer Allen Blickle, announced their departure from Baroness in 2013. Bassist Nick Jost and drummer Sebastian Thomson stepped up to take their place and together Baroness wrote their best album yet. Nick and Seb walked into the Baroness camp after these events and after a short learning curve they fit right in.
“It wasn’t so much the fact that it was after the accident or that it was pressure for these guys or where they were at with the band. It was definitely in the air but it was never really in the room. We had a bit of a learning curve all getting to know how to work together. But that isn’t necessarily special to our situation, I mean writing music with people is difficult. Once we got in the groove, it wasn’t heavy, there was no pressure around it, it was like ‘we’re going to try to make the music the 4 of us want to make’. I think that’s what we did. I think it probably took us way too long, it just is what it is. We sat in a basement for 10 hours a day for a year and a half and only managed to write 8 songs!” Nick laughs.
When recording the band set aside numerous songs that didn’t fit the album and picked older ideas that could finally come to fruition.
“There’s definitely a handful of other songs that didn’t feel like they were part of the album and a bunch of ideas that we realised weren’t for what the rest of the material had to offer. We have a stowaway section. John and Pete showed me and Seb the ‘Desperation Burns’ riff and apparently they had written that riff something like 7 or 9 years before. They had tried to work it onto every album but it never stuck. Then Seb and I were apparently the missing ingredients for where to go with that. I think that’s kind of cool, something they’ve been working on for 9 years finally fits with the new guys.”
After Yellow & Green Baroness were touring extensively before the bus crash. Once Nick and Seb joined the band the mission statement didn’t change, Baroness went straight back to touring and recording. This was the first time Nick had played with a band at this level of success.
“I’ve never done that big a tour or played festivals at that level. I’ve been in hardcore bands and metal bands since I was 13, I played a lot of that stuff when I was in St Louis, not at this level though. I think we really lucked out that everyone gets along, you know? ‘It’s nice to meet you, let’s go live in a tiny bus for the next 9 months’. Which could have been a really bad thing but for some reason it all worked,” Nick laughs.
Nick was thrown straight into the touring world and festival circuit from the get go. This included meeting and becoming friends with some of the biggest bands in the scene. When asked if anything surprised him about the metal scene, he could only think of one thing.
“Everybody’s really nice. Guys like Mastodon threw me a birthday party, they didn’t know me then. It’s just a welcoming environment it’s just a bunch of goofballs trying to have a good time. So maybe that it was 100% positive, I guess, but I hate to say I’m surprised by that, which makes me sound cynical. But that’s one thing I noticed, everyone in this scene is so down to hang out and nice.”
Baroness fans are finally rejoicing after getting an Australian headline tour. Fans can expect a lot of new songs from Purple and also a few hidden gems being dusted off from the back catalogue.
“I think there’s a lot of Purple on their because we WANT to play those songs now. We did a lot of touring on Yellow & Green, so for us now we’re ready to play this new stuff. We’re also working in older material and stuff off Red and stuff we haven’t played before that we’re getting back in the mix. Me and Sebastian are fans of that music and never got a chance to play certain things that those guys did so we say ‘heeeeyy, should we try this one?’ just cause I know I would have a blast playing it. We have a large catalogue to choose from so we’re trying to see what works together, but yes a lot of Purple at the moment.”
Baroness has had some major accomplishments over the years with numerous albums, world tours, festivals and being recognised as one of the major players in the genre. On top of all that, they supported Metallica with Lamb Of God in 2010 in Australia, which is known as one of the bands favourite tours. Nick has one major goal in mind that he wants to achieve.
“The only thing is to maintain enjoying this for as long as possible. I think that’s my goal. One of Baroness’ goals is to challenge ourselves musically and make sure we are enjoying touring making sure we have people around us we trust. That we’re happy in our situation. That’s what we’re still doing. I think that’s why they’ve [Baroness] have lasted so long. They don’t compromise with that, it’s still a very independent run. They do their own label now. It’s a very small operation. It doesn’t get messy. We just try to keep it going and be creative and keep it interesting for as long as possible. But… touring with Metallica again would be pretty sweet!” He laughs.
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