Interview with Robert Baker – The Crayon Set
We had the chance to ask Robert Baker from the Crayon Set some questions about their new album. The Crayon Set are a Dublin based six piece and have just released their 2nd album, ‘Lost Languages’. You can see the results below. This is the first part of a two part interview.
How many years have you been playing as a band? I seem to remember some different incarnations of the Crayon Set?
Yeah, the band has been around for about 8 years. There’s been a good few changes over the years, for varying reasons I won’t bore you with. It’s been a gradual churn as opposed to starting again from scratch, but those changes have definitely slowed things down. The current line-up though feels right – it’s the best we’ve sounded and we’re all pretty excited about it.
How do you start writing a song? Does it start with the lyrics or is it noodling on a guitar/ piano?
The better songs have tended to almost write themselves. It usually involves hitting upon a chord progression that I like, which then kind of suggests a vocal melody and an overall feeling. At this stage there’s usually some mumbled stream-of-conscious lyrics – there can be some nuggets there so it’s important to record those. The Voice Memo app on phones has been a god send in terms of keeping track of things. I keep notebooks – or again Notes on the iphone – and write down lots of nice turns of phrase or even just individual words that are suggestive or have a nice ring to them – and I’ll go through these as well for ideas when sitting down to get the lyrics done. So it’s usually lyrics last – they are the hardest thing to get right.
How do you choose the musical arrangements for a song?
Mostly through jamming. I’d usually have a general idea of where I’d like it to end up but I’ll bring the bare bones of a song in to rehearsal and see what happens. There’s always been really good musicians in the band so it pays not to be too precious and see what the other lads bring. The good stuff usually sticks. We’d usually record some of the sessions and listen back and start editing out stuff that isn’t working so well. On this album we worked with Gavin Glass who added some great ideas and then we went to Declan Lonergan for some additional recording, who again had some great ideas re. backing vocal arrangements for example.