A Year in Music – 2022 – Robert Baker (The Crayon Set)

A Year in Music – 2022 – Robert Baker (The Crayon Set)

How was music for you in 2022?

Music is always good. It seems to be becoming even more important in my life – every year I seem to be consuming less TV, less movies, less reading – and more music. Or making music. Or if I am reading it’s often music-related etc. Possibly not healthy?

Some new albums I enjoyed:

Wilco – Cruel Country
Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain
The Delines – Sea Drift

Panda Bear and Sonic Boom – Reset
Drive-By Truckers – Welcome 2 Club XIII
Omerta – Collection Particulière
Jake Xerxes Fussell – Good and Green Again
Beach House – Once Twice Melody
Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights
The Soft Pink Truth – Is It Going To Get Any Deeper Than This

What was your main musical highlight of 2022?

Big Thief in the National Stadium felt special. It was just after things had opened back up and it felt like a celebration of that. They are a once-in-a-generation band.

Are you playing or attending gigs? How do you find it?

The Crayon Set have been relatively busy in terms of gigs. We got to open for Teenage Fanclub which was a thrill as I’m a huge fan.

We put out a single ‘Love is a Real Place’ and did some gigs around that. We played some venues we hadn’t played previously like Cleeres in Kilkenny and Crane Lane in Cork. It was good to get out and about and meeting up with people again.

I attended lots of great gigs – the aforementioned Big Thief gig, Primavera Sound in Barcelona (Yo La Tengo and Beck stood out), Sudan Archives, Destroyer, The Delines, All Together Now (Nick Cave, Rival Consoles and AE Mak were highlights) Paul Weller, This is the Kit and of course Dylan in the 3 Arena.

In many ways it felt like it was the year of the Bob – on the back of the terrific ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’, his new book ‘The Philosophy of Modern Song’ and Conor McPherson’s Girl From the North Country’ soundtracked by his songs which ran in the Olympia. Not bad going for a man of 81.

Can you recommend an album, from any year, that doesn’t get the credit it deserves

Maybe Friends by The Beach Boys – I don’t ever see it on any lists. It’s fairly low-key and understated I guess. Or ‘Into the Great Wide Open’ by Tom Petty – would be my favourite of his and seems kind of underappreciated. Or something more below the radar: Houndstooth – Ride Out the Dark

Do you still listen to lots of music? How do you listen to music these days?

Yes. I listen mostly on Spotify, to be honest. Although I am very aware of the effect the streaming platforms have had on Artist’s income. My ‘Spotify Wrapped’ wasn’t very insightful this year as Jacobs Vocal Academy – a singing coach – was my Top Artist. I do still buy the occasional album on vinyl but I mostly consume music when I’m walking or in the car or in bed.

The Spotify Discover Weekly playlist has become a must-listen-to. Whatever algorithms they have, they have nailed the kinds of things I will like. It’s also a nice mix of old and new – too many playlists and music blogs tend to focus solely on the brand new, and they tend to over-sell it I find. Also, live stuff on Youtube. But mostly it’s playlists while taking long walks in the Phoenix Park.

What sort of year have you had yourself?

Good, if this was football I’d probably call it a ‘transition season’. Have gone back to college (studying Data Science remotely) so that’s been quite a change from the normal 9-5 office job routine. And I feel like a lot of people, myself included, are probably still adapting to post-pandemic life and disturbing world events.

Any interesting projects in the works? Are you working on a new album?

Yes, 2 new albums. With The Crayon Set, we’ve been working on a new batch of songs and we’re hoping to record in the Spring if we can get our ducks in a row. It’s a bit more guitar-based and shoegaze-y in places – we’re excited about how they are shaping up and they’ve been well-received live.

I’m also hoping to put out a solo album which will be a first for me. Have a lot of songs written so no point in hanging on to them forever. It will be a bit more acoustic and lo-fi. So looking forward to seeing what 2023 has in store.

Categories: Header, interview, Music

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