INTERVIEW: Five Minutes with David Baron
Born and raised in New York, producer, arranger, mixer and engineer David Baron has just released ‘People of No Concern’ feat. Lettie & Madeleine, via Here & Now Recordings.
Son of remote recording pioneer Aaron Baron, (who’s mobile truck, Location Recorders was hired to record ‘Stage Fright’ for The Band at the Woodstock Playhouse) David has worked extensively alongside acts such as The Lumineers, Lenny Kravitz, and Bauhaus’s Peter Murphy.
Baron studied classical violin and piano, and went on to study at Oberlin Conservatory as a classical pianist – before switching over to a technological major with more electronic music and composition. He is a collector of rare analogue synthesizers including an Arp 2500 from 1970, and a Moog Modular from 1967, as well as a 1965 electric harpsichord, the celesta used by Thelonious Monk on Pannonica (Brilliant Corners), and a Blüthner baby grand piano.
On ‘People Of No Concern’ feat. Lettie & Madeleine, David collaborates with 11-year-old Madeleine, an avid singer, guitar player and gymnast, as well as Lettie, a London based singer-songwriter composer who has, since 2008, released three albums with Baron to much critical acclaim.
We catch up with him to chat about the recent release, his inspiration, and his many projects.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
I was drawn to music from the first time I saw people playing instruments in the studio. It still captivates me. It’s my voice to express the unspoken.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Yes, more often than not. On ‘People Of No Concern’ – Lettie, a London based singer-songwriter and composer, and Madeleine who is 11 years old and also based in London.
What’s on your current playlist?
J.S Ondara, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, First Aid Kit, Olafur Arnalds, Max Richter
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
I use a ton of vintage recording gear as well as analogue modular synthesizers. I work hybrid in the computer with a ton of real hardware.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
I drink an insane amount of coffee. At a certain point, I switch to red wine. That’s how I know what time it is.
I write my songs on the piano most of the time. I orchestrate them using samples and synths. Then I hire players to replace the fake stuff.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
My father took me to a New York Studio when I was three-years-old and after that, all I ever wanted was to be working in a recording studio.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Hopefully, Jade Bird!
I love Josin. I did some songs with her for a soundtrack – and have since produced one track for her that is unreleased (she just shot a video for it).
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Hearing other music. Sometimes simply going to a shop and hearing something will inspire me.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
I have an extensive collection of rare analogue synthesizers including an Arp 2500 from 1970, a Moog Modular from 1967. I own a lot of instruments including a 1965 electric harpsichord, the celesta used by Thelonious Monk on Panonica, and a Blüthner baby grand piano.
Any side projects you’re working on?
I produce and work on records for a living so there’s quite a lot of stuff booked.
I am going to Sweden to record a song with First Aid Kit and my partner in crime Simone Felice.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
I started out writing jingles for cookies.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
A lot of music that I’ve worked on – new Lumineers record, Jade Bird’s full length, single from Noah Kahan (Universal/Republic).
Famous last words?
Take a listen. It won’t hurt!
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