We splashed out of Exeter Cavern, Will (aka Baths) beaming with a well deserved exhaustion and myself twitching manically in a terrifying euphoria that only a star-struck 17 year old ever could possess. We are in a humming street full of various drunk Exetonians, panting for silence. After a fashion, he is about to tell me many tales - ranging from his burning hatred for Muse to the obscene power of Pitchfork to why he doesn’t drink or drug.
But first, one of the drunk students of Exeter rages over to Will with a blinding curiosity…
Nick (Someone I was vaguely introduced to that evening): HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN ENGLAND FOR? (Laughing madly)
Will: Err! About a week and a half now. Wait, what’s happening?!
After a fashion of bewildered stuttering and an array of disorganised blurting and noises, we decided to move to a more suitable location. And I start composing myself to the little scrawled preparation I have down in my book.
So Will, a lot’s changed for you in the last 6 months or so and you’ve almost become “famous”, do you feel in anyway that you have changed with this rise in popularity?
Nah, I mean, ever since like seventh grade, I decided that this is exactly what I want to do with my life. So, everything in my life has sort of progressed towards that. It’s been like the most natural organic progression of building a career for myself. Like, the way I met Alfred in Los Angeles, happened 3 days after I decided I was going to do this full-time. It was like a perfect sign and everything. Everything has sort of been like that. When I was making music much younger, it was exactly what it is now. I mean, maybe not polished, but a little crazy and fun; still like “Wohhh”. I mean, it was what it was, and now it is what it is. (giggles nervously at how absurd the last statement sounded in his head)
Are you touching on the possibility of ‘fate’, venturing on an already set-out path? Or are you taking it as it comes?
Taking it as it comes, definitely. I mean, you never want to take anything too seriously like that. I think that’s the problem with a lot of… How do I say this… There are so many bands that take themselves so seriously and try really hard to be epic and forget about being human-beings. For music to be really large and monumental to a person, you can’t fake that; you just have to be your natural music and communicate to somebody. Mmm… For instance, Muse. I FUCKING hate Muse – they’re “Oh we’re the most epic band on the entire planet. Our tours are like the UNIVERSE TOURS” You know what I mean, it’s totally ridiculous.
“America’s basically just corn, whereas Europe’s beautiful…”
Brilliant. Now… Water. (How Does it influence your music?)
Oh yeah. I’m even drinking it now !
Ah! You are obsessed.
(solemn-faced) Yeahyeahyeah. There are just so many connotations of the word “water” that I’ve read. Like, all the different meanings. Actually, it’s funny because I actually wrote an article for someone about water. They asked me to write about it and it’s really long. Basically, like how the element is related to change and feeling constant. Like, it’s similar to me in the way I don’t like to stay too stationary… If that makes sense.
Mmm yeah, so from your perspective, is water seen as something you respect or as something that you sort of move with equally?
Well yes, Both! That’s the thing it’s [water] like an all-encompassing thing. Like. I have an undying respect for water and for instance, what it can do to the human body and like all that sort of thing. But at the same time, I feel like it’s very related to me and my life and the way I view things and how I operate. I like things very simple.
What’s the next album going to be like?
Well, in terms of how ludicrously positive Cerulean was, the next album is going to be much much darker. Like more… I don’t want to use the word introspective because all my music’s like that but errr… I dunno, it’s going to be more intense. There’s a lot more pre-meditation in ideas which is a bit like with Post-Foetus; where there’s a lot of ideas happening before I ever record – whereas Cerulean was very spontaneous.
Mmm. So how much do you bear in mind what other people are thinking? For instance people like Pitchfork…
Yeahyeahyeah. Well, it’s all give-and-take. The thing is, the critic is not an artist and they’re not doing the work. There are times when it can really help and it can like boost your career and you should pay your respects for that. That happened with me definitely; Pitchfork were a very big push for me. But the thing is, it’s a very frail thing, because what if Pitchfork hate my next album… It can turn into a total shit-fest. Like. For a critic to have that much power is ridiculous because they’re not even the people doing the work. The fact that they can just tear it down is a horrifying thing.
What do you think about England?
Oh I love it.
Tom: You have to say that.
Yeah but it’s true… Like, my life is very very regular in Los Angeles – I’m very used to a lot of things (which I love and I can’t wait to get back to and all that stuff), but I love newness, and seeing things for the first time. Every single night it’s a new city; it’s fucking crazy. It’s not even remotely like touring around America. America is basically ‘corn’, whereas Europe is like beautiful architecture, wonderful people and everything, places to go and things to do, trains, beautiful views, sheep… and then like America’s just corn.
Why, in your own words, would you not like your music to be described as “blunted”?
Oh. Well, I don’t smoke weed and it’s not part of anything. I mean, some of my closest friends are big pot-smokers and everything. But like, categorising anything like that reduces it to something. It makes it like beef and that’s not what it is. …~inaudible mumbling~… weed and attributing ‘that’ to my music doesn’t make sense. I don’t do drugs, because I’m pretty neurotic and I have ADHD. I take medication for that and medication mixed with ‘anything’ would be horrifying and I’d go crazy. Like I also have **** and I can’t drink, so when I drink I throw up very very easily and the also the alcohol fucks the ADHD. So basically it’s all terrible. I guess that’s why water is a very big thing for me, it’s just so pure and I can have as much of it as I want.
Are you shivering at the moment?
I’m not shivering! The thing is, I have like crazy Canadian skin and it’s very thick so I sweat very easily. So like now, the heat from the stage will keep me warm for the next 45 minutes
Oh ok! So you are Canadian. Excellent…
Tom: What’s it like being on Anticon?
Just amazing. It was very surreal when it happened.
You must have known all the artists already on the label as well…
Yeah! There were so many amazing reasons to sign for them… Like all the amazing people on it and the guy **** who actually runs it now. Everything about it just like fell into place. Everyone I’ve met on the label so far have been ridiculously supportive. They’re like all rooting for me and they’re all on my side… I mean, I thought there might be some confrontational shit, like for instance, that I’m not hot enough or something – you know what I mean. But like, they’re human beings and they’re the most regular normal awesome people ever and the amazingly talented musicians. And like… It’s just surreal, totally surreal .
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa… That was awful
Last final trivial question: how do you pronounce the song “♥”.
“Heart”, yeah just “heart”. I thought the shape was more fun.
Over the course of this interview, my initial normal buzzing star-struck feeling had mounted into the most over-whelming sense of ‘unfulfilment’. Here was Will Weisenfeld, someone who’s music has physically touched up the insides of my head (and so many other heads) to an intense level, and he was walking away from the curious interviewer onto his next European city, who would no doubt welcome him with open arms. The guy’s a fucking genius, the way he plays his ‘machine’ on stage is away-blowing. His crying vocals rang out around the venue and I literally felt dizzy with appreciation. IT WAS SO TRUE. Everything about the connection he held, everything about the projection he filled, everything about his music was entirely profound, yet at same time blissfully innocent and adorably pure; It was crushingly intense yet delightfully care-free. Like the most crude smiley-face emoticon painted out to be the most powerful and profound statement one could ever interpret, and it makes you smile too.
Anyway, Will is finished in Europe – he said on facebook 21 hours ago “done with shows for a long while. Europe. you’re amazing. hopefully see you again next year ♥”
Thankyou very much Tom Oberst for recording/helping the interview.
Thanks a lot for reading this and I leave you with a classic Lotus track from the DJ set pre-performance and also, of course, one of the best examples of Baths/an encore I have ever seen.
Flying Lotus – Do The Astral Plane [mp3]
Baths – Aminals