Julien Baker Thinks The Tortured Artist Concept Is ‘Grotesque’

02.03.17 2 years ago

Nolan Knight

With 2015’s Sprained Ankle, 21-year-old Julien Baker made waves, quickly ascending from an unknown singer-songwriter to opening for (and performing with) Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard. She’s now signed to Matador Records for her next effort, which is currently in production with the help of Cam Boucher of Sorority Noise.

Baker recently sat down with The Creative Independent for an eye-opening interview discussing her new work and the implications of creating one of the most devastatingly beautiful records in recent memory with Sprained Ankle.

On the success of Sprained Ankle:

I’ve heard myself say something in the past that isn’t totally precise, suggesting that I made Sprained Ankle only for me. Admittedly, it’s a very self-involved record that’s specific to my own experiences that I wrote as a tool, as a coping mechanism primarily, for what was happening in my life at that point. That’s how I’ve always used music. I grew up writing songs in punk bands and we would have the same conversation regularly, ‘Oh, this is going to be rad when we play it at a show!’ You would imagine people singing along and yelling out the chorus. So you have something that not only you’re trying to say for yourself because you need to say it, but also that you’re saying to the world, even if the world in your schema in this small community… even if your audience is just a basement.

On her new record:

I’m sort of always working on songs no matter what. You can’t not be working on a project if writing is just how you go about compartmentalizing your life. Everything that happens, every feeling that you have, becomes work. Since the end of 2015 — and keeping in mind all the life changes that year occasioned — I was writing quite a bit. I saw a latent theme start to develop, and then I was like, ‘Oh, well let’s pursue this.’ I now have a really good idea of what I want the next record to be conceptually. I think I can be more intentional with it in presentation, if not necessarily in construction. It’ll probably be sonically similar, because that’s the style in which I write.

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