Checking in with Palm Baker

Today, we are speaking with Toronto performer Palm Baker. Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?

Yeah, uh, I guess a bit about me – I’m a singer, songwriter, producer, & DJ working out of Toronto. I was born in Mississauga, but grew up in Brampton. No one outside of the GTA knows/cares that Brampton exists though, & if they do they just sort of roll their eyes – it’s cool though, I get it, but much love (haha).

I was always down with music. I played a bunch of instruments growing up – some better than others – but I don’t think it was until 2013 or 2014 when I built my first studio in my basement apartment in London, ON. that I started trying to at least figure something out.

I’ve since worked with artists across Canada, & the U.S., & even one set of homies out in Sweden. It got things moving for me. In January of 2017, I released my first ep Wayside (EP) & that got things rolling in Toronto. A couple show promoters got in contact with me & I got a chance to play The Mod Club, Revival Bar, & The Opera House all pretty soon out the gate. Presstown PR contacted me shortly after that, & asked to represent the work I was putting out & helped me network it to the right people. I started recording singles & producing with new sounds, & I guess two months after Wayside hit Toronto, I had already started planning my new album, Faces (EP).

Faces (EP) released in September, & went farther than I really could have hoped. The first single released from the album “L.A.” passed 22k on YouTube in just under a month & helped me land support from Skilly Mag, Rude Boy Lifestyle Mag, & Stencil Magazine. With the second release from the album, “Cocktails” I’m hoping to keep momentum going & share a bit more of a creative side with my fans. I’ve got a lot of people to thank, & a lot of people I’m still just in the process of meeting, but I have some new projects in the works & I’m stoked for whats next.

You have been deep at work on your next release. What sort of work have you put into the recording and creative processes for this release?

This time around, the projects are bigger, the videos are higher quality, & budgets for promo are going up – I’m stoked. A lot of time and emotion went into the making of the songs on this upcoming album & I’m feeling good about them. I can’t say much about it yet, but it will be my first full length (LP) CD & it’s set to release in 2018.

Two mix-tapes are currently in the works as well with a number of local artists and producers. 2018 should be a fun year.

What does your recording set up look like (what do you use to record, what are your favorite tools)? 

I actually just got my first bit of analogue in the studio about a month ago. I’m hype! Right now it’s rigged with a Lexicon studio delay/reverb, ART tube vocal preamp, & dbx comp/gate/limiter with an American Audio circuit breaker up top to keep them all safe. I’ve been working in the box since I started producing/recording so I’ll always know my way around in the dark, but the rack mounts are definitely a new favourite.

In terms of my digital setup, I produce, mix & master in Ableton Live suite, with VST’s & plug-ins from Waves, Native Instrument, Xfer, etc. It’s a nice list, I wont lie, but it’s also about how you use it all, right?

My in-house studio mic for both Wayside & Faces has been the Rode NT2. I love the sound it has when running through the ART preamp & dbx comp – it’s nerdy (haha), one-hundred percent, but that stuff matters on an album. I mix & master my work using Yorkville 8” studio monitors, & I honestly love the sound. I know a lot of people go hard for the Rokit KRKs, but I find them notoriously bass-heavy.

When producing, I have a couple go-to gadgets. I’m low-key ride or die with the MPC drum pads – The sounds are unreal, & as a musician, I like being able to play out my ideas. Another studio favourite is the Ableton Push. It let’s me jam & throw out quick ideas & layers. Other than that, a midi keyboard & a handful of fender guitars, a handful of sample packs, & a couple Shure SM 57’s & 58’s.

Tell us a bit more about your latest video for Cocktails. I understand you’ve just released a promo video for the track.

The video for Cocktails was released as a halloween special. It was kind of inspired by “The Shining” but if Jack Nicholson was a wolf man & I was Wendy – or something like that. It was something really fun for the team to shoot & the first time I brought a good friend on set to act. We got to use some new gear & play around on set with fake blood & masks, so it was good vibes. Like “L.A.”, I edited this music video too.

For my upcoming projects I have developed my media team & have an new editor on board, Andrew Budden of Budden Media, which is cool. I think it’ll free me up to focus on creating & putting out new music & performing in the city. I like to support the local scene, & the homie can shoot, so get stoked for 2018.

Cocktails comes from the Faces EP. How do the tracks from the release combine to tell a story about Palm Baker? How is Cocktails different than L.A.?

L.A. is all about the hustle & the good life. “The livin’ ain’t bad now,” right? Cocktails is probably the polar opposite. It is when you’re tweaky, & caught up in paranoia & bad vibes. It’s drowning. That’s not to say life is about paranoia or feeling shitty, but it happens, & Faces (EP) is all about the different sides of self & others. It’s less glamorous, but it’s human to feel shit sometimes.

Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with? What about these online services are different from the traditional face to face meeting and performances that musicians utilize?

IG: @palm.baker

I started on IG. Love it. Kinda late to that game, but I like to think fashionably so. It was a new wave of IG, & I was creating solid & consistent media content with beats I whipped together the day before. I’m glad I’m not still caught in that everyday rat race, but it was crazy & fun, & it helped get attention before anyone had any reason to pay attention (haha).

YouTube: Palm Baker T.V.

Lately it has been YouTube for me. With L.A passing 22k & Cocktails at 12k & climbing, I have already begun working with local artists, videographers, & YouTubers to bring much more & higher quality content.

To me, it’s all about the process. I like being able to share the weird hours in the studio, & all-nighters with the fans as well as the big projects.

What should listeners expect from your music in the future? How can interested NeuFutur readers locate samples of your music? How has the radio response been for your music?

I’m currently putting final touches on my next album. I’m really excited – I’m trying to act cool about it though. It happened over the summer & into Sept./Oct. I got producing, & working for other artists across a lot of genres & ended up getting carried away I guess. I had been writing over a couple months & testing new songs at shows, & bought some new gear for the studio to keep things exciting. The rest just happened.

Aside from that, I’ve got my own mix-tape with local artists that I’m producing to sponsor the scene, & (the house producer) II70 picked me up as the feature artist on his mix-tape (dropping 2018), which is hype. It’s a new sound for me to work with & the first time I’m not going to be hands on with the beats – I mean, features are kinda like that, but it’s different with a whole album. But he’s an unreal producer & really easy to work with, so we’re going h.a.m.

What does the rest of 2017 hold for your music and tour date wise?

Summer ’17 was unreal, I traveled out to Montreal to DJ & perform at MTL Uncovered, & was performing big shows in Toronto. To be honest, I took a second, & invested in my studio, brushed up on the basics & not so basics, & hibernated in the studio for a minute after that. I’ve been dying to get back out on stage, & have been DJ-ing in the city, but I’ve been spending most of my time meeting publishers & agents & trying to land the right gigs & shake the right hands, that sort of thing. My hopes set up with 2018 being a very successful year for Baker Music.

Thank you so much for your time. Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers?

Stay a while

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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