Meet Baird, The Space Rock Marauder Writing Songs From His Bedroom
A multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and college student, Baird is finally ready to share his debut mixtape, BIRDSONGS vol 1. With musical influences ranging from Mount Kimbie to Prince and Arthur Russell, Baird emphasizes the importance of simply making the music he likes to make.
“I just wanted to write music that’s on my mind,” he says. “It didn’t necessarily have an end goal. I’m happy to continue to make music that my friends like and that’s basically it… Mainly I’m just trying to sound like Stevie Wonder.”
As a result, Baird finds himself creating music that merges electronics with songwriting into a sound he calls Space Rock. Just in time for his first mixtape BIRDSONGS vol. 1 to drop, Milk sat down with Baird to talk about his style, creative approach, and what’s next for the rising artist.
Tell me a little about yourself—how old are you and how long have you been pursuing music?
I’m 22, from Baltimore. I’ve been pursuing music seriously since I was about 16. I started posting stuff to Soundcloud and it’s evolved from there. I’ve been in a band with my brother for a while, and my parents are in a band too so I guess it’s in my blood. My brother’s two years older than me and we grew up jamming together which was fun.
So you were signed to a major, then disappeared. What were you up to during that time?
Right. I got this deal from Atlantic my freshman year which was dope but they wanted me to be something I didn’t necessarily feel like I was. I was posting electronic music under the name flybear(soundcloud.com/flybearbeats) and they wanted to take it more mainstream and push for festivals but that wasn’t really what I was going for. I had a different view on the type of artist I want to be, and I basically had a choice between working with the major label or going to school to study music. I’m grateful to have had that opportunity but I’m definitely glad I chose what I did. Now that I’m coming out with songs under my real name it feels more like what what I was originally trying to do.
You’re a self-produced multi-instrumentalist, releasing your first mixtape, BIRDSONGS Vol. 1. Tell me a little about this project and the process it took for you to finally be able to release it now.
I’m taking a little leap of faith here. But it’s as simple as it sounds—I made some music that I like, my mom likes it, and it feels like me. I’m not trying to change the world with it or build a massive following. I’m just sharing stuff I enjoyed writing and hopefully other people like it too. It’s nothing super serious. I’ve been producing my whole life and collaging with sounds for a while—different samples, different drums. As it progresses, I’ve gotten more into sampling myself, honestly just to avoid issues with copyright. Then at some point you realize that there’s a lot of great songs out there—that a lot that can be done with words, so I started trying to write songs more. It’s fun to mix the technical side of music with the conceptual. On one hand it’s pure expression, but on the other hand every song feels like a puzzle.
For those who are unfamiliar with your music, how do you describe your musical style? How does it reflect you as an individual?
Yeah, I call it Space Rock. There’s two sides to it. There’s the electronic side, designing synths, getting the bass to sit how I want it. Then there’s the idea of just writing rock n roll—the music I grew up listening to. There’s the space race impulse to do as much as possible on every single track, and then there’s the sensibility to pare things down and just write songs.
What’s your collaborative process like? Have you collaborated with artists before?
That’s something I definitely want to explore more in the future. With this mixtape, I was definitely a control freak and played every instrument and did the mixing. Of course, I had help from people along the way, but I wanted to do as much as I could on my own—from the cover art to the mastering—just to test my current capabilities. In the past, I’ve done sessions with various artists, especially on the side with Khalid and other bigger names. I want to explore collaborating more in the future, especially as a producer. There’s plenty of stuff sitting on my hard drive, so at some point, I definitely will. For now, I’m just seeing what I can do and seeing what I need to work on as an individual artist.
We’ll see! For this mixtape I just wanted to write music that’s on my mind. It didn’t necessarily have an end goal. I am happy to continue to make music that my friends like and that represents where I’m at. Right now I’m working on a second mixtape, also an ambient album, and I’m experimenting a little more with narrative song writing. We’ll see where it takes me, I still feel like I’ve got a lot to learn.
Images courtesy of Jorge Sibaja
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