Dont miss NZ's Louis Baker in London Friday-Free Gig   2 Jul 2013

Charlotte Everett

Fri 5th July

Nola Bar, Shoreditch, London

7.30pm

Free

Newtown boy Louis Baker has already carved a name for himself in the Wellington music scene. He’s now in London – fresh from NYC’s Red Bull Music Academy – to record his debut EP, and I was privileged enough to have a chat with him.

The scene: the return of Kiwi House, New Zealand’s Olympic hospitality social HQ. Louis was the perfect man for the Sunday afternoon crowd – many who (like me) had been living in London for so long that we were being exposed to his soulful sound and seductive voice for the first time. It was one man and his guitar, and while he had the stage it was as if time had stopped. Louis was able to ease us into a lazy Sunday not only with his immense talent, but also with his cheekiness and capacity to engage with members of the audience as if we were old friends. And despite only finishing up in the recording studio at 8am, he brought unlimited energy and playfulness into the room.

But who is Louis Baker? As I knew so little about him, I did my best to prepare for meeting him by stalking (uh, I mean researching!) him online. Saw a few YouTube clips (“Movin’” being my personal favourite), and quickly began to grasp that this guy is going places. I was intrigued to know where he had come from, and where he was heading. Thankfully, I got some time with the man one-on-one, and he was more than happy to answer my questions.

So here’s the deal: Louis is from Newtown (Wellington), and we were lucky enough to have him at Kiwi House on his 24th birthday.  Music has always been a massive part of his family, and something that he has been exposed to from a young age. His mother has been involved with music throughout her life – she’s done a lot of dance, played classical piano when she was young, and been in a folk band in Dunedin in the 1960s. He describes his father as more of a “massive music lover”. Louis feels fortunate to have parents who exposed him to such a wide variety of music as he was growing up: be it jazz, heavier music, psychedelic, hip hop or African music. Ultimately, music is something that Louis has “always believed in and loved”, even if only on a listening level – he didn’t actually pick up the guitar until he was around 13. He cites Hendrix as one of his greatest influences.

Louis describes his music as “soulful”, but not soul – it’s something that comes in many forms and falls into many genres and categories – probably as a result of his exposure to many different kinds of music when he was young. He believes open-mindedness towards both music and life is really important.

He comes to us of course fresh from the Red Bull Music Academy in New York – something he says “words don’t suffice how amazing the experience was”. He describes it as being like the life experience of a year put into two weeks. This wasn’t just a technical journey for Louis – it was a personal one. He says he learnt a lot about others, and also about himself. This is his first time overseas, and going to a city as massive as New York straight from Wellington has opened his eyes and his mind to how massive and incredible the world is. He says he definitely has caught the travel bug!

And now he’s here in London – where he has just finished up in the studio with Andy Lovegrove of Breaks Co-op, recording his untitled debut EP comprised entirely of his own material. Louis says he’s based the EP around a real “live” sound, as he believes in keeping things “nice and human, and real sounding”. He said it was beautiful working with a string quartet on two of the tracks – cellist Barney Morse-Brown, who he had met through Andy – did the string arrangement for cello, viola and two violins. He reflects on not only being able to work with four amazing string players, but also having the opportunity to conduct them through one piece, where there is a slight ambiguity on the time feel.

Of course Louis will be returning to Wellington soon though. So how is the music scene there? Louis describes it as being “really cool” and having a great buzz, with a great sense of community that you don’t find anywhere else. He thinks this probably has something to do with the vicinity of things and how close things are. It also probably has a lot to do with the fact that there’s a jazz school there – that Louis himself attended for 3 ½ years – and says a lot of incredible talent comes out of the school. He’s met a lot of talented players who have come out of there, including a few that he is in a band with – “Brockerflowersaurus Rex” – which has more of a heavier psychedelic sound than his solo offering. Louis says you can definitely make a living out of gigging in Wellington – provided you are prepared to work hard, and find or create the gigs.

En route back to Wellington however, Louis will be stopping over in Rarotonga – where he’s been fortunate enough to have been invited to play by Glenda and Moe, who manage a lot of the bookings for the island. He scored this off the back of a show he did in Auckland at “Sounds Aotearoa”.

But for now, we’re lucky enough to Louis here in London town – where having finished up in the studio, he can now reward himself with quality time with his friends here. He’s also managed to do a little bit of sightseeing (check out his Instagram of “Me and Ben”), and is finding a similar rapport with the locals here as with people back home. He still has a few shows here, so be sure to check him out – including a show in Winchester, and his own London show (date to be announced). You can find details of his shows below, and we’ll keep you posted on the London date still to be confirmed!

Louis Baker is one of the most talented and enthusiastic people I’ve had the pleasure to interview, and a hell of a nice guy. Expect big things from him.

View Louis here http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=DkLgcrIIvrE&NR=1

 

Upcoming shows:

London, Tuesday 25 June – No Quarter, at Notting Hill Arts Club

Winchester, Thursday 4 July – Blissfields Festival, Winchester

London, TBA

 

Visit: www.louisbaker.co.nz

 

About the author:

Charlotte Everett has been contributing to NZNewsUK as a columnist and journalist since 2011, and currently serves as London Editor. She has been based in London since mid-2007 and is an active member of London’s Kiwi community, also serving on the committee of the NZ Society UK. She has a broad writing portfolio, including music/entertainment, theatre reviews, travel, rugby, Kiwi success, vegan food, and WW100/ANZAC. She is also an experienced freelance tour guide, and leads city walks across London several times a week. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook or WordPress.


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left by Shameem Deen 25 Jun 2013

OMG Charlotte you article Rocks !!!! Great Talent of a great writer ... Pure Kiwi talent ay ...

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