Julien Baker admits she felt “tortured” about putting drums on her new record

We caught up with the Tennessean to talk self-doubt, pursuing guitar virtuosity to prove a point, chasing ‘ugly’ sounds, and why spending two hours trying to get your head around a new effects pedal is a valid form of self-care…

Julien Baker

Image credit: Alysse Gafkjen

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Julien Baker has admitted that she struggled with whether or not to put drums on her new album, Little Oblivions, given the sparse, minimal instrumentation used on her critically acclaimed 2017 album, Turn Out The Lights.

“I didn’t want to go back over similar ideas – that’s obviously a fear of people who put out small instrumentation records,” Baker told Guitar Magazine in a forthcoming interview. “If you’d been doing something for four years, you’d want to do it differently. And I feel like it’s always going to be one way or the other, right? It’s like Springsteen puts out Nebraska or Dylan going electric, and all of a sudden people are like, ‘What’s going on!?’ Well, they’re just musicians doing something different… but I felt tortured about it!

“I really wanted to have percussive elements on the record, because I wanted to broaden my sonic palette and find more ways to serve the song. But at some point I just stepped outside of these crazy fears and was like, ‘But you’re not Bob Dylan, though… it doesn’t matter! Why are you freaking out about this? Just put drums on the record. Calm down, it’s not a huge deal!’”

Baker released the debut single from Little Oblivions, Faith Healer, back in October, which showcases the lush production and layered instrumentation of the Tennessean’s new record, which is out 26 February 2021 on Matador.

Read the full interview with Julien in issue 389 of Guitar Magazine, on sale 5 January 2020.

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