Positive vibes can be hard to muster, and even harder to maintain – unless you’re Aussie rap icon, Baker Boy, that is.
The Aussie rapper, dancer, actor, artist, multi-linguist, Order of Australia (OAM) medal winner, and all-round powerhouse is back to shed some positivity on the party people with his slapping new single, Ride, featuring Yirrmal.
We had a chat with Baker Boy about his evolution as an artist, his love for the upbeat, as well as his latest collaboration with INXS, and augmented reality.
HAPPY: Congrats on the new single. Ride SLAPS. It’s such a tune. But, why is upbeat music so important to you?
BAKER BOY: Thank you! Yeah, it is an upbeat track! I think that’s because I’m naturally positive, but also I feel like sometimes there can so much negative in the world. So, I think it’s really important to add some positivity, and kind of keep that vibe. I think that like, having it upbeat would make it a positive vibe that brings everyone together. Just keep that positive life going!
HAPPY: Yeah, I mean, where did you see this song going? Did you want more of a floor-filler for a house party, or something personal that you can listen to as you’re just doing your thing?
BAKER BOY: Well, it’s like my first track, Marryuna, it’s similar but more funky – funky vibes. We recorded live horns for it as well, for that funk feeling. Yeah, having that stuff just makes it more pop as well.
(Dog enters Baker Boy’s Zoom video and starts demanding attention)
BAKER BOY: Sorry there’s a doggo jumping on me!
BAKER BOY: But yeah, the track is funky and upbeat, where you feel like you wanna break it down, and have fun. But it’s like ‘funky’ because there are different types of upbeat style. But having that funk, and then you feel that funk, and then you’re standing and slapping-the-bass, that’s the kind of style!
HAPPY: Yeah! I was actually going to say, this track sounds different to your other works, but I’m guessing that’s that funk, right?
BAKER BOY: Yeah! I mean, I still love my older tracks, but I feel like my songs and writing are getting better every time I keep writing and stuff. The more I do it, the more I see the music life. I grew up as a dancer my whole life, and not really getting into music. But, as soon I digged into it, the more I got into music, and the more I saw how massive it is and how deep it goes. How you can connect with people just by making music. I guess I just keep doing it, keep making music, keep having writing sessions, and I keep getting better, and the sound changes as well. It’s like starting from a kid and growing into yourself. When I started writing and kept diving into music, the better I got. But, I still have the love for the old music that I’ve done, because it shows how far I’ve gone, and it’s good to see the growth.
HAPPY: Yeah. When you say you’re getting better as a writer, does that mean things are coming easier? Or do you feel like you’re expressing more stuff you couldn’t before?
BAKER BOY: Both, yeah. I’m expressing more, and also learning more. I guess everything is getting easier, and the more easy the storytelling becomes.
HAPPY: What was it like being able to collaborate with your cousin Yirrmal again?
BAKER BOY: It’s pretty cool! It’s really good to hang out with my cousin, and like, be in a studio and actually talk in language. Talk about what we’re going to be writing about – What’s this track about? What’re you feeling when you listen to this beat? And we both went ‘every time I listen to this beat, I wanna go out.’ Like, I wanna go out to night clubs and break it down with all the mob, or like everyone out there. That’s where the party people at. That’s where MY people at! All the party people! So yeah, it’s always nice to be in a studio with Yirrmal again. His voice is just insane when he sings, he’s an amazing human, and I get inspired by his singing because his singing is just INSANE!
HAPPY: You’ve done a lot of collaborations with people recently. Do you more prefer doing collabs with people, or working alone? Or is it a bit of both?
BAKER BOY: Both! I like collaborating and working for myself. BUT I love collaborating with people because you build a vibe in a room, with an artist, with a producer. You guys build this vibe, and just vibe, and there’s something about this vibe that’s like ‘wow, this is amazing.’ It makes you just want to be in a place where it’s just good vibes, awesome energy, and make banging tracks.
HAPPY: It sounds like good vibes all-round! But, when you have an idea for a song, what’s the first thing you do?
BAKER BOY: Well, sometimes we just talk, have a normal conversation and stuff, and something in the word or in the story would trigger something. Then you’re like, ‘man, that’s the track, we’re gonna work on that one. I feel like listening to this track because there’s something about that.’Then we keep diving into it and go around it and stuff. And then, the track tells you to go in this direction. Yeah, it’s just back-and-forth, and feeling the vibe, and listening to the beat. Sometimes, beat can tell where to go, or the vibe will tell you where to go and stuff!
HAPPY: It sounds like you’re a natural collaborator, which actually brings me to my next question. I want to talk about this recent INXS collaboration. Can you give us some more details about that?
BAKER BOY: That was pretty exciting! It was typical to collab with INXS for the LEGO video app, and for the LEGO video. New Sensation is an iconic track, and it was really cool to come up with a dance and dance to the track. It’s a privilege to dance to big tracks, and just get to meet them as well. I was mind blown. It was crazy to dance with John and Kirk, and the app is so cool! It brings the LEGO into reality kinda style, so like virtual reality vibe. So, you can like film someone while they’re dancing, and add the LEGO dancing right next to that person, and it’s pretty cool. I mean, I had so much fun mucking around with the LEGO thing. I wish they had that when I was a kid, I’m so jealous! If I was a kid, and I had that sort of stuff, I’d be going nuts! But yeah, pretty much all that, and it was really cool to collab with LEGO video, and have heaps of kids dancing at the end. It was just so cool!
HAPPY: Speaking of LEGO, what was your favourite toy as a kid?
BAKER BOY: Yeah, there were a lot. But I did like a Ninja Turtle action figure, them ones. And I also remember building a LEGO pirate ship, but I didn’t finish it, it was like halfway done, and yeah, I did like half a ship.
HAPPY: (Laughs). Well, other than LEGO, do you have any projects coming up that you might wanna share with us?
BAKER BOY: Yeah, I’ve been humbugged from everyone, and I always say this, but my album IS coming out – 100 per cent – this year. 2021, it’s this year. It’s not gonna be next year. Last time I was like ‘ah it’s coming out end of this year,’ end of this year comes up, ‘ah it’s gonna come out end of next year,’ early next year comes up, ‘ah it’s gonna come out end of that year’ – and everyone keeps getting excited. 150 per cent sure it’s this year, and it’s super exciting. I’m actually in the studio right now finishing two tracks, I’ve got three tracks to go, and I’m super excited for it!
HAPPY: We’re excited too! So, I guess, is there anything you want to add in? Anything we didn’t ask that you wanna mention?
BAKER BOY: Yeah! I guess just listen to my new single, Ride, featuring Yirrmal!
BAKER BOY: Yeah! Everyone!
HAPPY: Thank you so much! this has been absolutely lovely.
BAKER BOY: Yeah, nah this has been awesome! Thanks!
Ride, featuring the vocal wonders of Yirrmal, is out now. You can listen to it here.
Interview by Mike Hitch