Fresh out of the South-West duo BAAST bring dark alternative pop, mesmeric synthesis and sound design intertwined with spoken word and soulful vocals. Unafraid to tackle politicized themes of identity, their performance will captivate and challenge the way you’re told to think.
After a year of producing and writing together, they aim to bring a refreshing, brooding sound to the ears of listeners. Formed by Beth Griffin (Grove) and Josh Petkovic’-Short (Diessa), the pair met in Cheltenham before developing their cohesive sound through Studio 340, a creative community arts venue. Here, they began their out-of-the-ordinary journey.
The new single by BAAST, Red Lion, which will be released Digitally by SCOPE MUSIC is a mythical and soul capturing track, smooth flowing beats with sublime vocals that ensnare the listener, while the beat takes you to places yet unseen and unheard, to dwell in a state of bliss. it is masterpiece of fusion between Jazz, Electronica, Hip-Hop and Techno, yet, in itself, undefinable, BAAST could very well have created a new type of Soul Music, which could very well take us to new heights in this genre.
Growing up in a limiting, restricted and conforming community, Beth was left feeling disconnected from her surroundings, while Josh fell disillusioned with society. The years of inability to explore personal identity now fuels their ambition to craft songs that speak a visceral truth about what it’s like to grow up with that disconnect. The importance of individuality is prominent throughout BAAST’s performance, and their powerful tales charge through every second of each song.
The magnetizing duo are highly anticipated within their local live scene, as both work on their solo projects. Josh releases left-field electronic music under Diessa and runs label/art collective Gloam Recordings, working with the likes of Brian Eno endorsed artist R.ariel, as well as Yuki Ame, LTO and Kayla Painter. Beth is also one of five within her hip-hop vocal collective group ‘5 Mics’ (Griz-O, JPDL). As well as performing at Greenman Settlement Festival, Witcombe Cider Festival and Tadstock, she has supported the likes of Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Hot 8 Brass Band and So Solid Crew.
To talk about this release, and where the project is heading, IndiePulse Music Magazine had a chance to ask BAAST a few questions about their music, Philosophy and more.
The Interview –
IPM: Listening to your music, there is a raw, primal sound mixed with a modern elegance, the vocals touch the inner soul and the beat move one to a trance like state.. It is powerfully moving, yet, it is not forced, what drives you to write the way you do?
Beth: Writing viscerally has always been a focus of ours, really wanting to drive an emotion home is the aim for each song, whether it’s good or bad. A lot of it is very introspective…. just got a lot of trapped feelings to get out.
Josh: I think our huge range of influences has really helped bring a great mix. We love huge pop bangers, and we love the wealth of sounds coming out of smaller scenes right now. We’re also mad inspired by the people making it work locally to us. Big ups to JPDL, Griz-O, Rider Shafique and DANKHOMEZ for killin it B)
Beth: Hear hear !
IPM: Thinking about the composition, again, very natural and flowing, like it was just “one take perfect”, can you describe the chemistry you two share in the creative process.
Josh: (Hahaha) I wish that our writing process was ‘one take perfect’. To work on unbound. as our first body of work involved a lot of frustration balancing the monotony of rent paying life and artistry, along with huge amounts of experimentation and figuring out a path to take. We clicked creatively from the start, but it was a huge learning curve to utilize that in a way that works. I think we’ve really managed to streamline that process, the start of our recent writing for our next release is feeling easier and its exciting to see where that will go.
Beth: I remember the first session we had together making music with just the two of us actually. We started making what is now Red Lion, got blazed, watched Rick & Morty and chatted a load about politics and also a whole load of shit. It set a level and we’ve been building on that ever since.
IPM: Reading your biography, there were some dark times, what gives the two of you the strength to create an image and a sound that opens you up to your fans and listeners, you expose your inner selves with such courage?
Josh: I think it is important to use your platform as an artist to be open and honest about experiences and to open up dialogue. Art is impossible to separate from artist, and we create art as a reflection of lived experiences. It would be inauthentic to talk about things we haven’t experienced, and inauthentic to not politicize our music. We’re really angry about a lot of things and I think we are just scratching the surface of how to articulate that.
Beth: Hell yea to that! There’s a lot to be said for owning identity. Being proud and OWNING being a queer, black woman is something I’ve been seeing so much in music and art over the past few years and it’s so inspiring. People like Princess Nokia, Janelle Monae, Kelela and SO many more have really owned their shit on *their* terms and it’s something I had so much trouble doing growing up and have done up until recently. This is an outlet and chance to explore that, and if someone else is on that same journey & can relate then come join us, get involved!
IPM: About the single “Red Lion”, I found it breathtaking, I hear the influences, but the sound,… your sound…. is so unique. If you could describe your music to somebody that has not heard it, or anything like it, how would you describe your music?
Beth: Thank you, it’s so great to hear that you’re vibesin ! I would describe the sound as umm… “synthy weird souly goodness“. But that could all change, we just like messing about really (he-he).
Josh: A whole lot of influences, getting real dark, our sound comes from outside traditional ‘creativity’ too. The world is a mad fucked up place right now and that is pervasive in all we do. Can’t escape the wage slave world.
IPM: What are the plans for BAAST, is there an album in the works and will you be releasing in soon?
Beth: We’re always cookin’ up something, but right now we’ve got our debut EP ‘unbound.’ due to be released 27th July. MAD.
Josh: We’ve got a big local release show on the 19th that we’re super excited to share what we’ve been sitting on for the past year. We’ve been getting great feedback on this EP but its still so closed in, we can’t wait for people to hear it.
IPM: Can we expect a US Tour or any appearances in the United States?
Josh: We would ~love~ to tour the US. We always have things in the pipeline, but if anyone wants to help, please let us know! B)
Beth: Hopefully! Holla at us if you wanna boogie, we will bring cider and vibes !
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