This Friday past on the Burlington stop of Bassnectar’s NSVB tour, my colleague and I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the funkiest producers at work today, the King of the Keytar, the Pharoah of Phunk, the Pied Piper of Panty-drop, Corey “Kill Paris” Baker.
Out on the fire escape in the blistering wind, we had a comfortable chat with Corey over Bassnectar’s set, addressing him pertinent questions about his tour, classic releases (past and future), and hatred of all things French. Check it out.
EC- So, how did you come to join the Bassnectar‘s NSVB tour. Doesn’t OWSLA promote their label artists on specific tours? Why didn’t you come through on the Mothership this year?
KP- I wish I knew. I mean, Bassnectar is a friend of a friend, my manager used to book him when he was DJ Lorin, like ten years ago. Lorin said he had this tour coming up, and he wanted me on it… I think the first show we played together was at Red Rocks this summer, and after that, well there was supposed to be a tour earlier, but that got cancelled, and later, they got this one going, so…
EC- Right. On a different note, I have to ask. Why do you have such a big problem with France?
KP- With France?
EC- Is it just the Parisian Municipality, or the entire state of France?
KP- State? I don’t know if its a state.
EC- Ehhhh, it’s a stately country.
KP-Colony or something? They call it something different over there, I don’t know what it is.
EC- Etat. Etat de France.
KP- Yeahhh, anyway. The name has almost nothing to do with France actually. I’ve had it forever. Twelve years ago, when I first started doing music, Paris Hilton was still, well, people still liked her. The mantra behind the name is just kill the mindset of putting people up on pedestals who don’t do anything.
EC- Yeah, we figured as much. Now, Bassnectar and his following stress their separation from the mass of the EDM-Money-Machine as they see it, I was wondering if, from your own personal experience in the scene, have you seen any significant difference between the crowd at a Bassnectar show and any other large crowd you’ve fronted before.
KP- Yeah, I mean the crowd is definitely a little more hippy, a little more free to hear whatever… its hard to say though, every crowd is different. These shows are definitely different from the crowds at major EDM festivals, for sure.
EC- We noticed they’re definitely less familiar with your material. I mean, that ‘massive’ sequence you had in there was a little lost on everyone, you know, the “Slap me”-“To a New Earth”, into the Gramatik remix and capped with Griz’s “Smash the Funk.” We were going wild in there. Anyway, this leads us to the next question.
EC- When To A New Earth EP first came up, almost instantly, we see Griz and Gramatik doing remixes for “Slap Me” and “To A New Earth”. How were you lucky enough to have such greatest producers all over those tracks so soon?
KP- With the Griz remix, I talked to him directly, because he and I have been buddies for the last few years… and then Gramatik, that was through Skrillex, he hit him up… and, well, that was a total surprise for me, I just checked my inbox one day and it was like “well, here’s the Gramatik remix,” and I listened to it, and just… l lost my shit.
EC- No, definitely, two of the best remixes in recent years, but of course, it didn’t stop there. Now, on the Foreplay Remixes you’ve got Krafty Kuts with Erb N Dub as Wicked City, with another crazy string of tracks, it seems as if no one can do wrong with your stems.
EC- Now, why do you think your material is so conducive to remix? Are you coming at production from a more instrumental level?
KP- Oh yeah. All the music I make either starts on a keyboard or on a guitar, bass, or even the drumset. To be honest, I hate sitting on a computer and making music that way…
EC- So, you’re more of an “organic” producer?
KP- Yeah, which makes it kind of tough to make something the EDM crowd will go wild for, because they want something that’s…
EC- Screaming? Repetitive?
KP- Yeah, yeah, four on the floor, with a constant build throughout the entire song… may seem very simple, but it’s hard to do that stuff… and, I just find myself having fun either way…
EC- So, the “EDM” crowd, is that why you focus a show like this on the decks as opposed to using the keytar? Only saw it come out a few times tonight.
KP- Yeah, I mean, I brought it out a couple times, you know, when the track really needs it…. I don’t feel like these people would allow me to be up there the whole time with the keytar just goin’ “wheeeeee-de-de-de-de-le-deeeeeeeeeeeeee”.
EC- Ha. Funny to hear you say that, I mean, from a lot of your image stuff… it’s like your big schtick-
KP- Yeah, that’s my big thing.
EC- This guy’s up there with a keytar!!!
KP- Yeah, Yeah.
EC- What else is in your live set up? How do you run it all.
KP- Using Abelton, with an Apollo Twin for audio, then the keytar, with a wireless hook-up into Abelton.
EC- So no CDJ’s?
KP- No, no, I always wanted to learn CDJ’s but I never had a chance to really sit down with them.
EC- Now, going back to another question about your production, you’re going at from an instrumental angle, you try to keep more of an organic edge in the creative process, and yet, samples play a central part in each of your tracks. For someone like me, with a background in Hip-hop, I’m curious to know if the sample is something you’ve been listening to forever, that you work from, or does it go in last minute?
KP- A lot of the time, its pretty random, like with some of the bootleg remixes I’ve done… “Ring My Bell?” Yeah, it usually happens by accident…
EC- “Falling in Love Again?”
KP- Well that track is all original.
EC-Really? The sample though.
EC- (sings) Falling in love againnnn…
KP- That’s our singer, that’s Marty.
EC–I though I’d heard that years ago, in some 80’s synth pop track…
KP- I mean maybe, I don’t know.
EC- I was going to look that up.
KP- Well if you do, let me know, because that would be- interesting.
EC- The “Baby Come Back?” that’s got to be from somewhere.
KP- That’s The Players.
EC-You have a base in old funk and soul?
KP- Oh yeah.
EC- Is that how you came to “buddy up” with Griz? I mean, I know you’re both based out in Boulder. But you’ve also moved around a lot, moved to LA, and Memphis somewhere in between? Straighten us our here.
KP- Well, you’re sort of right. Indiana is where I’m originally from, then Florida, then Nashville, then Florida, then Indiana, then LA, and now Colorado. I think I got in touch in touch with Griz right before Rebel Era came out. I just hit him up through social media and we just became friends after that and now in Boulder, he lives right down the road from me. So occasionally I see him, but I usually see him more at shows than I do in Colorado.
EC- Have guys gotten into the studio together?
KP- We haven’t yet, but I really want to, and he really wants to. It’s just a matter of making our schedules work.
EC- I’ve read some ideological parallels about your respective music, for you especially, it’s all about love. Could you give us a better understanding of where that’s coming from, in a statement?
KP- Love is a pretty universal thing and there is very little of that in electronic music nowadays. I mean, there are the lyrics in tracks that claim to be about love, but you can tell it was made in a studio where people were saying; “This is what we’re going for. This particular audience, and we want to get this many hits when we put it online”. Shit like that happens all the time. now. It’s not at all organic or natural, it’s very mechanical. I mean those tracks fit a certain space, and there are people who really like that. I don’t know, I guess I’ve always been an underdog of sorts, and I think I always will be to a certain extent so I’m just trying to make music that I like.
EC- The funk.
KP- I played guitar when I was growing up. I started playing when I was about 16. I played in a bunch of bands, and for some reason I’ve just always been drawn to the funk. I started playing bass shortly after that. Funk is just the kind of music that makes me want to move every time I hear it. I don’t really have control over it, that’s just the stuff I like.
EC- I have some problems with that genre designation. A lot of people say that what you’re doing is “Future Funk, or Funkstep” or something like that. When a few years ago when I first heard your stuff, it was all Glitch-Hop.
KP- At the end of the day genres are just names, they’re titles. It’s just a way to categorize music. To be honest I don’t care what people call my music as long as they’re listening to it. You see this all the time online. People arguing about how this is technical Glitch-Hop, or EDM or dance music. Just listen to the music.
EC- Agreed. So what’s new for you? Got anything in the works?
KP- I’m working on an album. Something larger, 8-10 tracks, somewhere in there.
EC- Are you a perfectionist when it comes to a bigger project like that?
KP- Yeah, It’s really hard for me to make something that I like.
EC- I think there is a quote from you, something like, “My favorite track is one that I’m working on at any given time”.
KP- Yeah, then once I finish it I hate it. That’s usually how it is. You spend so much time with something, then you’re like ahh… “this sucks”, and that’s usually when you know it’s done.
EC- Seems like you keep your music pretty close at heart. Really, those are serious terms of endearment. Are you also trying to protect the same type kind of creative integrity for live performances as well? I’ve heard that you’ll stay pretty sober for these shows.
KP- One of my friends said it the best way, “either you’re an artist, or you’re an alcoholic”, and it’s so true. You see so many people where just getting completely messed up, that’s like their M.O. though…
EC- Well, anyway, I think that’s about all the time anyone has. Thanks for speaking with us.
KP- Not a problem, it was fun. -EC
You can still catch Kill Paris on the NSVB tour, dates for which can be found at Bassnectar’s official site- www.bassnectar.net
Electronic music is the only art form that has given me unrelenting hope for the survival of our species. I study criticism in the north country and track the scene in an effort to put to words the familiar feelings that escape most of us and are reduced to terms of “awesomeness.”