Having been blown away by the support for his PledgeMusic-funded debut album Dust & Bone — highlights included several plays on BBC Introducing London, support shows for Sarah Jarosz at a sold out Union Chapel, David Ramirez and The Hummingbirds at O2 Islington and a debut show at The Great Escape — Michael Baker has returned to PledgeMusic to fund the recording and production of his second LP.
He’s once again secured the talents of Dust & Bone Producer & friend Dan Brown and welcomes Olly Baldwin ( PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding) to the team. We caught us with Michael as he prepares to document the process on film to give his fans a fly on the wall look at how the journey unfolds on his new PledgeMusic Campaign.
1) Now that you’re onto your second album, do you feel you’re more equipped from the experience of self-releasing your debut?
When my last PledgeMusic campaign reached its target I couldn’t believe it. It was so amazing to see everyone support the project and enable me to get my first album into the world.
This time my PledgeMusic campaign is to involve the fans in the actual creation of the album. The album is written and ready to go & now I need to get into the studio and record it.
With the beautiful experience of all the support from my last album, I cannot wait to get stuck in with this new campaign.
2) Are you taking a different direction, artistically, with the new record? What can your fans expect to hear?
I don’t really remember writing this album, it wasn’t something I expected to do so quickly after the last. It kind of fell out and suddenly I was reviewing 30 to 40 tracks and realising there was an album there and that it all just kind of worked.
This album is more stripped than the last but still has a few surprises in there with some synths and vocoders but at the core, the songs are more direct. I’ve also been spending a lot of time falling back in love with piano too so I’m excited to see how those tracks turn out
3) What did you enjoy most about the direct-to-fan approach the first time round?
It just pulled everyone together, having the support from fans throughout the process made it so rewarding. Crowdfunding is an amazing way to have a dialogue with artists and consumers all round! It’s a great way to grow the project without a label.
4) Part of your new campaign offers the opportunity for fans to have you play at their house. What makes these kind of shows so special for you?
House concerts can provide a brilliant space for intimate shows where it feels more personal. I find I’m more myself when I perform in these settings, they always feel like a one-off, each one is different and very memorable!
5) Going back to the album, would you say there are any particular artists who have been a strong influence on the way it sounds?
This year I’ve been consuming and digesting a huge range of music that has really inspired this new album, some artists include, Nick Cave, Bon Iver, War On Drugs, Benjamin Clementine, Tom Waits, Jolie Holland, Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Ben Howard, John Martyn…. to name a few! Recently I’ve also really been enjoying the entire back catalogue of David Ramirez. All of these artists have definitely influenced my writing and performing in their own way.
6) What advice would you give to artists on successfully writing, recording and releasing a debut album?
Constantly write and create music! Release it out there as much as possible, it’s brave and tough sometimes but it just motivates you to keep going and progress. I’d also say to keep yourself inspired – and the best way to do this is collaborating – music is so much about collaboration so work as much as you can with different artists, you’ll only get better every time you do!
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