Featured Artist of the Week: Boris Baker
Name: Boris Baker
Instrument: Bass guitar
Boris is a neuroscience student at Queen's currently working on his masters while also going big with his band, Kasador. Baker says he took hold of the bass guitar as a senior in elementary school when it was the coolest instrument to play and his dad assured him bass players get all the girls (which he now says wasn't true). He dabbled in a few bands throughout high school before diving in head first with Kasador, which has played shows in Ontario, Quebec and the United States. They have a self-titled EP and just recently spent 11 days boarding and recording at Bathouse studio, working on their next full album. Baker says at this point he's unsure which career path he'll take, whether he sticks to the sciences and completes his PhD. or hits the road with his band full-time.
How and when did you discover your love of music?
I got really serious about it in second year when I joined this band and was seriously writing songs with the band and performing and yeah. I’d say I got really into being in a band and the business side of music in second year. But listening to music is something I’ve done – I guess I’ve always been passionate about listening to music and going to concerts, really, as long as I can remember. My parents used to take me to shows all the time as a kid. There’s not a time in my life that I can remember that I wasn’t extremely passionate about listening to music or watching music.
Is your family musical?
Yeah. Both my parents love listening to music. My dad plays guitar. He’s been a musician his whole life. That’s how he made his living. I’d say they never pushed me into music, they definitely influenced me to be someone who appreciates music and loves listening to it and observing it. But they, if anything, tried to discourage me from getting into the music industry because they know just how hard it is.
Are you an individual performer or are you part of a musical group?
Part of a musical group. I, personally – I don’t sing. So, I do help with lyrics in the band, but I don’t sing... Skill set wise I don’t see myself as someone who could do it solo. And personality wise I don’t see myself as someone who would want to do it solo.
What do you like about performing music?
There’s something definitely freeing about it. And I would compare it to playing a sport where when you’re doing it you’re not thinking about anything else…. you just totally zone in on the task at hand. And it’s a lot of fun. And there’s often a feeling of, almost like, transcendence. Like, you pretty much black out and you’re not actually thinking about playing the music and you just do it and you’re almost on autopilot. And that’s a really freeing feeling.
What’s the biggest audience you’ve ever performed in front of?
A couple thousand people? We played with Sam Roberts in Kingston in May… yeah, that was a couple thousand people.
Do you write your own music?
We do. It did start out – it was just Will Hunter writing songs. And he’d kind of bring lyrics and chord progression to the band. And we would take it and make it our own. So we’d add bass and drums and guitar and maybe change the structure to something that fit the band’s idea of the song. But lately, everyone contributes to lyrics, everyone contributes to melody.
What musicians have influenced your music?
I know (for) Cam and Nick, John Mayer is like, their favourite. They love John Mayer. And our primary singer Will, he’s a big Arkells, Arctic Monkeys fan. He loves The Who. And the drummer and I – the drummer’s name is Julien – he and I tend to like, maybe more classic rock and punk a little bit more. Like, I’m a huge (The) Clash fan, Rage Against the Machine – kind of heavier rock. I like that stuff a lot…But, I mean, I think that’s a really good thing. I think if everyone in the band was into Arctic Monkeys then we would sound like the Arctic Monkeys. But if everyone can bring their own styles and influences, you can blend it together for something that’s hopefully unique.
What are you listening to right now?
I actually recently read a book about The Clash and it’s just all interviews with them and that has gotten me really into Sandinista! I was always a (The) Clash fan and really into them, but never really gave that album a shot. And it’s really cool. It’s a triple album, so it’s 37 songs that they released as one album and sold for the price of one… so I’ve been getting really into that.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you on stage?
That’s tough. I’ve played some really bad shows in the history of the band where you just come off stage and you’re embarrassed at how bad you played, but at the same time I don’t know how many people pick up on that sort of stuff. I once tried to jump up onto an amp and I was wearing very tight jeans that weren’t stretchy and it limited how high my knees could go and I just did not make it up onto the amp. And people saw that, so that was definitely embarrassing.