In just a few days, Baroness will break their silence as they get set to co-headline a 27-show tour with black-metal phenoms, Deafheaven.
Folks have been wondering amongst themselves and across dedicated forums just where the prolific prog-metal group has been ever since front-man John Baizley confirmed, over half a year ago, that a new album was written and in the later stages of production. The band’s subsequent withdrawal across all media activity, social or otherwise, ended up leaving fans without much to cash the hype in on, so naturally the announcement of a new U.S. tour has prompted a fresh buzz over potential news on new material. Fortunately, Baroness’ drummer, Sebastian Thomson, was down to hook Byline Houston up with an update ahead of their tour kickoff here in H-Town.
To get the obvious out of the way, the album is definitely coming, and Thomson was able to shed some light on whether or not an announcement would be made soon.
“Yes. There will definitely be announcements during the tour, and there will definitely be new information and new material being sort of… trickled out, as it were,” he said. “This tour initially was going to be a support tour for the new album. Now, because we had to push it back a little bit, it’s going to be a set up for the release.”
When asked if that meant fans could expect new material worked into the setlist this tour, Thomson said in a vague tone, “I would say… yes,” he said, before laughing in acknowledgement of his ambiguity. “I’m being a little mysterious, but yes.”
This likely comes as a sigh of relief for those thirsting for insight on the band’s plans for the anticipated record, which apparently didn’t play out exactly the way they wanted.
“As a band, you shoot for a certain deadline and there’s always a couple things that you miss that need to be tied up, so then you push it back,” he said. “Then it’s like, ‘oh, we gotta do this or that’ and you have to push it back again. Basically, we’ve just been tying up loose ends.”
As for going dark on press or social media, Sebastian elaborated that it was a conscious decision to just stay focused on making sure the album was completed and ready to go so that any announcement made could have actual weight.
“It’s better to just keep quiet and announce when you’re 110 percent sure, rather than announce something and be like, ‘Actually, no. Sorry, it’s going to be later now.’ We’re at 90 percent now. We’re not at 110 percent, you know, with the dates,” he said. “The music is done, obviously. The music has been done for a while now, it’s just all the other stuff you have to do.”
A big reason to be excited for the new record is that it will be the first to include Gina Gleason, who replaced longtime member Peter Adams as the lead guitarist in 2017, well after their latest full length, Purple, was released.
“It’s funny, I mean. I think initially people are going to be like, ‘Oh, well how is the guitar different on this album?’ But, you know, honestly? She sings a lot on this album. She sings a lot of harmony with John. And that, I really think, has added a whole new dimension to the music,” he said. “The way they harmonize together is different from they John and Pete harmonized together. And it’s cool. It’s weird, and it kind of has this psychedelic sort of… it sounds like they’re in this weird cult or something, which I’m really into. You’ll just have to wait to see what I mean.”
“Writing with her was great,” He went on. “John and Gina have to coordinate more, as the guitarists. Nick and I are, by and large, left to our own devices, but John and Gina definitely had to work as a team.”
In regards to the pending tour, Thomson says he’s getting the more tedious but necessary things in order so he can have a clear head for the road.
“Just to give you an example, I’m going to the dentist today, and tomorrow I’m getting my taxes done. It’s all the non-glamorous shit you have do before you go on tour,” He laughed. “One thing I love about going on tour is that I always get my shit in order before I leave, so once I’m on the bus, all I have to worry about is playing music.”
The prospect of making the journey with Deafheaven certainly is a major reason Sebastian is excited to get it going.
“It’s going to be fun,” he said. “There’ll be camaraderie, and every night is going to be fucking killer. You sort of fall into a routine on tour. But the fact that we’re switching every other night, it kind of stays more fresh. I like that.”
The plan is that both bands will play sets of equal length so that the headliner could be interchangeable any given night.
“I think we’re both playing around 75 minutes, and that way it’s like two headlining shows,” he said. “And honestly, from a selfish musician point of view, I can see the advantage to each slot, which is kind of fun.”
With the band in good spirits and big plans in the wings, the table is set for Baroness to launch themselves into the next chapter of their evolving history, beginning with one of the most compelling tours booked so far this year.
Baroness will co-headline with Deafheaven on March 8 at White Oak Music Hall.