Coming off a traumatizing bus crash in England that broke his left arm and left leg, while also injuring every other member of metal band Baroness, I spoke with frontman John Baizley to discuss the future of Baroness, as well their latest double album effort.

Lee Ackerley: Where are you right now?
John Baizley: We are in Philadelphia preparing for the tour, its where we are based out of. We are kicking off in Philly and touring the Eastern half of the United States for the next month.

Why the three year hiatus between the Blue Record andYellow and Green?
We toured for three years on the Blue Record almost nonstop, so we had been on the road for 36 months, and then after that we took a full year off to write and record. I guess to the public it looks like a long time, but for us it’s been action nonstop.

The band was involved in a bus last August, can you talk about the crash and the effect it has had on the band?
I think we’re better. Unfortunately we had to go through a couple of lineup changes, but it’s definitely something that we’ve been working on. It’s a challenge to go through an accident, recover, go through lineup changes, and come out stronger. We have definitely stuck to our guns since we were injured.We didn’t want to just come back to be back, you know, we want to improve and come back even better.

Can you talk about the lineup changes in the band? Allen and Matt left, was that mutual?
It was a mutual thing. It was a pretty rotten thing that we went through and all of us know that if we aren’t physically, mentally and spiritually able to tour and participate in everything that goes with that, then we understand it just isn’t going to happen. It was unfortunate, but nothing too dramatic, nobody was getting fired or anything.

The latest double album, Yellow and Green, features your vocals a bit more heavily and is just more expansive as a whole. Was this your intention coming into the record?
The intention has always been there. For the decade that we’ve existed, we’ve always wanted to become more expansive and broaden our sonic power. As you go on, you aren’t content with the same. You have to progress as musicians, you have to grow and change. We try not to seek the critical element and try to embrace growth and change wholeheartedly.

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Do you ever feel pressure from your fans or critics to produce purely ‘metal’ music? Have you run into any criticism?
If we feel the pressure or are aware of the pressure, then we certainly don’t react to it. I think it is a complete mistake for us or a band like us to heed the dictation of our audience in terms of how we approach our music. When we started the band, we started with ideas and no fans, and through the years we’ve stuck to our guns in doing what is interesting to us and inspires us. Hopefully the audience will be there with us on that ride and feel the same way. It’s just the case that we are going to write music how we want and we are aware of the public reception of that, but that doesn’t mean that has to shape what we produce in any way, shape or form.

Who are your non-metal influences?
If you understand yourself to be a musician, for example, if you are a blues musician, your best influences are going to be non-blues influences. For us we have a lot of influences that don’t sound like Baroness; it s the decision to swim against it or alongside it that allows you to use the influence. Country, rock, hip-hop, electronic, whatever. If it’s good music, then it is influential. It might show up in the backbeat or the atmosphere, in the textures or tones. It’s all the better and it’s uncharted territory, and that’s interesting for us. It’s also important not to be a retro act above all else, so you have to adapt, and be influenced by what’s going around you to create refreshing music. It’s as simple as that.

You were just down here for SXSW, what is your take on the festival?
I can’t even count how many times I’ve been to Austin but this was my second SXSW I’ve been too, and the first that I’ve performed as a solo artist. SXSW is what it is. It’s a promotional tool for artists, let’s not call it a festival that’s about the music, let’s call it a festival that’s about marketing. I knew that when I went down there. I was down there trying to get myself back up on the horse, so to speak, after the accident. You don’t go there expecting that every show you play is going to be one hundred percent fans. The best-case scenario is a 50/50 split between fans and press, or labels, or whomever. I had no specific agenda accept to just play music, so it was kind of fun. I didn’t have to sweat anything too much.

How did you end up playing FPSF Fest?
I don’t know too much about the fest’s history, but it’s certainly a time for us to go out, play, and figure out who we are circa 2013 lineup. I’m trying to feel comfortable playing again and get back into the groove of the touring lifestyle. We are doing a couple of other festivals and honestly, for a band like Baroness, the type of festival that Houston FPSF is great for us. If we are at a metal festival, we’re just another band, and are usually one of the lightest bands. When we play independent music fests or variety fests, then we’re the heaviest band there. Depending on the lineup, the hat we wear sort of changes. For me it’s fun to be the odd band out, because then we can go out and see completely different bands on the same bill. I kind of know what to expect as far as metal bands, and occasionally I’m blown away, but more often than not I’ve kind of seen it.

Any bands that you are keen on seeing while you are at the festival?
As many times as the Stooges play, I’m down to see them. There is going to be a cap on how many times you can see them from this day forward, so I’m all about it. They are totally influential, and they are still kicking ass.

Where do you see Baroness going in the next 5 years?
Our goal is pretty simple. It may look trite on paper, but this is the truth, my real goal is to be excited and interested to play, as I am right now. I think you just want to remain invested and constantly challenged by what you do, and avoid it turning it into a job that you dread. I want to enjoy this as much as I do today in five years.

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