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INTERVIEW: Baeilou

Hi Baeilou, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi! I’ve been tired but feeling good. How are you?

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Eleanora”?

Sure! Eleanora is based on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe titled, “Eleonora”. The story deviates from Poe’s typical revenge-based tales, ending in forgiveness rather than retribution. The tale is actually a quasi-true story about Poe’s love affair with his cousin who died young (CREEPY!). Having sworn to love her forever, Poe inevitably moves on to marry a “grown ass woman” in the city. In the story, the ghost of Poe’s cousin/lover returns to Poe and basically says, “Hey, I get it, you moved on. Kudos to you, and here is my blessing.”  The song summarizes this story, and repeats the quote, “In the valley of the many colored grass” – taken directly from the short story. The quote in the image represents (for me at least) the veil of naiveté that can characterize young love. I’ve been there. It feels excellent. But it is kind of bullshit and so goes the same in Poe’s story. I guess…

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

I originally, wrote the song for a Halloween themed concert. J

Any plans to release a video for the single?

This would be a great song for a video! But, not yet. I do have some cool illustrations for the tune, which I sometimes project on a wall when I play it live. Shiu Pei Luu created those pieces. She is a badass illustrator/graphic designer/art person.

The single comes off your new album Inside Under – what’s the story behind the title?

I work in mental health, and I was getting this sense that there may be a growing distance from feeling emotionally connected to each other — or feeling emotion for that matter. Unintentionally, I think this project goes Inside/Under my emotional responses to some of what I’ve experienced at this time (becoming a new parent, trump’s election, continued environmental crises, continued murdering of black people, and so on). I do this “Inside Under” journey from various attitudes (some attitudes even conflicting)– those of which are irreverence, respect, acceptance, and honesty to name a few. But more generally, the title directs an expedition inside and under my experiences of coming into adulthood –and parenthood– at this time in the United States.

How was the recording and writing process?

Pretty smooth on the front end and bumpy on the back end. Is that rude? Anyway, I wanted the whole EP, from which the song is from, to be a cello and vocal only project. So there were a lot of cello overdubs and most of the percussion was derived from the body of the cello using various things to get sounds out of it.  SFCM alumni, Taylor Joshua Rankin was the “cello percussionist”. He mined my instrument for all sorts of sounds. He is great.

Recording was fun and creative because we had to do some cool micing. Omar Akrouche at SFCM was pivotal in this process. He is a very creative sound engineer and musician. Then the mixing was maybe the trickiest part. Seira McCarthy helped with getting things tight, and then Nahuel Bronzini drove it home, adding some effects to the cello and vocals to give the tune a supernatural element.

How Allan Poe has influences your writing?

By being a creepy, creepy, brilliant dude!!

What role does Oakland play in your music?

In my experience, the people in Oakland are really, really good at doing their own thing. Also, I think the black cultures in Oakland (yes black cultures, plural) work hard to be celebrated and seen and that allows me to do my thing with even more confidence and enthusiasm because I’ve got that collective spirit carrying me. I love black people.

What aspect of love and loss did you get to explore on this record?

I think I allowed myself to explore the in-between of love and loss. Before this project, I’d often rigidly assume love was “good” and loss was “bad”.  But that’s not the case at all. From the EP, I began to accept that love and loss can be either good, bad, and everything in between. I started to realize that living a courageous and full life involves accepting the spectrum of love and loss.

Any plans to hit the road?

I’m a mom to a toddler, so no plans of my own tour soon. I d tour with other artists thought and am going on a tour in the winter with Barbara Higbie.  I do hope to play at some festivals and travel that way. I also hope to collaborate with more artists for performance art pieces and installations.

What else is happening next in Baeilou’s world?

The above, and I have another project with percussionist, Amelie-Hinman. She and I met at San Francisco Conservatory of music, and we are going to put out a cello, two vocal and percussion EP this winter. And I am working up a larger ensemble with a quartet of drums, guitar, synth, and cello/vocals that I’m very excited about.

Listen “Eleanora” here

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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