Enlarge Photo by Pam Strohm

Baroness Almost Called Their New Album Orange; Here’s Why They Didn’t

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With album titles Red, Blue, Yellow & Green and Purple now in the rearview mirror, fans wondered what Baroness would call their next album — now known to be titled Gold & Grey — when the band began unveiling a clever marketing campaign last month to tease the album’s arrival.

While gold and grey are both diversions from the standard color palette of the band’s past album titles, it turns out that the new record was almost named after a more predictable choice, orange, which does indeed dominate the artwork’s visual theme as you can see above. In an interview with Revolver focusing on the album’s cover — which, as always, was painted by frontman/guitarist/mastermind John Baizley, this time in collaboration with Marald van Haasteren (who also lent an assist on Purple) — Baizley explained that the album was initially titled Orange, and he detailed the last-minute decision to scrap that title in favor of Gold & Grey:

DID YOU CONSIDER CALLING THE ALBUM ORANGE?

“Up until I think the day before we mastered the record, we were calling it Orange. We assumed that’s what the title was going to be. I was at a loss for how to call it Orange — I didn’t think it was going to be a good title. It doesn’t roll off the tongue. It doesn’t give me a good image.

“Right before we went into master, I was listening to our record and I noticed there are several lines of lyrics that either say “Gold & Grey,” rhyme with it or sound very similar to that phrase. In a way, I think it would be cool if everybody still referred to it as Orange, but Gold & Grey seemed like a more sophisticated way of putting it. It was, honestly, a lot more on-message with the album. It’s a fairly long album. It’s not a double record, but that dual-titling thing seemed appropriate.”

ARTISTS DON’T LIKE WORKING WITH ORANGE. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY THIS COLOR IS SO HARD TO WORK WITH?

“It’s a difficult question and a difficult answer. So the wavelength of red is the most powerful and potent color. When light reflects off a surface that our human eyes interpret as red, the wavelength is a very long sine wave. That’s why stop signs are red. Yellow, in terms of primaries, is kind of a close second, because it’s a very bold color. Red and yellow can be very warm colors. When you mix those two colors together, you get orange.

“We see orange in nature infrequently. Yeah, there are flowers that are orange, tiger lilies. There’s a handful of birds. As you mix down orange from a pure hue to something more neutral, it just turns into brown. Really, brown in nature is the orange of nature. But who wants a brown album cover? Nobody. [Laughs]

“But what I’ve found is that in modern society, we use orange primarily to denote something dangerous. That’s why traffic cones are orange. They wouldn’t be as visible if they were red, and they wouldn’t be quite as powerful if they were yellow. Orange falls in this zone of color that, when you look at it in a very pure hue that’s not toned down, it’s just loud. It’s incredibly loud.

“It only works in certain situations. The difficult thing, even for artistically inclined people and for people for whom color theory is easy — and it’s not for me — orange is a tricky one to work with because you have to balance the right amount of other colors around it in order to make it visually appealing. It’s just a stain. Whenever I see the orange flames on stupid rock albums, it’s a huge turnoff. Obviously, I don’t want to make an album cover that’s based on something I consider gaudy. Balancing it with gray seemed to be the way to make it as an accent color more than just making everything look like it was dipped in some sort of orange dye.”

YOU TOUCHED A LITTLE BIT ON WHY IT’S NOT TITLED ORANGE — BUT WHY NOT, LIKE, ORANGE & GREY?

“The actual color orange doesn’t bring any specific emotion. In my mind, gold has elements of orange in it. It has elements of yellow, it has elements of orange. But you would say, as the sun was setting, that it, literally, casts an orange hue on the planet. [Yet] we call that a “golden sunset.”

“It wasn’t difficult for me to make that leap. There is an artist, Caspar David Friedrich. He did paintings that I was very enamored with when I was younger. He had done this painting of the ruins of a church that was the sunset period of the day, as the sun is setting, it casts a shadow on half the building. The lower half of this building he was painting is dark. The upper half, where the sun still shines its rays and doesn’t cast a shadow, it just immediately transitions into that sort of golden hue.

“There was also some poetry to Gold & Grey. They can usually be seen as polar opposites. Gold is something that’s regal, it’s beautiful, it’s valuable. Gray, more traditionally, is drab and can be seen as a boring or lifeless. For me, it was about balancing the idea of something halfway in between dark and light versus something that really had an emotional response.”

Not only was that a fascinating read into Baizley’s mind and creative process, but I just learned a whole lot about color theory. Don’t say metal never taught ya nothin’! Read the full interview at Revolver.

Gold & Grey drops June 14 on the band’s own label, Abraxan Hymns, and can be pre-ordered here. Stream two of its songs, “Borderlines” and “Seasons,” below. Upcoming Baroness tour dates:

July 11 Lancaster, PA The Chameleon [TICKETS]
July 12 Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance [TICKETS]
July 13 Huntington, NY The Paramount [TICKETS]
July 14 Hartford, CT Webster Theatre [TICKETS]
July 16 Buffalo, NY Town Ballroom [TICKETS]
July 17 Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Smalls Theatre [TICKETS]
July 19 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall [TICKETS]
July 20 Detroit, MI The Majestic [TICKETS]
July 21 Indianapolis, IN Deluxe at Old National Centre [TICKETS]
July 23 Palentine, IL Durty Nellie’s [TICKETS]
July 24 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s [TICKETS]
July 26 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room [TICKETS]
July 27 Lawrence, KS The Granada [TICKETS]
July 28 St. Louis MO The Ready Room [TICKETS]
July 30 Nashville, TN Cannery Ballroom [TICKETS]
July 31 Birmingham, AL Saturn [TICKETS]
August 4 Baton Rouge, LA The Varsity Theatre [TICKETS]
August 5 Atlanta, GA Buckhead Theatre [TICKETS]
August 6 Tampa, FL The Orpheum [TICKETS]
August 7 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Culture Room [TICKETS]
August 9 Orlando, FL Plaza Live [TICKETS]
August 10 Jacksonville, FL 1904 Music Hall [TICKETS]
August 11 Charleston, SC The Music Farm [TICKETS]
August 13 Charlotte, NC The Underground [TICKETS]
August 14 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel [TICKETS]
August 16 Richmond, VA The National [TICKETS]
August 17 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Sound Stage [TICKETS]

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