John Baizley Reveals the Genesis of Baroness’s Colored Albums Concept
Baroness have come a long way since the early days of their numerically titled first three EPs, but what followed was a string of chromatically themed albums and matching artwork that has sparked a sense of mysticism and intrigue.
During this week’s episode of The MetalSucks Podcast, we sat down with Baroness singer/artist/mastermind John Dyer Baizley to discuss how Baroness’s album color themes initially came to be, what led to veering away from the new album’s original working title of “Orange” and how the band ended up settling on Gold & Grey:
“I saw the opportunity with this album artwork to really sort of put a period at the end of the sentence of this project that we’ve been working on for 12 or 13 years which is simply the chromatically themed titles. When we first started the idea in 2006 or 2007, our drummer at the time [Allen Blickle] made it kind of a joke because we had done sequentially titled EPs — First, Second, Third — and knowing that I was an artist he suggested, ‘Why don’t we just do the color wheel?’ Which for those of you that don’t know, it’s been six colors. It’s red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple/violet. In his words, ‘Just think about it, if we ever got to the end of it, our merch table would look fantastic.’
“I remember thinking it was a great idea, and it also gave me a great starting point to do the album covers. It didn’t give away too much of the content of the record. It is a symbolic thing to use these colors, as there are levels of meaning that you can find to these colors. But in form the music and the artwork run parallel to what we’re doing — there’s conceptual ties and all that, but also, more importantly, it’s sort of a simple touch, and on top of that we never really thought we’d get any of these done. We really thought two albums and then we’d call it quits at the time, so to have gotten to the point where I was starting the artwork for the final installment of that… because we’ve done Red Album, Blue Record, our double record Yellow & Green, and Purple, so the only color that I hadn’t actually worked with was orange. Which was intentionally left for last mostly because we didn’t think we would do that many records and I don’t think it’s a very fun color to use.
“The name of it certainly wasn’t as evocative as the other ones so writing the most recent record Gold & Grey, the entire time we were writing it in the face of the record being called Orange. When we went into the studio to record it, all the session folders were called Orange. The record was really called Orange, and I know none of us really wanted that because it’s a working title and it’s definitely not a very cool title. It’s even less cool as a starting point for making a piece of artwork. So eventually I found some lyrical tie-ins and conceptual tie-ins and some structured timings to the title Gold & Grey, and that became a far more poetic, evocative, and pointing title for me.”
John talks about Gold & Grey as the album that has placed the final period at the end of their color-themed records. My only question now is this: will there be a new theme for the next set of records? Whatever comes next for Baroness, I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait.
Be sure to stay tuned for the release of Gold & Grey, which comes out on June 14. You can pre-order the album here, and check out the official MetalSucks review here. Check out the full podcast episode below.