Semi Precious is a musical solo project by a South East London producer Guy Baron. Following the acclaimed self-titled debut EP by such publications as The Guardian, DIY and The Line Of Best Fit, his new Herbert-produced When We Talk EP was released from NX Records in association with Squareglass, in which he is a founding member. His minimalist approach in songwriting succeeds to emphasise beautiful melodies and gorgeous soundscape, helping him to directly address messages that deal with “false honesty and ambiguity in intimacy” to listeners. Through an email interview we asked Baron about minimalism, working with Matthe Herbert and about his own forward-thinking music label, Squareglass.
Focus: Semi Precious
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, August 30, 2015
Please describe yourself in three words.
Experimental bedroom pop.
How did you get about starting to write music?
I’ve been singing for quite a while but only started writing my own tunes a few years ago. I can play basic keyboard and try to do some “traditional” songwriting once every while, but I get bored of it quite easily. In a way I feel that I’ve only started making music once I’ve started experimenting with sampling. When I first started working with samples there was something very intuitive and exciting about the process, which very much triggered my creative flow.
Minimalism is committed to limitations. Your songwriting is evolved around limitations but what attracts you to minimalism?
I struggle when I have too many options to choose from. I think about my compositions as being rather concise and condensed and like it when things evolve in a somewhat “organic” way. It’s kind of like every piece has its own distinct and intrinsic identity. My music also often deals with notions of solitude and alienation and I feel that these sensations are somewhat linked to sparseness and reflectiveness. There’s also something about the fact that I’m composing and recording in my own small bedroom with a very minimal setup – I feel that the music should reflect that in a way, rather than being “big” and in-your-face.
“When We Talk EP” deals with “false honesty”. Can you elaborate on that, and why were you interested in exploring this kind of intimacy?
I feel that passion and intimacy can be quite ambiguous and elusive sensations and I wanted to convey some of the complexities they hold. The EP deals with several kinds of “unfulfilled intimacies” that cannot be realised for all kinds of reasons, such as lack of communication. I personally find inspiration within the unfulfilled, remote and somewhat broken.
What was it like working with Matthew Herbert for the production of this EP?
I’ve been listening to Matthew’s stuff since I was 14 or so. He is a true inspiration for me and I find myself going back to his works over and over again, discovering new layers with every listen. So I felt incredibly privileged and excited to work with him on this release and to see how he approaches mixing and production.
You are also a founder of Squareglass. With so many forward-thinking artists in the roster, what do you think makes Squareglass different from other labels?
To begin with, we’re all very close friends so I feel that this isn’t just a commercial label in the traditional sense of the word. There’s a strong element of mutual trust and we perceive the collective kind of like a “safety-net” – a place that allows us to experiment, stay bold and empower one another (creatively and practically). I think that collectives are particularly relevant for nowadays bedroom producers who work in relatively isolated environments.
Who would you like to collaborate with the most, and why?
I’m really inspired by Burial’s music and would be thrilled to collaborate with him. I think that his latest release Rival Dealer is a true and inspiring masterpiece that in many ways redefines the boundaries of electronic music production.
Finally, what is next for Semi Precious?
Doing more gigs with my band in the next couple months and putting out another, slightly more conceptual and extensive release sometime next year.
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