Originally appeared on Thrillcall.
You may know BAIO as one of the two Chrises of Vampire Weekend (BAIO plays bass). You also probably know some of his actor cousins, Scott Baio (Happy Days) or Steve Buscemi (Fargo, Reservoir Dogs). But when he began writing his newest LP, The Names, which was released last September, he wanted to set himself apart. Read our interview below to learn more about BAIO, and be sure to catch him at the El Rey on February 4th. Enter to win a pair of tickets through Thrillcall!
Thrillcall (Me): Your latest LP, The Names, is named after a Don Delillo novel. Do you read frequently? Who are your go-to authors while you’re on tour?
BAIO: Yes, I read quite a bit! Authors really depend on what I’m in the mood for… I’ve definitely read more Don Delillo novels than any other writer. Right now I’m reading One of Us by Asne Seierstad, which is absolutely incredible and the best book I’ve read in a long time. It kicks my ass every time I pick it up.
B: My biggest dance inspiration is the beat! I’m not that afraid of embarrassing myself at this point and I find that moving around like a fool is a lot more fun than standing still. I was absolutely thinking of the “Lotus Flower” video when we made the “Sister of Pearl” video, you’re the first person to catch that!
T: You’ll be playing at the El Rey on 2/4, but this is far from your first time playing in LA. As a concert-goer, what’s your favorite spot to hang out on a Saturday night in LA?
B: El Rey is one of my favorite venues in America so I guess I’d say that one! Last time I was there was 2008, it’ll be great to get back there.
Another thing I like to do in LA is eat! I had some great meals at Odys & Penelope and Cleo last summer.
My absolute favorite thing to do is run along the boardwalk in Venice & Santa Monica though. It’s probably my favorite place to run in the world.
T: What is your favorite aspect of performing live versus recording in a studio?
B: There’s something wonderful about sharing the moment with other people. I love working on music in the studio but it sometimes feel weirdly abstract. Playing for people feels realer, in a way. It’s also a lot louder, which is dope!
T: You told Pitchfork that you began creating The Names in earnest when you moved to London in 2013, which is around the same time Modern Vampires of the City came out. What were you hoping to achieve in this record that you couldn’t do with VW?
B: I was hoping to be able to express myself as a songwriter. I hadn’t written a song with lyrics in over ten years at that point and it was something I needed to do. I’m psyched with how it came out!
T: Your Wikipedia page quotes this tweet: “Baio: The Sweatiest Guy in the Room.” Would you ever consider covering the Flight of the Conchords song, “Most Beautiful Girl in the Room,” but make it about you and your perspiration?
B: Singing a love song about sweat to myself? It’s a weird idea, but it’s the sort of weird idea I can get down with!