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Paul Baker (CEREMONY)

First they were SKYWAVE. Great band. Now they're A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS and CEREMONY. Two great bands. With great songs and albums...

Tell us something about Ceremony?

Well, we're fans of everything that's good in rock music, and the enemy of everything we think is bad in rock and pop music, which is 99% of it. We're not attached to any genre or label, we just try to make the music that we would want to hear. It's a shame, because I would really enjoy hearing our music if I could hear it coming from someone else.

A brief history of how the band started?

Our earlier band Skywave ended and I was done with making music, but John had a bunch of songs he'd recorded on his own and wanted to play live, so I said I'd play guitar if he ever set up a show. He did set up a show, but we didn't have a band name, so we picked that New Order/Joy Division song that we used to cover in Skywave because we liked it so much. It wasn't meant to define our sound or anything, we were just in a hurry to make a flyer for the show. After a few gigs we were known as Ceremony. Unfortunately, around the same time, a hardcore band from California was coming about with the same name. It's led to some confusion, which I regret. I think we started first, but there's no way to know for sure. Except I know a lot of their fans sure do hate us. That's fine with me, but I've got nothing against the guys in the band. I imagine someday we'll meet and actually get along with each other. Or it'll be an unfair brawl between two people and five...
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Are you shoegaze? Or Nu-gaze? Or both? Or nothing of that?

I couldn't say what the difference is between the labels. I think it's obvious that we're influenced by some of the older "shoegaze" bands like My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive, but I don't know if they would like to be lumped together like that. The whole label was meant to be derogatory, if I'm not mistaken, and happened far away from me when I was a teenager. We can't help but be influenced by the things we like and listen to. Sometimes it's classic oldies like the Crystals, sometimes it's Kraftwerk, sometimes I'm inspired by something newer like Best Coast, Ladytron or The Raveonettes. I don't think we're afraid of anything new musically, but skeptical of anything with too much hype. Either way, it'll influence us, consciously or not. We play rock music the way we want to hear it, period.

Since You played with Oliver Ackermann in SKYWAVE what do you think about his new band A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS?

I've been a fan since they started. Oliver gave me a CD-R of his early demos, some of which became the first APTBS album and I thought they were awesome! They have had a lot of success and I'm happy for them. Some people are looking for trash talk between us and them, but I'm not giving it to you. Oliver's been nothing but cool to us and I'd like to think he feels the same way about us towards APTBS. I'm glad they exist because there's at least another band doing something really good, compared to all the garbage out there. I'd like for there to be a hundred Ceremony's and APTBS's. Then I'd have something more to listen to.

What are the main differences, if any", between "Disappear" and "Rocket Fire"?

I think the main difference is that "Disappear" sounds more like a collection of songs and "Rocket Fire" sounds more like an album from start to finish. They're both good in their own right. I like the different styles we played on "Disappear", and I like the way that "Rocket Fire" is one rocking guitar song after another. Some things will appeal to some people, other things will appeal to others. I feel good about what we've released so far, and I'm excited about what we have coming out in the future.

with out your love

Are there any song that you would like to cover and any artist that you would like to play with?

We'd like to cover all kinds of stuff, but the most interesting cover we've done so far is Lee Hazlewood's "The Night Before". That sounded cool the one time we performed it, I think. I'd like to play with any band whose music I really enjoy. Luckily we're friends with some of the groups I like the most, like Screen Vinyl Image, The Lost Rivers and APTBS, and it's really great to play shows with them whenever we get the opportunity..

Song/album that changed your life?

The first Velvet Underground album, though that's nothing new. I learned to play guitar to The Cure "Disintegration" and The Jesus and Mary Chain "Barbed Wire Kisses". Maybe that explains something.

Which do you prefer, cd, vinyl or mp3?

I prefer any format which offers a great song that will make me feel something. What about cassettes?

What do you listen when you're at home, on tour, right now…?

I listen to anything and everything that gets me excited about music, whether it's The Misfits, Sambassadeur, or The Paris Sisters, whatever... Really, just whatever sounds good to me. There's no formula, except a tune is good.

Tell me something I would never guess about you?

Most of our band practices degenerate into us watching Sam Kinison or Rodney Dangerfield on youtube...

Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers?

Just like what you like and start a band if you're not satisfied with what's out there. Do something better.


pedja // 06/12/2010


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