The new Baroness record is out. We’d like to take a moment now to recognize and give thanks to some of our friends who helped us transform our new album “Purple,” from a collection of songs we wrote in a basement in Philadelphia, into something more internally meaningful than we had anticipated. It was not a simple process, and we most definitely could not have created this without the extreme dedication and help from some of our incredibly talented friends. Today I’d like you to meet and become familiar with Marald van Haasteren, an incredibly talented visual artist, whom I admired long before Baroness began, and a man whom I have the great fortune of calling a true friend.
When Baroness formed, we cut our teeth, learned our lessons, and developed our creative ideology within the global community of punk,/hardcore/DIY. As a result, we were lucky to have met and become involved with a relatively small but potent and universally spread-out network of similar-minded people. These were the people who helped us book and promote tours, attended our shows, opened their doors to us, and gave us food and a place to sleep. This included a variety musicians and artists, many of whom we have maintained lifelong friendships with.
I remember distinctly the first time I met Marald, who came to see us play at de Winston club in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the first day of the first ever Baroness European tour. He was humble and kind then, and has remained so to this day. I’ve been astounded watching his work progress, from incredibly technical, mini-masterpieces, painted as album covers for punk/hardcore bands to the currently ever-increasing series of mixed-media drawings he has created for Baroness, balancing familiar elements of our visual language with his own distinct blend of world-class draftsmanship and delicate compositional sensibility. Though I could write seemingly endless elaborate and glowing tributes to the quality and strength of his work, that wouldn’t be enough, in-and-of-itself, to justify our collaboration.
We, as a band, have a firm belief that working with and amongst our talented friends will not only lead us to more collaboratively open-minded projects; but will bear a more challenging and fruitful result. A result which more accurately represents us, our intentions as a band and as artists, in a more inspired way than If we were to simply hire “talent”. We prefer that people work with us, not for us. While we have most definitely grown over the years, we staunchly refuse to abandon those few, simple, fundamental ideals that drew us to this musical underbelly to begin with: a community of outsiders, with a mutual respect, and a thirst for creative freedom. We found a new member of the Baroness family in Marald: and we hope those of you unfamiliar with his work will not only find yourselves lost deep within the density of his visual landscapes, but also sense of connection, history and shared respect we have for him. To meet someone you admire is an easy thing; to develop a lasting friendship, which will challenge each to strive towards higher goals and deliver on an ever-increasing scale is the rarest and most precious relationship any artist can share with another.
Baroness fans, please meet Marald, my friend of many years, Baroness-collaborator, and with “Purple”, the artist who surprised us all by creating not one, but a continually growing number of drawings which I must admit, have forced me to stay on top of my own game. Thank you Marald, you have truly exceed any expectations we had and given us what I believe your best work yet.
Marald and I have some big plans in the works, which you will be hearing about very soon.