Media shyness and mystery have become much used tools in contemporary electronic music. While some artists continually flirt with the media, splashed across magazines and blogs on an almost monthly basis, more artists are resisting the temptation, often because they just don't like or need to self-promote, but others, too, in acknowledgement that less can sometimes be more; that elusiveness and intrigue can actually increase interest and demand. You don't have to look too far for examples, and for long periods Forest Drive West fitted perfectly in this category. Up until this month's a Breaking Through feature with RA, it was impossible to find anything on Joe Baker, the man behind the music.
Baker, as it turns out, is a full-time school teacher and father, based out of East London. He began making music around the turn of the millennium, driven to make records for his DJing, little more than a hobby at the time. Taking inspiration from Brighton's drum & bass nights, which he'd attend on weekends where time allowed, he began attempting to replicate these sounds, a habit that threw up a plethora or enjoyable challenges. 16 years of experience and experimentation later, Baker had some works of reasonable satisfaction and handed them to Tom Ford (a.k.a Peverelist) who snapped them up for Dnuos Ytivil, the sister to his Livity Sound. Next up was an appearance on Rupture London, one of several jungle EPs in an expanding discography that broadly encompasses deep and atmospheric techno, showcased most recently on Apparitions a much anticipated album debut for Livity.
Baker's podcast is by and large a selection of his favourite tracks as of now, many his own—and many of them previously heard, selected from his vast array of unreleased works. It starts slow and deep, more of a home- or headphone-listening experience, before the tempo picks up around the 17-minute mark. Shackleton's "Headcleaner" and Härdstedt's "Timmersdala" add some intergalactic rhythms, before a pair of Baker's own tracks mark the beginning of the calm and measured drum & bass-infused closure.
01. What have you been up to recently?
Just got back from a short trip to Berlin, where I played at the Industry with Claro Intelecto (live), Batu, Hodge, and Sully.
02. You just released your debut album, Apparitions. How do you reflect on the release, now it's out?
I’m really pleased with how it came out and has been received. I’ve had some great feedback and messages from people who are enjoying it.
03. Where and when was the album recorded?
The album was made in my studio at home over the last year
04. What first drove you to get into music production, around the turn of the millennium?
Instrumental hip-hop and jungle, when I found out you could make music on a computer from sampling other records.
05. What did your earliest experiments sound like?
06. Where and when was the mix recorded?
Mixed at home in my studio last week with technics 1210, zone 23 mixer, and Serato.
07. How did you choose the records that you included?
Tried not to think about it too much and picked stuff I’ve been enjoying listening to and playing out.
08. How do you feel it compares to one of your club mixes?
Would depend on the club night and who else was playing, first half is probably deeper than I would play in a club most of the time.
09. What's next on the horizon? Can we expect any new material soon?
Couple of new EPs coming soon, some remixes, collaboration projects and hopefully a live show.
Due to temporary issues regarding the GDPR, EU readers can download the podcast here.
01. Valentino Mora "Ash Walk"
02. Forest Drive West "Transmission"
03. Moniker "Groove Only" (Peverelist Remix)
04. Babe Roots "Jah Nuh Dead" (Forest Drive West remix)
05. Forest Drive West "Untitled"
06. Saphileaum "Dual Expression" (Sanjib Remix)
07. Shackleton "Headcleaner"
08. Martin Goodwin "Vale"
09. Seleccion Natural "Necton"
10. Forest Drive West "Escape"
11. Forest Drive West "Traveler"
12. Härdstedt "Timmersdala"
13. Laertes "Argonaut" (Neel Remix)
14. Forest Drive West "Untitled"
15. Forest Drive West "Reshape"
16. Rhythmic Theory "Streets of Neo Tokyo"
17. Photek "T-Raenon"