Shootin' The Breeze With Swedish Producer Baba Stiltz
Dismantled pop songs and left-field house categorise Baba Stiltz as an artist for the outsider — a voyeur observing planet Earth and processing its sounds through his filter of atonality and icy techno soul.
We spent a morning in Harmony Park with Baba who'd beamed in for Sugar Mountain Festival as well as gigs in Sydney and Perth. He played music off his phone while we snapped some photos and conversed on a grey morning in Sydney. His latest EP Is Everything dropped in the same week via Studio Barnhus.
Claudio Santoro: Do you like London?
Baba Stiltz: It's too much! London's not so fun I feel. It's so much work, at least for me, every time I'm down there. And it's not beautiful like New York can be beautiful. I like when shit's at different levels, it's good for your brain.
CS: Sydney's like this.
My friends Nick and Michael took me to Bondi last year. But it was shit weather, raining and cold, but it was kind of nice, 'cause I got to see it for real.
Martha Zakarya: Do you skate?
No, but I like skate culture and I like video games but I don't play video games. There's only so much time in a day. I like being the voyeur. Too bad these tiles are skate stopped though.
CS: I always think of video games when I listen to 'Reality Sparks'.
It's funny how people like that track. I didn't think it would be a track people were into. There's so much in it. All those old tracks feel like a long time ago.
CS: Would you ever go back to practicing ballet?
No way. Graffiti and ballet are kind of similar because you get nothing out of it. If you're good, you get some respect out of your peers but you sacrifice your body.
MZ: I had a colour reading last night and found out that red's my colour. It's scary hearing about yourself.
I always wanted to be blue. I think with my complexion I'm like red or yellow, olive maybe. I'm Virgo, so, like, a sensitive egomaniac. It's ok — I'm fine with it.
CS: What artists are you listening to at the moment?
Drake is really a top artist for me. I guess like Ricardo Villalobos and all my friend's music. Views is the latest album I've been listening to. I've also been listening to Aenna Lockwood, the kind of stuff where you can take a brain break, a bit more structureless music.
CS: Why do you think so much good music comes from Sweden?
I don't know. We are super privileged and have too much time and money. We have good music programs for people, like high schools that focus on music.
CS: You said before your SoundCloud account was taken down because you forgot to pay for it. There are ads on there now as well. Do you think it has become too regulated?
It's kind of counter-productive on their part. Like, the whole spiel of SoundCloud was that it was like bootleg heaven but now they wanna make some money I guess. People like streaming music and buying subscriptions so it's good for them. To me, it's kind of weird when you're trying upload one of your own tracks and it's like, "Yo, SoundCloud, it's my music. No samples. It's all me!"
CS: Do you party much when you're at home?
No. I do party but there's a time and place. I like being sober. I like being awake during the weekdays and being able to focus when I'm working.
CS: How do you relax when you're back home?
I watch people play video games on the internet. I like cooking. My dad's Filipino so I cook a lot of Filipino food. Rice is nice. Pickling is cool. I like soups with rice in them, and then you put, like, chicken balls, that's the best. Then chilli, and I do like raw shallots. Shallots are my favourite onion. I like garlic a lot. I don't understand people who don't like garlic. It's really essential.
Words: Claudio Santoro
Photogaphy: Martha Zakarya