Monday, 16 May 2011


Although he's probably best known to us for writing and producing the soundtrack to Flip's 'Extremely Sorry' video, transplanted Englishman Piers Baron has worked with drum and bass superheroes Adam F, DJ Fresh, Stanton Warriors and Pendulum- with whom he scored a number 1 in the UK Dance Chart. In making the Flip soundtrack he worked with Dave Lombardo of Slayer, Snoop Dogg and Motorhead's Lemmy, and is a contributor to the blog, along with Geoff Rowley, Arto Saari and Todd Bratrud. Enough reason for us to want to talk to him right there.

You've been putting out a load of records for about ten years now. How did you come to be hanging around with a load of smelly skateboarders? Do you skate?
Ha, well, I used to skate, SS20 being my local store. It was actually Mon (Barbour) who gave me my first break DJing at Source (a night SS20 sponsored). I met Geoff Rowley around 2003 and did a little bit of work on Really Sorry. Our friendship grew from there. As did my relationship with the rest of the team.

How did the Extremely Sorry soundtrack come about?
Geoff and (Jeremy) Fox really wanted to do something that would set their video apart from all the others, an original soundtrack had never been done before, so they asked me whether I could pull it off.

How much of it was 'written'? It all sounds live, but I'm guessing there's a lot of samples in there...
No, it was all played. I played everything on the soundtrack with the exception of drums- some of which Dave Lombardo played- and the bass on 'Stand By Me', which Lemmy played.

Who's idea was it to have Lemmy doing 'Stand By Me'? It worked really well for Geoff's section.
We originally had something different in mind for Geoffs part, when Geoff spoke with Lemmy and we found out he was down, it was a no brainer. Geoff and I decided that something old would be great, Lemmy absolutely nailed it. He loves old music, he has another band called 'The Head Cat', check them out if you don’t know, they play rockabilly, blues and rock and roll. Some really fond memories of making that song for a lot of reasons- not all of them musical!

What's Lemmy like? Did he drink JD and Coke with speed or was it all vitamin shakes and Berocca?
Lemmy’s a gent, a really nice guy. He’s really cool to spend time with as he has lots of stories from his past and other bands he’s met. We definitely got through some booze, he loves a tear up, he loves Jack and

Was it hard to get the guests you had to agree to contribute? How did the process compare to collaborations you've done in the past?
It was actually pretty easy, we got our first choice on each song. Flip is a big deal in the USA, most people have heard about the brand, so between mine and Geoff’s connections it came together pretty nicely.

Were you actually spending time in the studio with these people, or was it mostly done via email?
Mostly in the studio together, it's always nice to be in the studio with people, but with some people it just wasn’t possible. For instance Steve McBean from Black Mountain was done via email and a few phone conversations, and that song turned out great. The unique thing about about a project like this is that we were working with consummate professionals who have lots of experience of making records. Based on that it made my job easier than it could have been.

                                                                      Photo by Arto Saari

How much input did the team have during the production?
All the riders got their say, it was a team effort. Myself, Geoff, Ewan (Bowman) and Fox had the final say. David (Gonzales) actually played on one of the tracks as well- he's a pretty gifted lead guitar player- so he came in and unleashed some hell.

I seems like quite a big move for an established British D&B artist to move to LA. What made you take the plunge?
I guess it was a big move, but with my drum and bass career I had achieved everything I'd set out to, it was time to move on before I stared repeating myself. It felt like a natural progression.

Could you feel the pressure of having to soundtrack one of the most-anticipated skateboard videos of all time?
No, you can't think like that on any project, no matter how big or small. You're just putting unnecessary pressure on yourself, its not conducive to writing good music. The night of the premiere was pretty monstrous, there were 4,500 people there, and the whole skate industry. I guess it hit me a little more then. Flip did a really good job at keeping me shielded from any of the nonsense that can come with working on a project of this size.

How was the reaction to the soundtrack?
It's been really good, anyone in the industry who has made videos knows full well the enormity of what we did. There was a few dickheads talking shit on the forums, but in all honesty they're not qualified to pull apart an audio visual production in a constructive manner. I have had nothing but love from other pros and film makers.

Do you think more videos will have a specifically-scored soundtrack in the future?
Without question, the way skateboarding is now, with the budgets involved and the crossover potential, scored music is the future.

How did the Pendulum collaboration come about? Was it always your plan to take it as far as you did?
When I was making drum and bass I was signed to the same label as Pendulum (Breakbeat Kaos), myself and Rob (Swire) got together for a night in the studio and made a track which got released, great memories from that period of time albeit a bit hazy, I definitely used to get pretty out of control back then, the first house those guys lived in was a full blown party house, it was fucking mental. And I don’t say that lightly.

What do you think of drum and bass moving back into a retro jungle sound? Is there any new ground left to tread?
For sure, drum and bass has some of the most talented producers in the world- it'll never die, it'll just keep diversifying. Personally I like it, jungle is where it started. It went retro 10 years ago when Total Science hit the scene.

What do you think of dubstep?
It's personally not for me, in fact that whole thing kicking off was one of the reasons I started to feel some distance from the drum and bass scene and moved to LA. Maximum respect to everyone involved though,
it’s a highly creative scene at the moment.

What piece of music are you the proudest to have worked on?
I'm proud of everything I have released, I don’t put my name on anything unless im 110% happy with it. Extremely Sorry and Volcom’s 9191 Snow movie have definitely been high points. Working with Lemmy, Dave Lombardo, A Place To Bury Strangers, those have been high points also.

What do you have on the horizon?
This year is looking pretty busy. I'm currently working with Greg Hunt on a TV commercial for Vans to promote Geoffs new shoe. Working on my solo album a soundtrack with James Lavelle and a yet to be announced action sports soundtrack...

What's the gnarliest thing you've seen hanging out with the Flip lot?
Skating wise, its Flip! its always fucking gnarly, Gonzo and Luan are fucking ridiculous, going to the Mega Ramp when Bob was filming his Extremely Sorry part- as you can imagine- was mental. I think Bob put
together something that people will talk about for years to come.

Are you glad to see Arto back on Flip?
Yeah without a doubt, it's epic, Arto is a top man, he has been wrestling with leaving since he left I think, respect to him for coming home! I'm looking forward to working with him once more.

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