SWEET BABOO | INTERVIEW
Having been a fixture on the Welsh music scene since 2003, Sweet Baboo, aka Stephen Black, is returning, older and wiser, with his seventh studio album. The new record, called Wild Imagination, is released on Fri 2 June and continues to walk that line between comedy, heartbreak and whimsy that has become his trademark over the past 14 years.
Made with the help of close friends Rob and Paul Jones in in a week in north Wales, Black admitted he took a very different approach this time around: “With this new record, I got a lot more help. The last record, I wanted to be in charge of everything, and it took quite a long time to make. This time, what I realised I enjoyed about music was making it with other people. We ran with it, with all of us throwing ideas around, and we made it in my parents’ house. This album was done a lot quicker, and there was less agonizing over every detail. It’s also just good to change your approach sometimes; if you did it the same every time it would be boring.”
Although he is embarking on a seven-date tour across the UK this June, Black’s festival schedule is unusually light, but the Trefriw native is relaxed about his summer plans. He added: “We’re going to try and put on a show for the new tour. Bizarrely, we have nothing lined up for festivals this year. I’d like to go to Green Man because the line-up looks really good, but I don’t like camping much. We did a few festivals the last two years so having a year off isn’t the worst idea.”
With a three-year-old-son waiting at home after a tour, Black has already been imparting his musicality: “I still really like touring, but now he’s there it is really nice to come home. I’d really like to take him to Green Man because I think he’d love it. At the moment, he’s obsessed with the Arctic Monkey’s first album, so that’s what we’re listening to. He also has a drum kit in the shed, which he can make a sound of.”
Typically for an artist so full of ideas, Black is already moving on to an array of new projects: “We’ve just finished a clarinet and piano record so we’ll see if anyone wants to put that out. I’ve also been learning to play the flute, so that’s my next objective. Hopefully there’ll be a flute-based record, but it might be a long time coming – it could be magnificent or terrible.”
Sweet Baboo, Clwb Ifor Bach, Fri 16 June. Tickets: £11. Info: 029 2023 2199 / www.clwb.net
words JAME EYLES