Corey Baker, who performs as Kill Paris, is an old soul trapped in a young body. Through a series of sporadic moves that have taken him from his home in Indiana to Nashville then Los Angeles and now Boulder, Baker has found his own corner in a rapidly evolving electronic music scene. He grew up listening to rock & roll and punk, and eventually he picked up the guitar and bass. Now, he translates his experience playing in bands to composing dance music that moves rooms small and large all over the world. At the moment, he's working on an EP for Skrillex's OWSLA imprint, a headlining national tour alongside Candyland, and a new life in a new state with a clean slate.
Westword:You're pretty new to Boulder. How long has it been and what do you think of Colorado so far?
Corey Baker (Kill Paris):I've been here for four months so far, and it's just the best, ever. There is nothing that I could be negative about. In general, Colorado is just a beautiful place, and I love the small town vibe of Boulder.
What prompted the move?
I was looking for a new place out in LA where I had lived for two years, already, and I was thinking about moving to Colorado because it's just awesome. I grew up in Indiana, so I love woods and nature, and I missed that in LA. I've moved a lot anyway, like, I've lived in Nashville, Tampa, Sarasota, Indiana and LA, and I thought that since I was young, why not? It all happened in about two weeks. I couldn't be happier out here.
Did the thriving scene kind of draw you in?
Yes, and not only that, but my response has always been the best when I've played here. They are more receptive to my music here, whether it's the electro-soul style, or whatever, but the people here just understand it. That's really inspiring. When you're in LA, there is so much stuff going with pop music, and everyone is always on the verge of making it big. Everyone you talk to is about to break out. I don't have patience for that stuff. For me, it's about the music. It's about making something you are happy with. That's the really inspiring thing about Colorado.
Had you made connections prior to moving out?
It was a bit of a blind move, but I'm pretty good friends with [Dominic Lalli] of Big Gigantic, and originally I was just going to come out and check it out and just see if I really liked it. Some of the best choices I've ever made in my life have been on the fly. I don't worry about what's going to happen, as long as I can do what I want when I get there. I don't regret it at all. It's far exceeded my expectations.
Have you noticed a change in your own mind state and how you are producing music being in a new city?
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I've noticed my music has been a lot more experimental and trying new things. Being able to walk off my driveway and onto a trail into the mountains is very inspiring. When you are producing music or in the studio for hours on end, it can be a pain. Since I can take breaks and go out in nature and not be looking at a screen or on my phone, I notice a difference in my own well-being. Colorado is so open, especially Boulder. We don't have skyscrapers! I loved LA, but there was traffic, and buildings, and so Colorado is just more conducive to feeling open minded about things.
I'm not a music producer, but I heard that "artists are working when they look out the window and the smallest thing can spark and inspire." Do you agree?
For anyone doing something creative, the things you are doing in daily life directly influence your work. It's all about your state of mind. You are constantly getting inspired or uninspired by your surroundings. That's the coolest thing about the mountains; they make you feel really small, and it changes your perspective. It makes me realize that whatever problems I have don't mean anything. The mountains don't care. There are bigger things going on.
What have you been working on lately? To a New Earth was with OWSLA. Will you be staying with them for the next release?
I have an ep coming out soon, and my friend Marty Rod is on a couple of the songs, and it will be released with OWSLA again. He was on a track called "Falling In Love Again" that came out a few months ago, and we did a new version of that on this album coming. That's going to be out around the end of March.On a timeline, were those tracks made while transitioning between LA and Denver, thus showing your new mindset?
It's funny, because half of it was started in LA and the other half was finished here. It's a very transitional ep. Musically, it won't mean anything, but it's been one of those interesting things for me. The majority of it was finished here. It's definitely has the Colorado influence in it.
Coming off the success of To A New Earth, and reflecting back on that after a few months, what are your thoughts on the production of it and what you're moving into now?
It's kind of something that's out of my control, and I would never make the same thing twice. Aside from it being impossible, the new one is different and adding to my sound. It's expanding and bringing more into the picture, sonically. That's always fun.
What is your background as far as music goes?
I started playing guitar when I was 15, and that's when I got into recording music on my computer on this shitty old PC that had Windows 95. When I was growing up I was really into rock and metal, and things like Incubus; music that mixed genres. I played in a lot of punk bands all through college, and then I moved to Nashville to play bass for a country group. After that, I started getting more into the electronic side. I was always producing, but that was never my full-on project. It was what I was doing to get stuff out, creatively. Back then, I never saw that you could be on stage as one person. I wasn't exposed to the DJ world until I was in college, and after that, I thought about how I could do it. I continued to produce and work on music, and here I am.
Do you see your influences and upbringing coming through in your music?
I definitely pull from those experiences, and I think it's important to listen to different genres from what you make just to get inspiration. From there, you can transform and translate it to electronic music. It's more about the creativity, and less about copying every house song, or Beatport Top 100 song. When you listen to a lot of that stuff, it's very copy-cat. It's arranged the same way, and it serves its purpose. It has its part in the whole spectrum. Something truly creative, though, is pulled from different influences.
What do you like to listen to when no one is around?
I wish that I could say that I only listen to George Michael when no one is around, but I really listen to George Michael when people are around. Aside from that, I collect vinyl. I like going to record stores and picking out things that I've never heard of. I like old funk, soul, and stuff like Frank Sinatra, but not just Frank Sinatra.
It seems crate digging is common ground for finding samples. What do you love most about it?
You are exploring! Records are so cool. You have to be physically engaged when listening to records. It takes you out of the realm of SoundCloud and YouTube and having hundreds of thousands of millions of songs at your fingertips. On a record, you have eight or nine songs, and you can't skip the track because you have to physically put it on a record player and listen to it. You are physically engaged to it. It's inspiring. You are listening to these artists that no one has heard of because they didn't transition to the digital world. At some point, these people were good enough to have a physical copy made. It puts things in perspective. At the end of the day -- a lot of musical artists today - in fifty or sixty years, no one will have heard of them. It's a different time now because I think about the stories these people have. I think about what they had to do to get to the record label, and it was different than how it is now.
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