Arts & Culture / COVID-19 / Mosaic / April 27, 2020

Student releases her first personal EP

Senior, Ellie Baird‘s album cover for her EP, Orange. (Courtesy of Ellie Baird)

Senior Ellie Baird released her first EP titled ‘Orange’ to a variety of streaming services on April 26th with the helped of many members inside and out of the Knox Community. 

  • How long have you been working on this EP?

     The songs were all written at different over the past couple years, but I started the actual recording process in January at the start of winter term. This project was also my senior research for the music major.

  • What made you decide on the title of the EP? 

     The title ‘Orange’ is also the title of the last song. I suck at coming up with titles for things but I thought Orange was a decent enough name. I also like oranges quite a bit, as a food.

  • Tell me about the songs, is there a deeper meaning to the album? 

     Well, I don’t know if I would say there’s a deeper meaning… they’re mostly all sad love songs so there’s a theme ha. It seems like I can’t really write about anything else but that’s okay. For the album as my senior project though, I wanted to choose a set of songs that would kind of represent some musical growth through my college experience. So ‘Fair’ was one of the first songs that I wrote and actually liked, I wrote that my sophomore year. Then ‘Hottest Month of Summer’ and ‘S. West Street’ I wrote my junior year and ‘Orange’ I wrote this past fall. So I have other songs that I really love too, but these were the ones I thought were a good representation of what I’ve been accomplishing in college as a songwriter.

  • What’s your favorite song?

     I’m really happy with them all, and every song changed so much from what it meant to me before recording. But I think Orange might be my favorite. It’s the one I wrote most recently and I think it’s the most interesting. I played it at the Orpheum in the fall with the Cherry St. Combo and the jazz residency artists, Caroline Davis and Rob Clearfield, and that experience was eye-opening cause I started to think about how the jazz I’ve played at Knox has shaped the songs I write, and I think that comes through a little on the recording as well. I think Orange kind of represents a direction I wanna explore more in my songwriting.

  •  Is it you playing all the instruments? 

     I did all the guitar and vocals myself. Cam Schierer plays bass and Chris Deligiannis plays drums on everything. They’ve been a huge part of my music this year and I hope we get to play shows again sometime soon! There’s also a violin line on ‘S. West Street’ played by Ally Kellogg. And on ‘Orange’ Allen Irvine plays Saxophone and Sam Beem plays keys.

  •  What are you hoping to come of this EP?

     A Grammy! Haha…. no. I just wanted my friends and family to be able to listen to it though honestly. I hope people enjoy it and want to hear more, but I’m not really expecting money or anything like that. I also was sick of playing shows and people asking where they could listen to my music and also just being like… ‘uh, nowhere’. But who knows if anyone will ever play live music again. I would hope that I can set up some merch and go on tour. I had talked a bit with Cam and Chris about us touring over the summer with their other band, Young Strangers. Obviously that can’t happen now, but I hope it does someday. 

  • Who did you record with? Produce with? Or was it all on your own? 

     I had some help from my professor Pierce Gradone because I’ve never done anything like this before and I didn’t have any experience with recording live instruments or mixing or anything like that. So we would meet once a week, but besides that, it was all on my own. It was quite a challenge, I won’t lie, but I’m pretty happy with the end result! And it’s a good feeling to be able to say that I did it all myself. And now I have a little basis to get better at this stuff. I’m doing these production lessons right now with Casey Foubert, who’s played with me in Cherry St. Combo, but has also engineered for Sufjan Stevens and the Shins; I wanna work on getting better at production because right now in music I think that you need to stack up as many skills as you can to make yourself marketable. Also producing is actually really fun and challenging, it’s like a puzzle!

  • With quarantine going on, did it help you get the whole thing put together? Was this your original release date?

     Aha, no. I had originally been planning on releasing it on April 2nd in conjunction with a release show at Fat Fish that night but uh that obviously didn’t happen. Then I just felt so shitty and didn’t really want to think about it for a while cause it just made me sad. Haha. But I finally got everything together for it which feels good. It’s a relief honestly just to have it be a real thing finally.

  • How did you decide on the album cover? 

     Well, I knew I wanted my face to be on it because it’s my first release and I wanted people to be able to recognize me on it. And then I guess I was thinking about how an actual orange could be incorporated into it. I don’t really know how the idea popped into my head but I thought it would be kind of an interesting photo if someone smashed an orange on my face. And I think it came out pretty great. My roommates have nice cameras and helped me take them. My hair was disgusting afterward and I had orange juice all in my eyes and on my clothes. It was really fun though.

  • What was the most rewarding part of this project? 

       Everyone has been really supportive since I put it out and that feels quite rewarding honestly. But I think the best part was the process of making it. It was pretty intense, honestly, because I was so busy last term anyways and then was also doing this big project pretty much by myself and I would spend like 15 hours in the studio every week and I just was in this insane mood all the time. I felt like all charged up and I had so much trouble falling asleep because I would have all these ideas bouncing around in my head. Looking back on that time it’s just like oh yeah, I’m totally obsessed with this feeling, I wanna do this forever. I think knowing I could feel so excited and passionate about something is the most rewarding thing. It’s another kind of high, like playing live. 

  • What was the most challenging part?

       Probably insecurities about the product. It’s funny when I was working on stuff I felt really good about how it sounded but then when I was finishing everything, I was like wow, this is uhhhh so horrible?! What have I done? No one will like this! But I think everyone kinda gets that, it’s like you spend so much time with this thing and you’re so precious about it. And then you have to step away and say you’re done with it? It’s really hard. All I could hear were flaws that I didn’t have any ability to fix. I still kind of hear them honestly. But it’s okay, at a certain point I just had to accept that it will never be perfect! And it’s not really about the end product at all, but the work I put in, that’s just for me, you know. It’s all about, all about the climb. 

  •  Are you working on anything new? 

       Yeah! I have 2 songs that I’ve written since spring break that I’m really excited about. I think I want to record more stuff as soon as I can, but it’s tricky since I don’t have any equipment, I had just used stuff the school owns before. Also, I can’t see my band, so you know, that sucks. Ha. But hopefully, I can start working on stuff before the New Year? I guess we’ll have to see how things shake out. 

Bairds EP is available on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3IYvPMKmOXfW8dnut1CEuk?si=5MXB7sEcQ0qrJnBPVYbibw

Bandcamp:

https://smellie-bird.bandcamp.com/

and Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtFDDIB_C-nxncRdRRV757Q

Sadie Cheney, Co-Mosaic Editor
Co-Mosaic Editor

Tags:  album release music student art

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