Rob Baker

Interview: Luke Sital-Singh

Rob Baker
Interview: Luke Sital-Singh

Luke Killick talks to fast-rising singer songwriter – and BIMM graduate, Luke Sital-Singh.

Your latest album, Time is a Riddle, came out a couple of months ago, how was the process of making it?

Brilliant, It was such a joy to make. I disappeared out to Donegal in Ireland to make it with the help of producer Tommy McLaughlin. His studio is in a beautiful remote location. We had good friends come and play on it. There was a lot of time wasted making good coffee (which is never a waste of time actually) and it all happened very organically and fairly quickly over 10 days. 

Was there anything you learned from making your first album [The Fire Inside] that made this time around easier?

I think there was a tonnage of stuff I learnt, most of which I’m sure is under the skin stuff that I’m not even aware of. But I learnt to trust myself most of all, and to keep things small. Reducing the amount of creative voices chirping in is a big one. Barely anyone heard what we were doing out there in Donegel until it was finished. I tend to be a people pleaser, I’m not good at completely ignoring other opinions, so I tend to stretch and mishape everything to try and make everyone happy. That just doesn’t work. So I learnt from that mistake.

Do you have a favourite song/one you're most proud of on the new album?

I don’t really. One of the things I’m most proud of about this album is it’s cohesive-ness. I like albums that feel like they fit together as a piece. In that sense no one song jumps out at me. I’m proud of the whole thing. 

Did going to BIMM help with your music career in any way?

I met a lot of helpful people through BIMM, both directly and indirectly. My manager is Julian Deane at Raygun, who first interviewed me for my place. Iain Archer, who produced my first record, was my first ever tutor on a Monday morning. I had a tutor called Susan Dodes, who had originally signed one of my idols, Josh Ritter. She set me up with an opportunity to open for him a few times. My singing tutor’s husband was the local Brighton BBC radio DJ who put me forward for Glastonbury the first time I played there. Loads of stuff like that happened to me, much by chance. But BIMM definitely helped me get into some connected people’s lives. 

What advice would you give to all of the current BIMM students trying to make it?

I would say firstly that if your driving ambition is ‘making it’, perhaps try and find a different one. I don’t think the desire to ‘make it’ has deep enough roots to bring you through the years of hard work for no gain. It’s better to just want to be good, to make good work, to move people, to put something worthwhile into the world. I think that’ll be more sustaining. But that's just me.

Also the longer you can keep the self critical voice at bay, the better. Just write and write and write. And lastly ignore all advice and go your own way. 

Where were you most excited to play on your recent UK tour? 

I do like coming back to Brighton. It’s always nice to see familiar faces and walking around the town before the gig is a nice a trip down memory lane, but I gotta say playing my own show at the Union Chapel in London was a dream for a long time. I used to be a steward there for a few months when I was scraping by, so I got to see a lot of shows there. I’ve always been mesmerised by the space and the atmosphere. It was great to play there, I very nearly wore my old staff T-shirt!

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