«Bill Baird» - biography, albums, songs, video clips

Bill was one of the founding members of the band SOUND TEAM and current leader of Sunset (formerly {{{Sunset}}}). His own material pursues experimental approaches to folk / pop / ambient. Much of his work can be found on his bandcamp page, here.

Bill has been writing and playing songs for a while. The early songs were “lo-fi” and contained numerous recording experiments. Lots of backwards flange pedal. These tapes were given to friends and sold to foes. “Sounds great, Bill,” they would smile out the words through gritted teeth.

Besides engaging in 4track experiments, he also began “jamming” with his dad, who passed along a love of old blues (Robert Johnson, Hound Dog Taylor, Mance Lipscomb, Leadbelly, etc) folk (Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Townes), and 60’s pop ( Beatles, Motown). Some of their jams even made it onto Bill’s tapes, notably a cover of Elvis’ classic “Little Sister.”

Bill’s early shows explored a “performance art” style; he and his “bandmates” found every way possible to make the audience feel uncomfortable. Theatre of the absurd, some call it.

“What is art?” they might ask themselves after a particularly riveting Bill Baird performance. Or not. Most people said, “Why is that guy screaming a Madonna song and banging a coat hanger on his lapsteel guitar?” Bill was banned from a number of clubs in the Austin area during this early “performance art” phase.

He had already put out several tapes and cd-rs when he met Matt Oliver and they started SOUND TEAM together. For the next few years, Bill concentrated mostly on ST material. For the first couple of years, Bill took many of the vocal duties on material explored old-folk, silly hip-hop, droning electronics, and psychedelic pop. Several cd-rs later, ST’s sound had become much louder and heavier, drawing largely on 60’s and 70’s German music and deep, heavy drumming; this is the ST most of the world know.

Himself a pretty quiet singer, Bill relinquished singing duties; he remained a songwriter in the band. As his vocal duties diminished in ST, Bill started writing and recording on his own again.

So Bill compiled some song-y, folk-y, strum-y, pop-y songs he’d recorded and called the album {{{Sunset}}}. He simultaneously compiled a whole bunch of instrumental ambient soundscapes and called that album SILENCE ! You can find those releases for sale, down below.

Bill also made a DVD, “Candlelit Television Eyes,” the 1st in a genre he calls the “DIY DVD” —- take the same DIY spirit of self-released tapes, cd-rs and zines and apply that to our new, YouTubed, media-overloaded age. It’s like a zine, except you can watch it. Same basic idea. You can find links to purchase volume 1 and 2 down below.

Anyhow, back to our “bio.” After releasing {{{Sunset}}} and SILENCE !, Bill toured the country, playing to small crowds all over this great land. He played taquerias, open mike nights, parking lots, Taco Cabana, sheet metal factories, historic statue plazas, you name it.

Upon returning to Austin, Bill assembled a group called {{{Sunset}}}. Bill originally intended on naming his stage act after his latest release. Like if Michael Jackson had called his band “THRILLER.” You get the picture.

But this proved an unsatisfying approach, and a search was undertaken for a new name. In the end, Bill decided to conflate the names of his two recent releases and keep his own name at the top. This conflation represented his hope for the group : a combination of the ambience, experimentation and “New music” of SILENCE with the spontaneity and folk songwriting of {{{Sunset}}}. This delicate synthesis is still a work in progress, but their shows have been interesting and even occasionally engaging. Sometimes they march through the streets like a parade. Sometimes random crowd members join the show. They played a show outside the Clear Channel World Headquarters, which was pretty strange.

In December 2008 Bill wrote a song for a Christmas compilation called ‘An Indiecater Christmas’ which was put out by Indiecater Records.