Ask Corey Baker of Kill Paris about the sort of sexy that inspires his equally as sexy bass music and you'll receive, well, even more sexy. "I mean, I couldn't tell you, but I could show you," says Baker, leaving a pause before laughing. "I don't know how to explain it. It's just like trying to describe music, you can use words all you want, but at the end of the day, you just have to listen." Though one look at his tags on SoundCloud does all the describing necessary—#lovestep, #pantysoak, and #pantydropstep.
Prior to soaking panties, Baker spent his formative years as a nomad, travelling between Indiana, Florida, and Nashville before settling in LA to pursue music more closely. By 2012, a bouquet of free releases on his SoundCloud, including the still much-requested "Forget Me Nots," kindled his first set of gigs and the world's first taste of the Kill Paris sound. While surfacing on the brink of electronic music's surge in popularity, Baker saw a trend in flavourless lyricism and emptiness in meaning. Since growing up in bands playing both bass guitar and piano, Baker only knew music with meaning. Thus as Kill Paris, he decided to infiltrate the bass scene with romance.
"There's always room for romantic music, especially in electronic music," says Baker, whose still arm-and-arm with his high-school sweetheart. "I have a really hard time making stuff that I don't like. If I put something out, it means I felt something while I was making. I'm not just going through the motions making music. If I were to do that, it would be like having a normal job, which forgoes everything I've worked for to be able to make music for a living."
Baker soon became a foster child of Skrillex' OWSLA, releasing his first major EP To A New Earth in 2013 followed by the cheekily titled, Foreplay. By now, his self-administered future-funk sound was armoured with just as much riotous dubstep and frenetic glitch-house as melodic sensitivity. When you hear Kill Paris, you know it's him. "As a young producer, I always thought I had to make something other people were going to like, but I've learned it doesn't work like that. People are going to like it and hate it, so you might as well make it something you enjoy doing."
He quickly grew out of his adoptive label OWSLA and separated from the crew amicably. "I learned so much from Sonny [Skrillex]. Even before I signed with them, I asked him for advice and he told me to keep control over as much as I can," he says. "As an artist, you're the only one who understands what you're doing. If you're not in control of getting your art out, you lose all control. I realized that being with a label that wasn't my own didn't give me the right control."
Baker took control all right, starting with the dawn of his label Sexy Electric and a move to Colorado. "I was trying to get in touch with nature and realized that if I wanted to enjoy normal things in life, I have to make time for them. Living in a big city, you lose perspective on what's really important. Galaxies Between Us was a big part of that—getting away from the rat race and doing something on my own."
Next to his beloved Keytar, Galaxies Between Us is Baker's newest pride and joy. The full-length album operates in the same realm of tenderness Kill Paris is hailed for while spanning across soul, electro, and funk. "The only way you can express so many different moods is on an album," says Baker of his first lengthy release. "With one song, you only have three to seven minutes to encapsulate an emotion, which is crazy if you think about it. Whereas with an album, you have more time to relay how you're feeling."
Baker isn't feeling quite as tied to romance as before. Recently, he's been public about his frustrations with the music industry, prompting a spat on Twitter with the Canadian king of shit disturbing, Deadmau5, over none other than Tidal. He's since been blocked. (Us, too.) "Why he is about to trust anything that Nicki Minaj is behind, I'll never understand," he says with a sigh. "They're mad that all of their money are going to labels, but why did they sign their rights away to labels in the first place? Who are you mad at in this whole thing? You should be mad at yourself."
To Baker, success in music is parallel with happy customers—customers being his dedicated fans. Since the very first Kill Paris release, he's made his music affordable, if not completely free. "I don't want anyone to have to give anything up to hear me express myself. They should be able to choose," he says. "You have to let fans know that they're special. In the end, they're the ones paying my bills. Tidal is a perfect example. Those artists have all become so big that they're not in touch with their fans anymore."
"You have no idea what people give up in order to support an artist, to be able to come to a show. Between working extra hours, waiting tables to save up money to go to a show. People have to give up something in order to support you. You can't be fucking selfish."
It's clear that Baker has heeded Sonny's advice—he is in full control of his music. Kill Paris is one of few artists that can boast of success, profit, and control while handing out his music like party favours. "I've always been a very DIY guy from the beginning," he admits. "I mean, it's 2015—with the internet, there are so many ways to be self-sufficient without selling your soul away to a bunch of other people."
Kill Paris is on the last leg of his 'Galaxies Between Us' tour. Find more information here.
Rachael has yet to be blocked by Deadmau5 on Twitter, so follow her.