Villain Baritone: The New Power Trio in the Boulder Music Scene

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Villian Baritone are a new Boulder band finding their sound. 

Fuzz. Pop. Adult. Baritone. That’s how Boulder-based Villain Baritone describe themselves. Consisting of Brent Wilkinson (vocals/guitar), Joshua Thomas (drums), and Rob Spears (bass/keys), this trio formed just a little over a month ago and have already been busy recording music for an upcoming EP release. So we chatted with frontman Brent Wilkinson last week to learn exactly where these guys got together, what’s in a name, and what their plans are as newcomers on the Boulder music scene.

Thanks for chatting with us Brent! First, tell us how the three of you met:

Villain Baritone’s roots began in Studio 700, where I went to check out a local songwriter’s gathering. Joshua had dropped by to get some ideas for his acoustic pieces and I was interested in learning some vocal tips. So I started playing a riff I had been working on and a couple of people encouraged me to get on an electric guitar and the mic. Joshua offered up his skills on the drum kit for the song and when we finished the track, he looked at me and said, “I was going to try out for another group but after that jam I’d rather work with you.” He had owned the pocket during the take so I replied, “Well- we just started a band.” About a week later, I mentioned the project to Rob, who runs the open mic at Outback Saloon on Thursdays. He jumped in with us and ironically, we actually found our sound together at the Outback. Playing there gave us a great opportunity to try out ridiculous band names and engage our tracks in a live setting. When I finished the guitar solo off of “Waking Up” we all felt the musical space we had created and knew then that a distinctly powerful and expressive trio had been formed.

Don't look down. Photo Credit: Lee Davis Photography

Don't look down. Photo Credit: Lee Davis Photography

Wow! So we know you’ve been working hard at Studio 700 over the past couple of weeks recording new music. Talk to us about what that’s been like.

Studio 700 started when Joshua began to envision a multi-purpose music center where local musicians could thrive. It’s where we performed our first live set and where we laid down our first recordings. The songwriter’s workshop I mentioned, where Joshua and I first ran into each other, is hosted there as well. Studio 700 actually serves as a venue, recording studio, and a great space to write. Having the studio at our disposal has been pivotal in the formation of our group. A consistent environment for our work to live in has also been important for me as a writer; in a way it offers me a sense of momentum and connectedness between ideas. And where we’ve been recording in the studio, there is a cutout of a dissatisfied looking Alfred Hitchcock that seems to constantly judge us. I still haven’t decided if he’s a good motivator or a morale thief. Alfred’s expression aside though, we have been really fortunate to be able to work in such a relaxed atmosphere while establishing our foundations as a new group.

Shapes and Sounds. Photo Credit: Lee Davis Photography

Shapes and Sounds. Photo Credit: Lee Davis Photography

That’s so sweet! We’re actually in the process of working on a Studio 700 feature, so we can’t wait to check the space out ourselves. Are you recording a single, an EP, a full-length? What are the plans for release?

We will be releasing our first EP, Squire Tones, in early 2016. It will be four to six tracks, each of which will be centered on what we can produce in a live setting. We want to emphasize the continuity between our live set and our recorded work because we believe it adds to the listener’s experience. Memory plays a huge role for the artist and the crowd alike, and while we certainly incorporate improvisation into our tracks, we wanted to maintain a sense of cohesiveness in how we represent our sound. We will be releasing the EP download for free online.

Can’t wait to hear it! What’s the story behind your name?

Well we had been throwing names around between the three of us for a couple of weeks when Rob started focusing on what features were unique to our sound. He noted how much I operated in a baritone range and got to thinking about classic operas where the baritones are generally portrayed as villains. So Baritone Villain came to mind and as it sunk in over a few days I mistakenly recalled the order as Villain Baritone. It seemed to have a fluidity to it that I just couldn’t shake. I took the modification to the guys and Rob agreed. Joshua at this point put his hands up and confessed he had become lost in a band-name-black-hole after so many ideas. But a couple of rehearsals later it had grown on all of us and it was official.

The Power Trio: Villain Baritone. Photo Credit: Lee Davis Photography

The Power Trio: Villain Baritone. Photo Credit: Lee Davis Photography

I like it.  Beyond the release of your EP early next year, what other projects do you have planned for the fall/winter?

Our focus beyond the EP is truly crafting the sound that is inherent to us as a group. Once we find and become comfortable operating within that context, we definitely want to break into the Colorado music scene more as an effective and enjoyable rock group. Naturally, we’re aiming to build a fanbase as dedicated as we are to our music. And we want to create a memorable live experience.

Sounds like you’re well on your way guys. Keep up with Villain Baritone here.

-Hannah

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All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.