Updated: May 15
by Janice Stobie-Rushton
photos by Scott and Deanna Roos
*Baker with his band Electric Relgious at the Bassment in Saskatoon
Recently, NSMZ had the opportunity to chat with Brandon Baker of Electric Religious, who is now based in Edmonton but grew up in Prince Albert, to discuss his new album Tragic Lover. This is the band's second album and was released September 24th.
This album comes across as a deeply personal and intense, touching on many topics that indigenous people are trying to cope with on a daily basis. Along with dealing with heart breaks and usual stressors, Baker uses his personal experiences as his muse. Although 90% of the album’s lyrics are attributed to Brandon, the song Paralyzed was co-written with Darren Guzsnowsky. The accompanying video comes with a disclaimer as it deals with subjects that are intense, serving as a warning that “hard times are coming down”.
Generational abuses and colonialism are things that indigenous people are faced with and Brandon is not afraid to show that in his music. When asked about the track "Halfbreed", Brandon spoke of the inspiration that came from his cousin Maria Campbell’s 1973 novel by the same name. In the novel, Baker says she reclaimed that word under her pen. Campbell claims it for herself and the name halfbreed is no longer to be used as a derogatory term. As a Métis, Baker follows in her footsteps to further reclaim it, using it as a message to the indigenous people saying “ yes there is frustration and pain behind all of this…but we’re still here as a people and this is our word and we claim it for ourselves.“
*much to the delight of the onlookers at the Bassment, Baker was joined by his younger brother on stage and the pair cycled through a few fiddle tunes together
Baker’s guitar influences are often attributed to his hero Jimi Hendrix, which he said inspired his band name. Hendrix was quoted as saying his “music is electric church music and if by church you mean religion then I am electric religion” and Electric Religious was formed. His gritty sound on the guitar brings that soulful feeling out and tells a story that is from the heart.