The ability to leave this world
and be reborn is a common desire

interview: Tiffany Tso
photography: Daniel Perlaky
more info: Sunset website / Autobus records

The Phoenix, a mystical creature said to spontaneously ignite itself, burn into ashes and reincarnate itself from within the former self has always been a subject of wonder and fantasy. The ability to leave this world and be reborn is a common desire. If you were to finish with one life, wouldn’t it be ideal to be able to start over again with another—learning from past mistakes, creating a new reality.

This is how Bill Baird’s story could be defined. After the end of his first successful band, Baird has set out to create a new passion project that is uniquely his—Sunset. He describes Sunset as an experiment and a successful one at that. From the start, Sunset has taken many shapes, sounds and is constantly transforming. However, the fun and worthiness of the entire experience remains constant. Now a band of four, Baird, John Kolar, Will Patterson and Willis McClung, the group has developed its own rhythm and its own niche in Austin’s music scene. Featured in Nathan Christ’s Echotone, Baird’s up-and-coming band is becoming one of Austin’s most original and attention-grabbing.

Recall something that has happened to you this past year that you found inspirational.

I wrote a song from a dream. Heard it in the dream and then woke up and it was still there! Was able to sing it and write it down and it's pretty good. Not sure if that's inspirational but it was pretty fantastic.

If you could sing one of your songs to the world, which one would you choose? Why?

"We All Live in a World Gone Deaf," because I guess I like the irony of people actually hearing the song.

If you could have one super power, what would you choose?

The power to grow my hair extremely long, at will—long enough to drown the world, to reach across space.

Do you have any reoccurring dreams? What happens?

I fly around and people tell me to come back to the ground but I usually ignore them and just fly off into space.

musician Bill Baird, photo: Daniel Perlaky
Bill Baird with self-portrait at Baby Blue

Tell me all about Baby Blue.

Baby Blue is my recording studio in East Austin. It used to be a blues joint called The Eastside Lounge, before my time. Then it was a seafood restaurant called "Fish R Us." I think the "R" is reversed. They got kicked out and I moved in. I spend many of my days in there making music using the following ingredients: coffee, yerba mate, tea, coffee, littered piles of coffee cups, rolled cigarettes on occasion, Otari tape machine, a big mixing board, some microphones, a tack piano, regular piano, 3 electric pianos, 3 synthesizers, a moog, 2 farfisas, echoplex tape delay, space echo, grit, guts, free samples at Whole Foods, a rat who crawls around the rafters, a serious lack of air conditioning and heating when desired, a calendar that does not often get looked at, a darkroom to develop photos, old wooden walls, van bench seats, neighbors who write anonymous threatening letters, a large outdoor fire pit, and a small leaky fridge.
We sub-lease the front of the property to a man named "Mr. B," who sells smoked meats. When he moved in, I told him one condition on his sharing the yard would be creating a special item on the menu named after me. Thus the "Bill Dog" was born. It's a veggie sausage with mayo, cheese, sauerkraut, jalapenos, lettuce, tomatoes, and mustard.

Are you a past, present, or future kind of guy?

Some days I don't even know where I am, others nothing escapes me.

Favorite artist of today:

Nam June Paik. Well, he's dead but his spirit lives on.

If you could visit any part of history, what would it be?

Any part where George Carlin is my guide in a phone booth portal.

Dream vacation spot:

Either the North or South Pole.

Who would you not mind getting stuck on an island with?

An inventor.