Idiosyncratic house sounds from the Stockholm producer, recorded live in Mumbai
Baba Stiltz is perhaps best known for making off-kilter and introspective dance tracks like last year’s “Can’t Help It”, but there’s always been another side to the Swedish artist – “Baby” and “Rain Dance” are light, leftfield pop songs that see Stiltz turn frontman with a raw, raspy vocal. His latest EP, Showtime (released by London’s XL Recordings, who’ve put out everything from modern rave bangers by Special Request to soaring stadium pop by Adele), sees the 24-year-old producer, musician, and DJ embrace his songwriterly tendencies more than ever before. The four-track EP places his vocal front-and-centre, whether on the soulful “Situation”, the sampledelic title track “Showtime”, or the melancholic house cut “Maze”.
“This EP is a collection of songs that were recorded during the past couple of years,” Stiltz says of the release. “They all represent things I’ve been going through, just day-to-day stuff: travelling, DJing, meeting people, being alone a lot, falling in love, parties, hangovers… ‘Showtime’ as a title just means it’s showtime. Before every gig, every day of travel. Always somewhere. Pressure, stress, excitement. Gig-economy self-loathing and megalomania.”
Following the EP’s release, Stiltz is gearing up for his very first UK show with his live band – an unlikely appearance at Aspers, a casino located inside the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London, on June 27. Following Showtime’s release and ahead of that show, the artist put together our latest Dazed Mix, recorded live in Mumbai. Listen below.
Hi, Baba! We caught up with you back in July last year. What have you been up to since then?
Baba Stiltz: Hi! I’ve been travelling, making sense of stuff and enjoying everything as it comes. (I’ve been) all over the world. Being in the line of work I’m in is a fantastical, strange, and wonderful thing.
Your Showtime EP was released by XL Recordings. How’d you connect with the label?
Baba Stiltz: I’ve been in touch with XL for some time, working with great people there. We sat down with more than a handful of songs. The EP is compiled of tracks that, in my mind, made sense. Sometimes you need to take a scary turn to be happy with yourself. Things will make even more sense in the future.
“Being in the line of work I’m in is a fantastical, strange, and wonderful thing” – Baba Stiltz
‘Situation’, from the new EP, is a lush bit of soulful, guitar-based songwriting. Will we see more of this side of you in future?
Baba Stiltz: ‘Situation’ was written about two years ago. It’s about the feeling of exhaustion (and the) fear of loneliness, yet feeling sexy together and enjoying each other together. I have so much unheard, unreleased music I’ve worked on over the years – ‘Situation’ is one example. Hopefully we’ll get to share more in a near future.
What’s happening in your Dazed Mix?
Baba Stiltz: This mix was recorded live in Mumbai, at the Milkman HQ in Bandra. The tracklist is a selection of songs I’d been playing out during my India tour.
You’re playing at a casino in a London shopping centre later this month, what should we expect from that? Have you played anywhere else off the beaten track before?
Baba Stiltz: Unheard and unreleased music, singing, and dancing. I once played a night in the suburbs of Stockholm that had been double-booked – me and my friend Samo DJ were (supposed) to play a party and the venue had also booked the local Hells Angels’ eulogy party for a member who’d passed away. Strange but exciting moments in time.
What was the last song that made you cry?
Baba Stiltz: ‘Only One’ by Kanye West.
“I once played a night in the suburbs of Stockholm... the venue had also booked the local Hells Angels’ eulogy party for a member who’d passed away” – Baba Stiltz
Who would play you in a film of your life?
Baba Stiltz: Winona Ryder! She has a great look. Always has.
Can you recommend one artist you feel our readers shouldn’t be sleeping on?
Are you working on anything else right now?
Baba Stiltz: Trying to enjoy myself and planning a week of sunshine somewhere in the world.
Baba Stiltz plays Aspers Casino in Stratford, east London on June 27