Chris Baio is the New York-born, London-based bass player for indie pop outfit Vampire Weekend, the four-piece fronted by whip-smart wordsmith Ezra Koenig.
Koenig and Vampire Weekend musical mastermind Rostam Batmanglij form the songwriting team that drives the band, turning a lens on the smallest details of lives lived in New York City across a trio of albums, Vampire Weekend, Contra and Modern Vampires of the City.
Utilising some downtime from his fulltime gig, Chris stepped out solo to release music under his DJ alias, Baio, drawing from a background as both a club DJ and a former selector and music director of WBAR, the college radio station of Barnard College.
“It was an internet radio station – it’s a great radio station, still going today,” he says. “For me, that was like the second school that I went to, the same time that I was in college.
“That’s kind of a time in my life where I wasn’t writing music for about two and a half years; I was really only listening to it and consuming it, and I feel like a lot of my tastes and preferences that are ultimately expressed in the record that I’ve made, all those thoughts and opinions about music were formed 10 years ago at university.”
That album, The Names, sees Chris draw on the sights and sounds of London, for a dancefloor-focused set that takes a few cues from his background in college radio – and his new home base.
“For me, I found [London] very, very helpful in making my record and getting to a place where I was really seriously writing lyrics for the first time and having things to draw upon.
“I think moving to a new place both gave me a new way of looking at my life so far and a new set of living circumstances to get excited about and inspired by. I’m not so sure I would have necessarily even made a record if I hadn’t moved to London, so it’s a big part of it.”
Song: I Was Born in a Marathon, Scarlett, Sister of Pearl, Brainwash yyrr Face, The Names, Endless Rhyth
Album: The Names