Julien Baker wanted to create a special playlist for us, something different from the norm. "For Running In The Woods" compiles a family of tracks, seeping with introspection, emotion, and a meditative undertone.
The Nashville singer/songwriter recently released her third album, Little Oblivions, and is set to launch a massive US & worldwide tour, beginning this September and continuing into 2022. Read on to learn more about the new album, touring, and Julien’s road essentials during travel.
Listen to the playlist on your next trail run, or simply put it on while not moving at all, we think it’ll move you regardless. Thank you, Julien.
Tell us a bit about what inspired you to choose these songs for the playlist:
I really enjoy trail running, I have found that listening to music while I run or hike, especially through nature instead of in a neighborhood, allows me to connect in a very special, attentive way—not only with sound but with myself in general. I chose these songs because they are ones that make me feel introspective and focused; most of them are instrumental, because I find that sometimes it is helpful for me to listen to music with few or no lyrics as a blank palette for me to process my thoughts, or alternatively, to try to clear my mind of the constant onslaught of concerns and anxieties. The lyrics that are present on the playlist are simple, few, sometimes indiscernible. With songs like these, I find myself engaging with, and inhabiting feelings without rushing to name them or express them verbally. When I can do that, I find I am much more able to have perspective, to ground myself in the present instead of the very literal feelings or events described in a more lyrically-heavy song. These are my songs to think to, zone out to, ruminate and let go to.
You played nearly all the instruments on Little Oblivions. Did you have to learn anything new?
People always talk about me playing all the instruments, which is true—mostly—Calvin Lauber added some keys and drum riffs and a guitar track or two in production. But it isn't as if I'm a virtuoso at all these things. I can barely play drums. I'm minimally competent at bass, I don't really even think of myself as a 'guitarist' or a 'pianist'. I guess in a sense it is more as if I'm always learning new things about the instruments I play no matter where my skill level is, and in the meantime trying to work with my limitations and be as creative as I can with the abilities I do have.
What are you most looking forward to for your upcoming (massive!) tour?
What I'm most looking forward to is playing with a full band—it's been a really long time since I've played in a proper band, excluding boygenius, and I'm really excited to have that collective performance experience again instead of just performing alone.
Road essentials: what are a few things you can't travel without?
Aeropress - such a compact, quick, and easy way to make a single serving coffee. That sounds like an infomercial but I'm serious—so much better than making gross instant Nescafé or using a big dressing room carafe and burning the beans. Such a simple item that improves quality of touring/traveling life so much.
Leatherman Multi Tool - imo everyone should carry a multi tool. Never a bad thing to have around, always helpful—especially to make little repairs on gear and stuff, or when you need a ruler, pliers, wirecutters, whatever. Big fan of utility.
I like to pack light, and that means saving space is always a plus. If I have time to go explore a city or go on a hike/run and I don't want to bring my entire backpack with all my luggage in it, I can throw a book, a water bottle, a sketchbook, whatever in a little backpack for the day. It doesn't take up the space of a completely separate bag (which is really helpful on tours with a lot of fly dates too—that way I don't have to pay for an extra bag just to have it you know).