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Baths' Will Wiesenfeld Talks Jockstraps & Shares His Favorite Tracks of 2017

Photography: Roger Erickson

The OUT100 nominee released his new album Romaplasm last month.

You can't indulge in a soothing, luxurious bath for a month. That would be ridiculous. What you can do, though, is indulge in the soothing, luxurious (and long-awaited) sounds of the new Baths album, Romaplasm. That's what we've been doing since its release in November and there are no pruned fingers to speak of.

With musician Will Wiesenfeld's latest album under the Baths moniker, he emerged from a four-year gap after his last album Obsidion with a newfound creative energy and a new outlook on life, or at least on jockstrap parties, but we'll get to that.

Related | OUT100 2017

As Wiesenfeld reflects back on a year that saw the release of his new Baths album, the release of music under his ambient dance project Geotic, and his inclusion in this year's OUT100 honorees, he's also navigated life in Los Angeles and looked towards the new year. To celebrate our collective survival this year and his album release, we caught up with the musician to talk about baths versus showers, DILF parties, and then had him put together his favorite tracks of the year. Listen to them below.

OUT: How does it feel to have your new album out in the world?

Baths: It's like taking a big breath of fresh air. It's always such a massive buildup so when you actually put it out, it's great but it's this immediate sense of relief that you can start focusing on other things now. I'm in a good place now that it's out.

It was also a really long, four-year build up for this one.

Yeah, which is good and bad. It's fun because the hype is there but it's also an inordinate amount of pressure on it.

Why did it take four years?

I think it was a slower recovery process for me after touring the last record. It took a lot to make the last record in the first place and touring it was great but really exhausting--playing such negative material so constantly for such a long time. Touring in general is such a grueling thing so after all of that, coming back to L.A. was a lot of resituating myself and getting back onto a normal schedule so I could feel like I have a normal life again. It just took longer than I thought it would to start feeling creative and inspired again. Now where I'm at, I constantly feel that way and I'm working on a ton of stuff all the time. It's really different right now.

I've talked to other artists about this but, in our Instagram-heavy world and the 24-hours news cycle, it feels like we've got to be creating something all the time.

[Laughs] Yeah, and there is that added pressure around the question of whether it's even worth paying attention to if it doesn't have some political edge. I feel like my stuff isn't particularly political--it might be skewed that way just because I'm a gay person. It's just this thing. There's added pressure in all art all the time now, which is a very different realm to make art in.

It's definitely a very political climate. Do you feel that you've got to put out more content more often now?

I do but it's less that for me and more for monetary reasons. Things like Spotify exist and it's harder to make money in a normal way anymore through just putting out music, so I have to put out music more often so I can play shows more often and have more things going on so my name is out in the world.

When I first started doing music with my debut album Cerulean, it seemed like I didn't have to deal with that kind of thinking and process, but it seems like the only way to have this as a career is to just be really committed to making music and putting out music. There are bands that get super, super lucky with a gigantic hit and then they can coast for a while, which would be amazing, but I don't think I make music that caters to that experience. I've just got to keep working and keep enjoying it.

Yeah, definitely. With your recent single "Out," you satirize the process of getting ready to go out to the club. What is your actual going-out routine?

I think it's pretty simple, which was the irony of the video. My actual going-out routine is as complicated as my daily going-out routine, which is making sure my face looks good and putting on some Aveeno shit. Maybe checking my hair in the mirror. I dress, for the most party, really simply. I have decent t-shirts and I'm wearing shorts or pants. It's very simple.

The only thing is... I'm going to go in on something here for a second. There's this club night in L.A. and I don't think it started recently but I've only become aware of it recently. It's called DILF. It's an older dude jockstrap party. That's an extremely new realm for me to do anything like that. I went once and it turned out to be this really liberating experience for me.

Did you wear a jock strap?

I thought it was required and I was so curious about going that I did the whole thing of going to a place to buy a jockstrap and then heading out to the thing. I wasn't sure if I should have it on underneath my stuff before I go in and all that because it was all a little awkward. Now I've gone a number of times and really enjoy it so the only additional thing that'll happen in my going-out routine is maybe I'll put a jockstrap on underneath what I'm wearing--other than that it's pretty normal. [Laughs]

At this party, you can just wear normal clothes?

Yeah! There are a number of people there dressed totally normal. That was one of the funniest things about that first night because I was like, oh fuck I spent the money on this jockstrap. The magic of it was that because I did it that first time, I fell into the liberation of it all. I think if I'd gone in clothes the first time, I may never have bridged that gap. That's the only thing I do that at, though. I rarely go to anything that crazy.

The funniest part is that I don't drink or do drugs or anything so it's a very different experience for me because I just have a water bottle and that's it. Someone told me that the look of having a water bottle at an event like that gives off the impression that you're on drugs. They said that it's a very Molly thing.

How did it feel to get included in this year's OUT100 list?

It's crazy. Reading through the list and seeing who else is on there gives me the strangest sense of validation, if that makes sense. I' super proud of what I've been doing in my life and the music I've been making, but it's very much its own thing. I don't see it as this special thing it's just how my life works. It's my career and job so seeing something like that, it lets me indulge in the thing for what it is for other people. My parents freaked out about it and last week we went to Barnes and Noble and bought four copies of the issue. We were super into it.

Are you parents your biggest supporters?

Yes! It's ridiculous. From the very, very beginning they've always been on board with my music.

I'm sure they're going to love hearing about your jockstrap.

[Laughs] I mean, they're chill. It'll be okay.

Looking back on 2017, what were the best and worst moments of the year for you?

The worst thing was Trump. That's just very obviously the worst. The best was just being in the world again with music. It feels really good to be in the conversation again and be able to play shows and be on that level because being as retreated as I was for two years, I felt I was missing out on a lot. Even if that wasn't really true, there was that vague atmosphere in my life where I felt that I wasn't part of the music world anymore, so having music out in the world felt great. Honestly, the other thing though was the DILF parties. My teen queer self would never imagine me doing anything like that so it's another very big stepping stone in my life.

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