EXCLUSIVE: Meet Cool Thing Record’s BAIT & Listen to New Track ‘Selfie’

The faces of BAIT members Michael (right) & Luke (left) might look familiar to you – especially if you’re a fan of Asylums but the sounds they channel via their latest musical project are unrecognisable. BAIT are an urgent, visceral, dominant collective of Southend-based musicians who have been quietly simmering in the Cool Thing Records studio, writing and recording a debut album. Michael Webster has stepped away from his bass and in to the spotlight, and Asylums’ frontman Luke has taken a step back to support his friend as he fronts this brave new endeavour.

BAIT are still a bit of a mystery to us, so we caught up with Michael and Luke to find out what, and who is the driving force behind this elusive creation. Read what they had to say below, and have an exclusive listen of their latest track ‘Selfie’.

Who are BAIT?

Michael Webster – Vocals / Guitar / Songs
Luke Branch – Bass
M R E – Synthesizer / Production
Jim Webster – Drums

Luke & Michael, why did you decide to swap roles and make a record under another name?

Michael: I was going through a dry writing spell when Luke and I started working together in Asylums. Luke already had a huge arsenal of great songs, and it was exciting to be able to help him develop them into what would become the first Asylums’ record. Luke’s prolific song-writing inspired me to begin writing again, and we naturally began developing my ideas too. I’ve found that each project fuels the other in an organic way that I haven’t experienced before. 

Luke: When Michael and I started working on my songs for Asylums in late 2013, I genuinely felt very grateful to him. I remember that  show of faith he had in me very clearly, and then as the other boys (Jazz and Henry) came into the picture; that faith intensified and remained as  we launched the band and our record label (Cool Thing Records). BAIT was an opportunity for me to say thank you, and return that faith and experiment as a musician in a supporting role; playing bass, helping with arrangements, and being a sounding board for ideas. Everyone in Asylums and BAIT are long term friends, and it’s really added to the community spirit around Cool Thing.

Was it hard to juggle multiple music projects and your commitments at Cool Thing Records?

Michael: Being a part of Cool Thing allows me to step into other band’s worlds. Music is my passion; and being part of the development process, seeing how individuals work differently has always been interesting to me… it’s never a chore. Balance is a factor, but you make time for the things you enjoy. Luke and I – along with the rest of the Cool Thing team – have a very good understanding of this by sharing the load.

Luke: Not as difficult as you might think. For me being creative is an everyday necessity to feel happy, when you commit yourself to that lifestyle it’s important to have some variety. Working with BAIT, Becky Margaret, Suspects, The Horse Heads, and Petty Phase in recent months has allowed me to enjoy participating in music projects from a variety of angles. As a result, when I work on music or visual ideas for Asylums with the other boys, there is no sense of fatigue; only joy.

What did you learn about each other during the process of making this record?

Michael: Luke projects positivity like no other. He has taught me to always see the good in everything and everyone, which is an important factor when working with others. Together we coined the phrase “It’s always yes until its no” which has stuck as kind of motto to block out the negative vibes! Finally, Luke is a much better guitarist than me!

Luke: Mike makes me laugh! I really enjoyed watching him craft humour and rage into these songs lyrically, we have very different styles as writers, so I think I gained some perspective from being so close to his process. I think I’ve also gained a better understanding of what creative practice can look like from being in this supporting role, the incubation of ideas and the selection of compelling work. Also, Mike said he likes my bass playing, and that’s really nice because I think he is one of the best bassists out there.

Is there a theme to this album?

Michael: It’s an amplified version of myself. Fear, humour, and determination make an appearance.

Luke: Being an artist is for life, not just for Christmas.

What do the other members of BAIT contribute?

Michael: The other members of BAIT are a solid backbone and absolute professionals. Jim (drums) is my twin brother, and we have a unique musical connection. He also just so happens to be the complete drumming machine, which is handy. M R E brings a production value that gives BAIT it’s very own sound. I feel that M R E brings a class and tastefulness which really sets this debut record aside and makes it a Futuristic Post Punk Classic.

If you want to see what BAIT are all about, make sure you head down to their album launch party at Southend’s Railway Hotel on March 18th  (event details here).

Huge thanks to Michael & Luke for answering our questions. Follow Cool Thing Records on Facebook for more BAIT updates.

Photo Credit: Kana Waiwaiku

Kate Crudgington

Kate Crudgington

Kate Crudgington

Assistant Editor for Gigslutz (2015-2017) Now Co-Founder, Co-Host & Features Editor for @getinherears