Let’s meet Gari Baylis from Sugar Junkies today. They are a great band and have love towards their fans and sympathisers. In their ripened age they have a different ways of life and different view on it. But honesty, decency and respect and openness with understanding seem to be among their virtues. So, have a peek into their mind and heart, especially Gari’s.
And while you are at it, listen to their song “Star” – it’s a good one!
Music Authentic: Welcome to Music Authentic. We have listened to each other’s art for a while, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, ideas and creating a memento for your fans and sympathisers here. Let’s begin with our “site-traditional” question: How did you sleep last night?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): Very well, thank you for asking!
Music Authentic: How hard is it with the everyday? Artists are insecure by nature and they are one the most heavily affected by the new – and hopefully just temporary – way of life.
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): I suffer from major anxiety issues so very seldom go out. The new world that has evolved around me has changed my way of life very little. I feel enormously sorry for the everyday person but I have had year of training for lockdown myself lol.
Music Authentic: Do you think it will be even more challenging to stay as an authentic, sincere artist, musician as the world is still just closing on, seemingly endlessly?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): It’s hard to say. But most good music seems to be born through hardship. Whether it be politically, lost love of any kind or just plain loneliness. So maybe just may be an upside might be some great music… I’m ever the optimist.
Music Authentic: The whole world is changing rapidly, societies collapse, the UK finally sees what unwillingness and arrogance combined with neglect and ignorance can result. Do you think the clashes will come.
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): I think almost certainly major unrest will come to the U.K, we have already seen some. But I don’t believe that unrest will be limited to the U.K, it will be globally and most likely see the end to what is call Western Civilisation. Every dog has its day.
Music Authentic: Are your song influenced by the events around you, in your country?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): As the Sugar Junkies we tend to try and stick away from politics and the everyday. Because we have been friends for well over 50 years we stick to using life experiences as our influence…..we have plenty of them to use lol.
Music Authentic: Here is a question I don’t usually ask: what is your songwriting process?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): We don’t really have a set processes as such. Because all 3 of us write things can happen in many different ways. One might write the music while another writes the lyrics. Or sometime we all just throw stuff in the mixing pot and see what falls out. Other time one of use will bring a complete song to the table.
Music Authentic: “Faceless” is your most popular song on Spotify with a sanzonesque singing. It would actually perfectly fit into a musical or a series. Is this your best song?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): It’s strange how things turn out and Faceless is a great example of how keeping things simple can sometimes work the best. Our original debut single was meant to be Star but I was unfortunately called out to South Africa for 2 months on a family crisis, so recording came to a stop. While I was away I was messing about in GarageBand on my IPad and started to write what would eventually become Faceless. I’m not sure it’s our best work but I guess you can’t fly in the face of public opinion can ya.
Music Authentic: “Face In The Mirror” or “Little Junkie” or “1971”?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): This ones an easy question for me to answer. I sing on 2 of the track and I’m really not a big fan of my voice so 1971 would have to by my personal favourite
Music Authentic: Your song “Star” is quite an empowering song. Do you like conveying positivity on stage, too?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): Due to my health issues we no longer play live, which is a real shame as it’s such great fun. If we did though, we would definitely try to convey positive thoughts and ideas. We try to do that with our music.
Music Authentic: Where do you usually gain strength during these changing and challenging times?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): Through family, friendships and music. Three things that ultimately are the most important things in our lives.
Music Authentic: Where do you see yourself in a few years from now on?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): Musically we don’t have a major game plan. For starters 2 of us are in our mid 50’s so the golden ticket of a record deal has probably passed us by lol. We are happy to continue making music for as long as people want to listen. It’s been a great ride so far and we have made so many great friends like yourself along the way.
Music Authentic: Thank you, I’m happy to get to know you more. To be honest, I think age means really nothing and well, “the golden ticket” might not (and should not) be the next “idol” in the system but we have tremendous ways to reach out and ease and transform others’ life. As you say, you are not teenagers anymore. Does this affect your concerts, rehearsals and musicmanship?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): I think our age effects our musical content for sure. Our lyrics are much deeper in meaning than they where say 20 years ago. I think it would be far to say our loose 80’s sound is due to our age to… it certainly wasn’t intended lol.
Music Authentic: Is it hard to sell yourself and be your on merchant as an indie?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): Great question and one I’m sure most people would answer yes to. But for us it’s not that hard. We came into this not really knowing how far it would go and thanks to people like yourself it’s gone way further than we would have ever expect. Keeping in mind we don’t play live, I think we do ok.
Music Authentic: I like keeping this playful question up lately: Would you rather live in the Earth in 20 years or be the part of the first Mars colony?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): For me Mars would be ideal but I’ll be 75 in 20 years time and I’m pretty sure they would be looking for someone young enough to survive the trip ?
Music Authentic: Lately, there is a debate whether to create singles frequently over a concept album. In which side are you on?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): Another great question. We planned originally to make an album which would have been semi conceptual due to the story telling within it. But we wanted to get something out to see if people liked it first. Since then we have just released singles. It does create a steady flow of interest in an artist. Which is ideal for us.
(the interview contionues below the picture, so be brave and read on!)
Music Authentic: OK, so, still have some fun: If you had a chance to play a superhero character in a movie or a series, whom would you choose?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): Ha ha. I think I’d go for Iron Man, he’s the kinda rockstar superhero.
Music Authentic: What things would be the greatest achievements for you through your art?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): I think by just having people listen to your music is the greatest achievement any artist can want. To know someone appreciates what you are doing.
Music Authentic: Which artist do you recommend to listen to from the past or the contemporary era and why?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): Wow, that’s a biggie. As an artist I take influence from so many places and listen to a really wide variety of genres. It’s also not always about the actual songwriter and performer, but also the production methods used to create the final work. To that end I find it more interesting to listen to indie artist these day. There are some fantastic people about creating music on a very low budget. So I’d recommend moving away from the mainstream and going in search of lesser known artist. Your website is a fantastic place to start.
Music Authentic: In many movies lately the UK is split and divided – with incompetent or overreaching governments. Do you feel these are more of predictions or warnings?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): Again, we don’t really do politics as musicians, our job is to take our listeners away from the everyday. Governments rise and governments fall it’s always been that way and I very much doubt it will ever change.
Music Authentic: The golden era of British pop, rock and innovative alternative is over. The ones remained are dinosaurs mostly living in the USA or being heard less. Are you satisfied with the “talents” brought up by the money-making industry?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): Who said the golden age of British Pop n Rock is over lol. It’s not over, it’s just taking a very well deserved rest lol. The U.K. lead the way for a very long time but nothing lasts forever and things have to change. Am I happy with the new money grabbing industry that has evolved, no. But let’s be honest the industry has always revolved around money. I think that’s why again I listen to more and more independent artist.
Music Authentic: Nowadays computers, algorithms are taking over everyone and everything – music is not an exception either. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are at our doors. Do you think artists and musicians will be replaced deemed to be obsolete?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): I’d like to think that would never happen and I’d like to think it would be impossible for a machine to have the same sole as an artist. But the world is changing fast. My television already knows what I’d like to watch before I do and my handheld devices can remember everything I’ve done in the last 10 years……which is a lot better than I can do. So may be one day computers will write complete works, but I don’t ever think artist will be deemed completely obsolete.
Music Authentic: Whose story had a great effect on your life?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): When ya get to our age you’ve read a lot of stories, so a lot of people have influenced the person you become. Azz and I have been friends since 1968 so while not written down, his story has influenced my story more than anybody else’s. The lyrics to our track Star are based on that.
Music Authentic: WOW, that’s really a long history – and you’ve had to live through the history of tremendous changes ultimately shaping this world to a better version. Now, let me ask: Have you ever used your stage as a platform to help out others?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): Over the years we have done our fair share charity and benefit concerts. But I’d like to think it goes deeper than that and perhaps our music has helped individuals on a more personal level.
Music Authentic: What are the hardest challenges in society these days?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): I think the hardest challenge for everyone these days is to keep a level head and keep your eye on what is truly important in life. Unfortunately we live in a world that is still full of discrimination of all kinds. As a global family we need to work on putting those discriminations to rest without violence and without creating more discrimination.
Music Authentic: You might have more free time now than you’d ever wanted… what do you like doing?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): Obviously, writing music takes up most of my spare time and I also like to paint. I recently became a grandfather to, so spending time with my granddaughter is top of the list for me now.
Music Authentic: Thank you for being here with us. As the last question, what is your message to encourage others?
Gari Baylis (Sugar Junkies): Take guidance from others but never let them change who you are. Your destiny is yours alone.