'A Day At The Disco'
A recent expat to Germany, BARTON recreates the retro-heavy dance rhythms and strong vocals of European techno in his newest release, ‘Lessons Learned’. Already making waves on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart, “On The Beach” is the first single from the new album.
A shimmering pop dance track permeated by thoughtful lyrics, “On The Beach” is a sentimental love song disguised behind BARTON’s repetitious, get-down worthy electronic disco beats.
The new album is a dazzling collection of some of BARTON’s best Billboard charted songs, sure to keep dance floors rockin’ all night long.
Exclusive Magazine recently hooked up with BARTON to learn a little more about the new album and the breakout single, “On The Beach”.
Your music has a clear dance, throw-back euro techno style. Who were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? "I have a really strong connection to classic disco. Music from Cerrone, Giorgio Moroder, Love & Kisses, Peter Brown, Macho, Voyage and Boris Midney shaped my views of arrangement. Of course, I still listen to music and modern influences for me are artists like Robyn, Florence & The Machine, Goldfrapp, and Gabriel & Dresden, for me, are the evolution of the same sound. Also, having recently moved to Germany, I am listening to artists there, like 2RaumWohnung (2 bedroom apartment)."
You just finished up the newest album "Lessons Learned", which dropped in September. For those who may be unfamiliar with BARTON, how would you describe the sound and style of your music? "It’s primarily a pop album, done in an electronic disco style."
The first single from the new album was released in August and is currently available on iTunes. Tell us a little about the new single "On the Beach" "'On The Beach' is about the trajectory love places us on, the thrill of emotion and energy when we have identified another we want to love and for whom we would move mountains. It is also about energy in the universe that makes us want to love. The preamble, for me, is the key to the song:
In this world I keep on wondering,
I know there's got to be a something,
Makes us want to search the world for happiness.
I know the thing that keeps it turning,
Are the things for which we're yearning.
Who exactly is the driving force behind BARTON? How did you meet one another and begin collaborating as a musical group? "That would be me. I work collaboratively with others, but the work is me. I tried making BARTON a group awhile back but this was really more me trying to be inclusive, and I found over time that I can do that without forming a fixed structure with others. The driving force is the convergence of moving life experiences and a desire to create sonic environments worthy of the stories I want to tell."
For all of us computer geeks out there, you've got to tell us what equipment you're running on and why? "I work with a Mac using Logic and use a number of Native Instrument software synths. I have an external HUI that is effectively a virtual mixer that helps me get the sounds balanced the way I like. I have a Roland MKS-80 because I love the bass sound it makes, but everything else is pretty much software - I studied wave synthesis, so with these tools, I can make pretty much any sound I can imagine. Also, I use a Neumann microphone and drawmer valve compressor - that helps me get really clean, detailed vocals."
Where can fans see BARTON play a live set? What can they expect from a BARTON show? "I am working on it. I’m a natural performer, and they should expect to see performance art, which is not the same thing as theatrics. My presentation provokes and the focus of every aspect of the show is aligned to convey something of the meaning of the song. The stage is a platform for creating something larger than life in order to move people. People should expect to be emotionally moved."
How easy or hard is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderments and accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "That is a really great question. It is hard to produce a great song. Even if you are lucky enough to be able to write good lyrics, or have some gifts with melody so that you can write songs, production is so much more than that. There is so much detail that goes into producing one song, let alone a range of mixes that are required in today’s market."
"But one key, at least for me, is to treat the process as something that is still primarily and expression of art - that is, I make it first for myself - I have to be happy with it. And I am very particular when it comes to music, so I have to work hard to create a song I like."
Electronic music can sometimes be rather ambiguous. Where do you find inspiration in creating the beats and lyrics it takes to build the intricate rhythms and ambient sounds of BARTON? "Well, I always approach it from a pop / disco perspective, so that gives me a certain structure that some more experimental electronic music might not want. For me, however, I love the challenge of creating an arrangement within that structure. And I am always surprised and engrossed at the way the production takes on its own character and life. My job as an artist is to bring the song to life."
"Symphonic music and disco are strong references in my musical themes, and as for rhythm, I love syncopation, brazilian percussion, and experimental rhythmic sounds. A lot of the process is trying things based on an inspiration I hear in my head and doing my best to realize that. It never comes out exactly the way I imagine it, but I always know when it sounds right."
"On the Beach" has appeared on several different music charts, including the Billboard Breakout - Hot Dance Club Play Chart. As an independent artist, do you feel that "Lessons Learned", including the single "On the Beach" is your breakout album as an artist? "I have seen things slowly building for several years now. Releasing LESSONS LEARNED is definitely an important step for me, as it puts several of the songs I have had on Billboard on one album: TONIGHT, TAKE ME UP, TO CALL MY OWN, DON’T STOP, and now ON THE BEACH."
"I love making music and getting the music out there is a lot more important to me than being famous. It is very gratifying to connect with an audience and as I continue to make music, I connect with more people through my music. Quality, not quantity is how I judge the success. When people write a simple comment, like “beautiful song”, that means more to me than anything because I was able to bring someone to a place where they connected with a sense of beauty."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today and why? "I tend to be very obscure, so one song I would love to cover is Blondie’s “Angels on the Balcony”, but few people know that, so it would not make a lot of sense except for me. But more generally, Yazoo’s “Nobody’s Diary” or Berlin’s “Riding on the Metro” are songs that have amazing melodies and the kind of stories in their lyrics that make my hair stand on end. It is all about bringing people, including myself, to a place where emotions spill up over the edge and remind us that we feel things, that we care about certain people and that life offers a lot of magic if one cares to see it."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins, do you? "I do love penguins, both the bird, and operating system they represent."
For more info on BARTON, check him out on the web!
Interviewed by: Erin M. Stranyak
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