August 19, 2014 by sshhoobbmmxxbblloogg
BARLI Interview. 18th July 2014.
London soul starlet BARLI has been creating waves since the release of her first track “Pebbles”, ahead of her debut E.P due out soon. IDOL was lucky enough to grab her for an interview ahead of the release.
1. Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m BARLI, I am an artist from London. I sign and I write songs, and i make things. I work in a collective of writers and producers and musicians, and I’ve just finished my first EP.
2. Musically, “Pebbles” has the air of Warp Records about it, specifically Boards of Canada or Aphex Twin’s more ambient work. Is that your own tastes permeating the track, or an influence coming from working with Ton Epoch?
I am really into artists like AIR, Aphex Twin, anything thats experimental, kind of soundscape-y, dream like. There’s a definite sense of mood and vibe when we are producing, we actually spend a lot of time with our eyes closed when we are in the studio (laughs). Just feeling, making sure things feel right. We start sessions by talking about whats going on, at we’ve been up to, what music we have been listening to, from Gil Scott-Heron, to classical music… I really like Michael Nyman. I love listening to interesting soundtracks; it’s about creating interesting moods and feeling, rather than just a sound, if you know what i mean…?
3. You list Gil Scott-Heron and Nina Simone as influences, but vocally you deliver something that is quite unique. Do you consciously take elements from your favourites and fit them to your voice, or is it a happy accident that you deliver such original vocals?
I think we are all products of things we’ve grown up listening to, a lot of the time, when you’re an artist you get a vocabulary of notes from what you listen to, and also a vocabulary of tone, like how you get words from what you read, and where you live and how your parents talk to you.
Everything I put into my lyrics, is a melting pot, it’s all intertwined by a million things I have been influenced by, it could be… I mean, it’s very hard to pin point a specific artist or style that you love to death, I usually see it a mixture of all the things I love, sometimes things I am not even aware of, maybe even music I have heard that I haven’t particularly liked.
I always name Nina Simone as massive influence though, because of the honesty of what she says and the pure strength of her voice. That’s definitely something I aspire to.
4. There has been a rise in soul / jazz / rhythm and blues singers recently, in part due to the influx of talent shows on television etc. For an artist not from that background, due you feel pressure to tailor your music to a more mainstream, sterilised vibe? Or would you rather let your vision ride out unaltered?
I don’t feel any pressure. I do music because I love it, that’s because it’s what I do. Some people like to draw, some people sculpt, and I just love to make music and write. I know a lot of other singers DO feel like they have a calling to be like, Britney or whatever. I make music, because I like being around the people I make music with, and I love the freedom that I can be anywhere in the world and have a universal language with someone. All i’ve wanted to do with this EP is connect and experiment with what I’ve learnt as a musician so far.
5. The track has a woozy, summery vibe coursing through it. Is your music (ie – the rest of the EP) going to be cinematic and widescreen in sound, or do you have a range of sonic palettes you’ve worked with?
It’s kind of a picture of inside my head, different moments I have loved, and different moments in my life that have been soul destroying, relationships and events, y’know? It’s like a therapy, it’s out and you can move on. It IS cinematic, as it’s like a soundtrack to the last four or five years of my life. The cinematic element, yeah that will definitely come through as being a soundtrack to my own life.
6. What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I think I am going to maybe do some live shows in London towards the end of the year. I might do a show in Berlin too.
7. Are there any collaborations in the offing with other artists, be it on their work or your own?
No, I’m not at all. Maybe next year, I am scouting around and seeing what is around. but at the moment, it’s just an intro me. Collaborations will happen later I’m sure.
8. We (as a blog) love to champion unknown artists as well as breaking new tracks. Who is currently rocking your world musically, that we haven’t come across yet?
I’m really loving HUNTAR right now and also really enjoying the work that Sylvan Esso is putting out.