London-based Barli is making waves with her stunning vocals and minimal electronic beats. Together with songwriting partner and producer Ton Epoch, she released her critically acclaimed debut E.P. Pebbles in 2014. Aesthetica speaks to Barli to find out more about her influences, songwriting process and future plans.
A: Your music has been described as hypnotic, downtempo and minimalist, almost cinematic at times. How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard it before?
B: It is the soundtrack to the hazy, dusky pink purple moments in the small hours of the morning that follow the best nights. Honest, unashamed and made with love.
A: How does your collaboration with musician/producer Ton Epoch work? What is your song writing process?
B: It involves noise and silence in equal measure. Ton’s playing is incredibly inspiring for me as a writer. We are a band as well as individual artists and the collaboration that is Barli music is the result of mutual respect. We talk, we listen, we experiment, we drink tea, we talk some more, then we sit in silence, then we record. Sometimes we just play – he the piano, I sing whatever I’m feeling and we record it. The song Vex happened that way, very easy and natural.
A: Who or what are your greatest inspirations and influences?
B: Gil Scott-Heron, conversations, really deep multi-tone sunsets, Micachu, and Janet Jackson.
A: Your lyrics have a real sense of depth and honesty. Do you think lyric writing has become something of a lost art in contemporary music?
B: I think in contemporary music there is too much control from people who are not songwriters or even music lovers, which is why it has been lost in certain pockets but luckily there are many different parts of contemporary music where song writing thrives and continues to inspire as it should. I definitely know which pocket I want to sit in! Being accomplished in an art form means more to me than mainstream success. It takes a while to realise that and surrounding myself with people who understand, respect and strive for that too is my key to happiness. It is all I ever respected and have been touched by growing up. I have no interest in dumbing down.
A: How do you define success?
B: Living life as you want to with genuine love, freedom and happiness.
A: Studio or live – which do you prefer and why?
B: Both, for different reasons. Studio because the gift of being able to create something from nothing everyday that lives forever is such an indescribable feeling, like an audio diary that strangers read over and over again and empathize with. Live because it is the reward after months alone in your own head. Seeing people’s reactions at our first show, having strangers singing your songs along with you is very special.
A: What’s next for Barli?
B: I have very exciting collaborations with some artists I really admire. We have a headline show at St Pancras Old Church in London on 8th October and we hope to see you there.
Discover Barli’s music at www.clashmusic.com.
Follow us on Twitter @AestheticaMag for the latest news in contemporary art and culture.
1. BARLI. Courtesy of the artist and Jakub Koziel.