Barringtone take us on a virtual journey into the studio, as we discover the collective mind behind this explosion of sounds – ahead of their incredible, eclectic and dissonant debut album, ‘Bonanza Plan,’ out via Onomatopoeia, August 21.
Tell us a bit about the backstory to Barringtone, how did you all get together – which previous incarnations of bands did you all inhabit?
When I was in Clor we played with a band called Plugs at the Social nr Oxford St. and I watched Boomer play the drums in his wild and frenetic style and just really liked the energy it brought to all the tracks so after Clor ended I just called him up as asked if he fancied having a go at some stuff I had demo’d. We literally met up in a pub with our ex-bass player Connan, who neither of us had ever met, and we all hit it off immediately – later Connan moved to Jersey and so we convinced a friend who played drums in Cantaloupe (Aaron) to learn to play keyboard and bass for Barringtone.
Loving the album, very intricate, with lots of surprises, what were you aiming for in the studio? It moves from synths, guitars to atmospheric sounds of nature from birds and even crickets at times?
We recorded most of the album tracks as a three piece in one live take and then added some overdubs, extra guitars, keyboards etc and then I generally take it away and do some home production before we do the final mix. The atmos/ambience is purely there as an aesthetic flourish, I love it on recordings when there are extraneous sounds that make it into the mix and I wanted some obviously contrived additions, exotic sounds. I like that these natural sounds are clearly unnaturally introduced but retain all their evocative power – we can’t resist those sorts of stimuli.
The front-cover of the album, ‘Bonanza Plan’ is a palm tree? What’s the inspiration behind it?
Banana Palm – Bonanza Plan, an error that got past the AI that checks all our graphic design – naturally we decided to let it slide.
On the inner sleeve, there is a person with a bandage on their head, in the midst of the forest? Curiously we also found a green briefcase abandoned amongst the woods on the back cover. What’s it all about?
The briefcase was something I came across walking in dense woodland, it lay in the centre of a shallow depression, a strange artefact, I dared not open it and look inside. The photo of the figure with a ski mask pulled over it’s face is from a simple holiday snap – I cropped out all the normal, happy, smiling hiking family members on the left of frame that the ski-mask wearer was clowning for – change the context and everything is changed.
You have a new video for Foxes & Brimstone coming-up, what can we expect, can you share your inspiration for the track.
Another masterpiece of found footage I hope from all round audio-visual genius Chistopher Reeves – aka The Gasman who did ‘The New New‘ vid. The track itself is really just an attempt to capture, articulate, some kind of exuberant fever dream energy – we get carried away in the rehearsal room totally no rules and then the goal is to formulate a way of recreating whatever it was that excited us for posterity – that’s the process and Foxes was the result.
What would you say are your essential ingredients to the creation of any production?
When I see what I regard as effective ‘art’ of any kind, music, painting, writing whatever, the key thing that strikes me is the artist/musician/writer has produced something which is so direct and effective you forget that there was a difficult process involved and just think ‘Wow that’s so exciting and inspirational and look how simple it is! It’s so easy!’ of course that’s an illusion they have managed to pull off, usually through long, intense and arduous hours of working and editing etc so I guess the hope is to produce something new that gives the impression of having come into existence fully formed or maybe even always existed somehow, somewhere….so much so you can no longer imagine a world that did not contain it.
What are the themes in your music and sound?
Nature v’s nurture, rational v’s irrational, reality v ‘s simulation etc….dichotomies real and imagined.
The album is a dissonant yet carefully curated explosion of sounds. How do you all work together in the studio – to make this work?
We play our track live to the engineer/producer – in this case we were lucky because both Oli Bayston and Nick Howiantz are superb collaborators and musicians – and then we work ourselves into a frenzy until we hope we get the right aesthetic feel and just let it go!
Who are your strongest inspirations and influences?
Eno, Rundgren, Deerhoof, The Boredoms, Devo, Sparks.
What is your top lockdown survival strategy?
Obvs wear a mask! I play Table Tennis (on the kitchen table), bike rides, we play Scrabble and Chess and I treat myself to the finest IPA’s money can buy!
Any other artists we should be keeping an ear out for right now?
Wax Stag has a third album coming out at some point
The new Luke Vibert album as Amen Andrews hasn’t left my player
Looking forward to the Crack Cloud new album out soon