Special Interview: Danny Barwick

Aussie singer and songwriter Danny Barwick stops by for an special interview.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

I was nine years old at a folk music festival in WA watching a busking trio called The Chipolatas. One of them (Jasper) was simultaneously juggling three balls and an onion, taking bites out of the onion as it passed his face, telling fables. Another (Sam) was blonde and beautiful and balanced a snare drum on his chin while playing it. Another (Tristan) played accordion off to the side. I was hooked.

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

Everything. Movies, books, paintings, music, nature, cities, travel, people, video games, friends, strangers, stories.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

Honestly my biggest goal at the moment would be to live a fulfilling and creative life being of service to people, whatever form that wants to take.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

I’m working on an instrumental ambient album at the moment, I think it may be ready for release before the end of the year.

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

It’s been described as an album of adult lullabies. Or, by one imaginative friend, as audio fantasia. To me it’s a set of 10 short stories illuminated by gentle acoustic sounds.

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

Usually songs come out when I have a quiet zone, a laptop or piano, and a lot of solitude. I think space and boredom are crucial ingredients too.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?

I think, in my earlier releases, I may have hidden or obscured my meanings, potentially from fear of being too vulnerable. But in this record I feel I’ve made the song’s meanings as overt as possible. Although, I guess there could still be meanings that are also hidden to me…

Success, what is the secret to it?

Defining it for yourself, I’d say. Maybe even redefining it regularly. For me it’s different (more gentle, far less snazzy) than I originally thought.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

I met a wonderfully sensitive musician in Mexico and we shared our music with each other. A few months later, I received a message from her telling me that she had gone scuba diving for the first time and, while deep under the ocean, had begun to have a panic attack. She told me she soothed herself by humming one of my songs and that it worked – she came down from the anxiety. I’d say that’s my career highlight.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

Aldous Harding, Emiliana Torrini, Vince Mendoza, James Blake, Bjork, Bill Callahan, Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois.

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

Yep, always gestating new ideas. An ambient album is the next one.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself in a few years?

I’m really not sure, my future has proved very unpredictable lately, so I’ve stopped trying to predict it. I’d like to score a movie. Or work with poets. Or maybe do some more acting. We’ll see what happens.

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

My favourite part is making music with people I love. My least favourite part is navigating social media and self-promotion.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

Julien Wilson, Colin Hopkins, Stephen Magnusson, Luke Howard, Jonathan Zwartz, The Middle East.

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

Honestly it confuses me and I need help. Working with a publicist or getting advice from friends working in the industry is so crucial – I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own.

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

By making the best work I can.

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

Yes I do. I’m working on a piece right now with a poet from Ithaca. And there are so many dream collaborators. Arrangers like Vince Mendoza or Nico Muhly, singers like Julia Jacklin or Aldous Harding, instrumentalists like Arve Henriksen and Brad Mehldau, producers like Brian Eno or Rick Rubin, I could go on forever,

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

I think Rick Rubin put it best: ‘Make what you wish existed – the music you most want to hear.’

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

Feel free to message me on Instagram. I love hearing about how and where the music reaches people.

Any last words?

Yes, but they’re someone else’s: “What’s called creativity is an accident we learn to keep having.” (James Richardson)

Facebook: @dannybarwickmusic

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