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Oct. 23, 2022

Interview with Barny Fletcher

We had the pleasure of interviewing Barny Fletcher over Zoom video!

London artist Barny Fletcher has released his new mixtape, JETPACK!

Barny Fletcher has seen a meteoric rise since his debut, garnering support from BBC's Radio 1, Australia's...

We had the pleasure of interviewing Barny Fletcher over Zoom video!

London artist Barny Fletcher has released his new mixtape, JETPACK!

Barny Fletcher has seen a meteoric rise since his debut, garnering support from BBC's Radio 1, Australia's Triple J, and features everywhere from a collaboration on the latest DJ Shadow album, a Euro 2020 fashion design campaign with Umbro, as well as inclusion on the soundtrack for Michaela Coel's HBO series I May Destroy You. Today's new single comes on the heels of previous track "Backstroke," which landed on Spotify's New Music Friday and has already racked up 250K Spotify plays since its release last month. Barny first started teasing the forthcoming JETPACK mixtape late last year with "Breakfast at Isabel's," which featured a playful video co-directed by Barny himself, and then followed with track "90s Baby" this summer.

A budding pop prodigy with undeniable charisma, Barny Fletcher first debuted in 2019 with singles "Christ Flow" and "Blu Skyes," which set the stage for his hotly-tipped debut project, CANVAS2033, and its follow-up, BOZO. The releases sparked support from BBC Radio 1 on their 'Introducing Playlist,' leading to a prestigious performance slot at the BBC Introducing Stage at Radio 1 Big Weekend. He has also played a sold out London headline show as well as festival appearances at Lollapalooza Paris, Reading & Leeds, and The Great Escape.

Growing up in a small Somerset, UK village to a photographer father, filmmaker mother, and very little else to occupy his hyperactive nature other than an eclectic record collection, Barny delved into the catalogs of artists such as The Kinks, Eminem, Bob Dylan, and Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, a chaotic fusion that still influences him today. Getting his start uploading weekly tracks to SoundCloud, Barny's sound has evolved into a kaleidoscopic mix of hip-hop, R&B, pop, and disco, alongside a distinct lyrical take on the absurdity of the everyday. He has landed on Spotify's NMF UK playlist 7 times, has seen Front Left, Our Generation, and Free Form (including the cover!) Spotify placements, as well as on Apple Music's New Music Daily. Outside of music, Barny enjoys developing his fashion brand 'Verlimont,' a passion project of which he enjoys sourcing quality materials and even hand-applying finishing touches himself.

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Hello! It is Adam. Welcome back to Bringing it Backwards, a podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we hung out with Barney Fletcher over Zoom video. Barney was raised in a small village and Somerset just outside of London, or I guess not really, just outside of London, but in the uk. And he talks about how he got into music, comes from a creative household. His father is a photographer, his mom's a filmmaker, but music was always in the house. His parents encouraged him and his brother to take part in trumpet lessons or piano lessons. In college, his two best friends were playing music in a band. 4 (2m 9s): They needed a singer. So Barney joined that band and they played in that band. There were an indie sounding band. Did that for their years in college. After college, Barney took a gap year where he booked a ticket from London to Los Angeles and then six months later from New York to London and just kind of had to fill in the six months. How is he gonna get to LA to New York? And then back home, we hear that story. When he got back, he started to put some time into writing the music he has out today where he would find different beats on YouTube and write different songs to those beats. He talked about putting out his first couple mix tapes, how Covid affected his career, cuz he was really on an uptick through 2019 into 2020. 4 (2m 56s): And then obviously Rug pulled out from under him. So he talks about that, how he got his momentum back, the power of TikTok for his song Backstroke, and all about his new mix tape and how he kind of went back to his roots on this mix tape by again finding beats and using beats off of YouTube. Again, you can watch our interview with Barney on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It would be awesome if you subscribe to our channel, like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok at Bringing back Pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify, Apple Music, Google podcast, it'd be awesome if you follow us there as well and hook us up with a five star review. 5 (3m 40s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts, 4 (3m 46s): We're bringing it backwards with Barney Fletcher. What's going on Barney? How are 6 (3m 51s): You? Oh yeah, I'm good. How are you doing man? You good? 4 (3m 53s): Yeah, I'm doing well. I'm doing well. I appreciate you doing this today. Thank you so much. 6 (3m 56s): Oh, thank you. Thank you very much. Oh, your mic is so crisp and clear. We 4 (4m 1s): Have the same mic, 6 (4m 3s): So damn 4 (4m 5s): Well thank you. So I'm Adam and this podcast is about you and your journey in music. And we'll talk about how you got to where you are now. 6 (4m 14s): Okay, let's do it. Let's, 4 (4m 16s): First off, talk to me about where were you, where were you born and raised? 6 (4m 20s): I was born, I was born up in London, here in North Northwest London. And, but I grew up in, in Somerset, down with my mom in the countryside with my mom and my brother. So yeah, it was quite like a, it's very rural. I dunno if you know, heard of some, 4 (4m 37s): I'm so bad at it. It's stuff, 6 (4m 41s): It's sheep, it's cows. Wow. I don't know, culture-wise, there's not like, as a young person growing up there, it's not the most stimulating place to be, put it that way. But I feel like I appreciate it. Like looking back, like when I go back, I appreciate it more now. It's quite like an idyllic scenery to grow up and you know, you got like rolling hills and, I don't know, it's nice, but when you're a young person there, it's not the greatest place to grow up, I don't think. 4 (5m 6s): Okay. Small. It's a, you said it's like a small village or what? Small 6 (5m 9s): Town. Yeah, it's like, it's like a, well summer sets a county, but yeah, I grew up in a small village with, within there, so yeah, it's just a, i, I don't know how, what, where I'd compare it to in America, it's, it's just a very rural, rural part of town. Like, you don't get like artists, like big artists like drop by or anything like that. It's, it's nothing like that, but 4 (5m 30s): Okay. Yeah. But like, like when you're going to school and stuff is you have very small classes or is like, or did you go to a outside, to a bigger school? 6 (5m 40s): No, not necessarily, but, cause there's lots of people do live there, but it's, it's, it's no London. 4 (5m 47s): Okay, gotcha. You 6 (5m 48s): Just gotta, Yeah, no, no, no. School was cool. Like, there, there was a good range of people there cuz I mean, lots of people like moved to, there was a, like, you'd probably split the groups up into like, like you're not an American like films house. Like you got like the jocks, the da da da. 4 (6m 4s): Oh sure. 6 (6m 4s): Like in England it would be like, well in Somerset it's like you've got the farmers, the farmer, the farmer children are always like, they come in in their glas, they're always the first that drive cause they've been like driving tractor since they were like 10 or three, probably three. And, and then, but yeah, I don't know. There's like, there's like a mix of, there's a mix of everyone there you got. Yeah, no, it's, it is a good place. It is a good place to grow up. But when you're actually a young person there, like in the moment you're like, 4 (6m 34s): Oh sure. 6 (6m 34s): Well for me anyway, I was just like, damn, so much more is going on in, in, in the city. So yeah. How 4 (6m 40s): Far away is the city from where you live? 6 (6m 42s): On the train it's probably about like two and a half hours, which 4 (6m 48s): Is Oh wow, so close. 6 (6m 50s): Well, yeah, for, yeah. I mean for England that's like quite a long wait. Right. I know in America you get on, like you get in a car for like six hours and you're in the same state still. So 4 (7m 0s): You, if you're in California, it's like you can get it in the car for 11 hours and you'll still be in the same state. 6 (7m 5s): Right? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. 4 (7m 8s): Wow. Okay, So, well, I mean, that's far. So you weren't like getting on the train and going into the city quite like very often? 6 (7m 14s): Oh, no, no, no, no, no. My, my dad always lived up here, so I'd come on and see him. Me and my brother would come up and see him fairly often. But yeah, no, we wouldn't, wouldn't come up here all too much. 4 (7m 26s): Okay. You come from, from what I read, a pretty creative household though, correct? Yeah. Musically 6 (7m 36s): Filmy. Yeah. Nothing like, no industry like music, but no, surrounded by music and kind of encouraged to do music from like a young age. Even if it was just like a one off like trumpet lesson or like a one off drum lesson. It was just, just so we could try it, you know what I mean? Oh, that's cool. And I always thought that was really cool, like looking back 4 (7m 58s): Encouraged it sounds like. 6 (7m 60s): Yeah, and just always just like lots of just good music in the house. I think. I mean, mainly grew up on the Beatles, like that was like the one main thing I remember. But I remember seeing like CDs for all sorts of like, I dunno, like lots of French music, lots of jazz, even bath and stuff like having like an m I remember seeing the m and m curtain cool CD as like a, I don't know how old I must've been, but, but looking back on it, it's like, oh it's pretty cool that like my parents had that in, in the house, so. Sure. Yeah. Nice. Yeah. No it's, but yeah, very mu, very musicy kind of arty kind of family environment I think. 4 (8m 38s): What about you? You've mentioned a trumpet lesson, like a wonder, but like, what was the first instrument that you kind of were 1 (8m 45s): Comcast business, the network that powers more businesses than any other provider. 2 (8m 51s): Find out how to get a $500 prepaid card with a qualifying gig bundle. Call or go online today to learn more prepaid card offerings. 11, 13, 20 22 restriction supply call for details. 1 (8m 60s): Why does Comcast business power more businesses than any other provider? It has technology solutions that put you ahead, like the fastest, reliable network and serious savings. Whether your small business is starting or growing, you need Comcast business. Comcast business powering possibilities. 2 (9m 15s): Ask about Comcast business internet or find out how to get a $500 prepaid card with a qualifying gig bundle. Call or go online today to learn more. Prepaid card offer ends 11, 13, 20 22. Restrictions apply. Call for details. 1 (9m 30s): Comcast business, the network that powers more businesses than any other provider. 2 (9m 37s): Find out how to get a $500 prepaid card with a qualifying gig bundle. Call or go online today to learn more prepaid card offerings. 11, 13, 20 22. Restriction supply call for details. 6 (9m 47s): Well, at the very first would've probably been something like the recorder. I feel like in England has like a, like a recorder lesson. 4 (9m 53s): Oh yeah. Here in the states too. I think in like first grade, like they put you on the recorder for like 10 minutes, let you go home with it. 6 (10m 1s): That's the real deal. 4 (10m 2s): That's the, Oh yeah. Some hot cross buns or you know, something like that. Yeah, 6 (10m 5s): Exactly. No, it's probably like piano lessons or something. Nothing I, nothing I, I never took any of the music lessons to like, you know, when you do grades, I think it's the same. Is it same in America? Like you do, like you grade one piano, grade two. 4 (10m 20s): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. 6 (10m 22s): You never continued with it? I, I never took anything that far, but no, I can, I can, I can play a bit of piano in a little bit of enough to like write a song with kind of thing, so yeah. 4 (10m 32s): Okay. I see a guitar behind you. Do you play guitar? 6 (10m 35s): Yeah, sometimes at the moment, not, I've not because, I dunno, just working on, so I guess so many like beats and stuff sent to me, instrumentals beats from people that are much better than me. So I'm just like, sometimes I'll, sometimes I get the old dust of the old guitar and get it down. But yeah, not all too often. 4 (10m 55s): When did you start writing songs? 6 (11m 1s): I'd say I first properly started writing songs when I was in, in college cuz I was in a, a band in college with my, with, with three of my best friends. And we, we started a band or I actually joined them and as like the lead singer stood there with a guitar even I could play not very well. And, and yeah, that's when I started like properly actually writing songs to be performed. But no, I remember writing just crappy little songs much, much before then. Like probably when I was, I don't know, like 12 or 13 or something, but none of which I could sit down and be like, oh yeah, this is, I was no like child prodigy or anything. 6 (11m 48s): This, 4 (11m 50s): But you started in a band, you, you played in a band in college? Yeah, 6 (11m 53s): I played in a band in college. And 4 (11m 56s): How long were you in the band and how, how, how 6 (11m 59s): I was, we were, so yeah, for, for the US listeners in England College is high school, is that correct? 4 (12m 7s): It's like the last two years of high school. I think it's the, 6 (12m 9s): So 4 (12m 10s): Like when you're like 6, 16, 17, 18 right. Ish, 6 (12m 14s): Right? Yes. So college here is like, you do college, then you go to university. 4 (12m 17s): University, yeah. So college is like the basic, I think it's the end of high school here, like your junior and senior year considered college there. 6 (12m 26s): So yeah, so essentially it was, it was the two years we went in, we were in college and yeah, we just, it was really fun. Like it was, it was, it was mainly like college gigs and stuff, so it was always in local kind of pubs or little venues. Like there's one in, there's a city called Bristol, which is like the biggest city near, near in Somerset. Near Somerset. So yeah, I mean, yeah, we did a bit of that and it was really fun. I mean it's just really fun kind of just hopping in the car with like with your best friends and gonna play a show. I looked what 4 (13m 1s): It sound. Yeah, yeah. 6 (13m 2s): It was quite like, it was like indie, it was like indie rock stuff really. Cuz I didn't listen to any indie rock at the time. And all my friends, those guys were all into like arctic monkeys and all that stuff. So when I was writing songs I was definitely, I was writing songs to fit the band aesthetically 4 (13m 21s): Sure. 6 (13m 22s): Kinda thing. So in that sense it was an interesting exercise for me cause I was like, well I don't listen to this music, but I was, I'm still writing for it and performing it anyway. So that was cool. But no, yeah, it was, yeah, in indie, indie, indie rock, I'd probably categorize it as But 4 (13m 37s): But you, cuz you obviously, were you listening to more hiphop and rb? 6 (13m 42s): Yeah, I mean probably at that point I was, yeah I was, yeah. At that point I was listening to pretty much, yeah. All hiphop and yeah, hiphop and like Bob Dylan and the Beatles are probably like the Oh, interesting. Those are like the two, like Bob Dylan, the Beatles are the two kind of like ones which I kind of always dipping and out of. But yeah, that's been from the start. But yeah, hip hop, I mean it started off with, cause my brother was a huge Drake fan from like very early on. Okay, so 4 (14m 12s): To grassy days. 6 (14m 13s): No, not that, Not that. I'm just kidding. Wheelchair Jimmy? No, not that early, But, but as, as things go like pretty early on, so, Okay. Yeah, so I don't know. Listen to that chance to wrap all the early kind of odd future stuff. I'll sweatshirt. Yeah, that's, that's that kind of got me into, I remember going like DPI trying to find, it was quite funny cuz it was always like my brother's artist that he found was Drake and I was like, yeah, I'm gonna find, I'm gonna find my own artist that I think is gonna blow up. And I remember scrolling through like dpi, that mix tape website, just like trying to find an artist I thought was gonna like pop off so I could be like, Yo, I found this guy. 6 (15m 1s): I don't think I ever found one. I think, wait. Yeah, no I don't think I ever did, but yeah. 4 (15m 7s): That's funny. But you were, obviously your brother was in hip-hop as well. When do you start like writing your own like, songs that are outside of the band as far as like the more what you're doing now, rap songs? 6 (15m 19s): Yeah. Outside of the band was pretty much after I, after I left, after we left college, after everyone kind of split up to do like a kind of gap here. I think all of us actually did a gap year. Yeah. So I went off to, I had booked two plane tickets, one from London to LA and then one from New York back to London six months later. And I had no idea how I was gonna fill the time in between 4 (15m 48s): How you were gonna get to LA all the way across 6 (15m 50s): Yeah. In New York. So I had, I just turned 18 and yeah, I was just like, I'm just gonna go out to LA do something out there. And kind of the, the initial plan was to go up up the west coast and then into Canada. I'm a Canadian citizen as well. I've got the, the passport and everything. 4 (16m 8s): How did you get Yeah, where it's 6 (16m 10s): Like, it's like my grand, my granddad's a Canadian, my grandma's, it's, it's something like that. I've never really questioned it to be. I'm just like, 4 (16m 16s): You're just going with 6 (16m 17s): It. Yeah. I mean I've, I've never lived there or anything but yeah, just the dual citizenship. Love it. That's 4 (16m 23s): Cool. Love it. Okay, so that the idea was flying to LA do stuff or try to kind of get something done there and then just slowly work your way up to Canada pretty 6 (16m 31s): Much and then kind of go down into 4 (16m 34s): New York and Yeah. Eventually make it to New York. 6 (16m 36s): It was very vague but that's where, that's why I was so excited about it. Cause I was like, I can do anything in the six months. Like I, so, but now I ended up, I ended up going to LA and I was actually, I was doing, there's a thing called Workaway. I was working in a hostel in West Adams because with this thing work away, essentially you work in return for free accommodation. Right. So it meant I didn't have to pay any accommodation costs and I could stay. 4 (17m 5s): So you had a spot to stay and Yeah. Okay, gotcha. 6 (17m 8s): In return for like, I think I did like three hours helping with breakfast in the morning. Cause it's, I was working at 4 (17m 13s): Hostel. That's pretty good gig. 6 (17m 16s): You got like a free bed there, da da da. It's pretty good. And there's no, like, you don't need a visa cause it's volunteering, There's no money exchanged. So it's, so yeah, I did that and then I was there, did all the touristy stuff and like the first month there and I was like, cool, cool, cool. And then I started writing some music out there and meeting just some, yeah, just some cool characters that would come through to the hostel play beats, da da da. I don't know, there was like a, Yeah. Did some recording. 4 (17m 42s): Was the, was the idea to go out to LA to pursue music? 6 (17m 48s): Oh no, no, no, no, no, no. Oh, 4 (17m 49s): It was just like, hey, I'm gonna go check it 6 (17m 51s): Out. No, no, not at all. Yeah. Went out there then went up to San Francisco on the coach, which took like seven hours. Still easily. Still in California. 4 (18m 2s): Yeah. Right 6 (18m 3s): In then. And then I was in a hostel there, which I didn't like as much cause we had to wear like a uniform and I was like, oh, this is weird. Felt too serious. 4 (18m 12s): Interesting. Well, did you get to get to from LA to San Francisco? Was that like the train or did you kinda work your 6 (18m 18s): Way out? I took, I took, I took the coach, so I went straight up overnight. Okay. And then I met some people there and they were like, We're going back down to la and I was like, Yo. And it was my friend, my, I freed him, my guy Phil, an Irish guy and a German. Sounds like the beginning of a joke, but literally, yeah, we rented a car and then went down, traveled all the way down route one, back to LA again. Okay. And yeah, it was really fun. And then I was, then I was back there. I was like, yeah. 4 (18m 44s): Back. Were you back there to like, when you meet these people, was it to go back to pursue music or is it just like, Hey, I met these guys and like, now I have a little crew of friends. Let's go back to la 6 (18m 55s): Yeah, it, it, it was a bit of, it was a bit of both to be honest. I think I just, I just liked being there and I felt like there was still a lot I hadn't kind of tapped into in la so. Okay. Yeah. So I dunno. I was just back there then. Yeah, my girlfriend came out to visit for like a week and then it kind of like, just time passed pretty much. And then I was there for like four months or something. And then I, then I just, 4 (19m 17s): Now you have two months to get across the country. 6 (19m 19s): Yeah. Then I, I flew to Canada. My brother was studying Toronto at the time, so I, I lived there a bit. And then, yeah, and then I saw, saw some family families stuff around there last, last few days down to New York. Bam. Fly home. And then I came back and I was like, damn, that was like my gap here. Or like six months, whatever. And, and I started and I knew I enjoyed making music. So I started writing on top of beats I found on YouTube. And I started a project where essentially I would drop a song every Friday on SoundCloud and I'd get my friend to do the artwork for it. 6 (20m 3s): My friend Henry, who's great like art. And yeah, he would do the front cover and I'd, I'd make the song and then put it up on SoundCloud and yeah, it was just like a, I did that for like about, I think, I don't know, about 10 or 11 weeks or something. 1 (20m 18s): Why does Comcast business power more businesses than any other provider? It has technology solutions that put you ahead, like the fastest, reliable network and serious savings. Whether you're small business is starting or growing, you need Comcast business. Comcast business powering possibilities. 2 (20m 33s): Ask about Comcast business internet or find out how to get a $500 prepaid card with a qualifying gig bundle. Call or go online today to learn more. Prepaid card offer ends 11, 13, 20 22 restrictions apply. Call for details 7 (20m 48s): When you shop at a Walmart vision center. You get it. You know that you'll spend a little less on stylish glasses for the whole family. Welcome 8 (20m 55s): To the Vision center. Let me know if you need help finding the perfect frames. 9 (20m 59s): Hey mom, you were right. These glasses are 10 (21m 1s): Cool hun. They take our insurance. That means papa's getting a new pair too. 11 (21m 6s): Whoa. Glasses start at just $39. Next stop groceries 7 (21m 11s): So you can get a little more of what you need. Find a vision center near you. Save money, live better Walmart. When you shop at a Walmart vision center, you get it. You know that you'll spend a little less on stylish glasses for the whole family. Welcome 8 (21m 25s): To the Vision Center. Let me know if you need help finding the perfect frame. 9 (21m 29s): Hey mom, you were right. These glasses are 10 (21m 32s): Cool, huh? They take our insurance. That means papa's getting a new pair too. 11 (21m 36s): Whoa. Glasses start at just $39. Next stop groceries 7 (21m 41s): So you can get a little more of what you need. Find a vision center near you. Save money, live better. Walmart 6 (21m 48s): And 4 (21m 49s): Every, So you put about Okay. So every single, 6 (21m 51s): Every single Friday. Yeah, every single Friday. Yeah. And then was 4 (21m 54s): There a moment during that time that one of the songs did like, popped off a little bit? Or like how did you continue just moving forward? I mean, after a certain amount of time, were you getting kind of burnt out on it or did it, like, was there some little victories? 6 (22m 9s): That was the main victory is where I got my foot into the door within the music world was, it was the last, the last one of those songs which I made one of the Friday songs, it was called Game Over. And, and yeah, I just, I made a video for it as well. I think it was around Christmas time. I got my dad to film it. My, Yeah. And I was literally just walking down the street, wrapping this song. I got my brother to edit the video cause he's great at editing. And yeah, I just put it up in it. I mean, it didn't blow up in a sense of like viral. It wasn't like no one was using TikTok and stuff like, and I don't know, I don't even know if it was called TikTok then. 6 (22m 49s): But yeah, like I put that up and, and that just got like a bunch of, that was in 2018 I think. So that I just got a bunch of like industry attention aspo. It was 4 (22m 60s): That on like, Like via what? YouTube or something? 6 (23m 2s): It was on YouTube. I was posting up on like, on like Facebook forum, like street wear Facebook forums. I was in Reddit threads or I was just kind of just posting it everywhere really. And then, yeah, like the vi Yeah, I essentially from that I had a bunch of like managements and labels hit me up. 4 (23m 21s): Oh wow. So 6 (23m 22s): Yeah. And then that 4 (23m 24s): Must have been exciting. You're like, you know, Oh 6 (23m 27s): Yeah, no, yeah, it, it was crazy. 4 (23m 28s): You know, 10 weeks or whatever you said 11 weeks and finally the last one kind of does something and it's okay. I am on the right path. 6 (23m 35s): Yeah, no, it was pretty exciting. And it was, and at that point as well, that was the first time cause I came back from America and I, that was when I was living, I was now living in London cause I didn't go back to living in Somerset. So I'd come out of college in Somerset in the countryside, Gone on the gap here and then come back from that to London. To London. So, so I'd only been here for a little bit and it's like, and I think that's why it was hard as well to, to get like lots of streams on those Friday songs, which I was posting. Cause I didn't really have like, I don't know, I didn't really have a network of friends up here at all who were like into hiphop and stuff like that. And yeah, so I was really kinda just posting it into the ether. 6 (24m 16s): And I had friends back home who were like sharing it and stuff. But I think it's different when you've got like the city behind you from like the get go kind of thing. So, But yeah, no, got a bunch of interest from that last one. And, and yeah, then I chose like a, I knew the first step was to like, choose a management as opposed to a label. And then, yeah, 4 (24m 36s): And then you get this and then you sign with the management company. And then are you, you you perform out or in London at all? Or is it mainly just going back to the 6 (24m 44s): Well, so yeah, so, so yeah, so I, I, I joined the management and yeah, then, then it was straight into like, sessions. Sessions on sessions, on sessions. And that's like, that's why I just learned, I learned so much through that because I'd never, that was just a completely new like environment circuit, whatever you wanna call it to me. And it's such like a, everyone knows everyone, you know, it always feels like there's only like one or two degrees of separation from anyone else within this little music kind of circle. Like, but yeah, no, that was, it was, it was just really cool. Like it was the first time I, I was like, damn, like this is the music. 6 (25m 25s): But this the, yeah, the musicy creation side of the music industry that I'm in, it's like you go to these studios and they've got like plaques up on the wall. It's like, damn. Like it was quite crazy to just be like dropped into that after just being at home, just recording in a bedroom setup. So yeah, so I was doing that. And then 4 (25m 46s): You put out your first album then what? The later next year, like 2019 6 (25m 51s): And at the start of, at the start of 2019, I put out publicly essentially I put out my first yeah. Mix tape at the start. And then I put another mix tape out at the end of 2019 and I did a bunch of like shows and stuff in between then. And yeah, it was like, it, it was, it was a good experience I think. I think as a new artist, like for for for most people, if they didn't know me from Somerset, like I launched as an artist in 2019. That's like when I came into the, into the game. So it's like, I think in like in retrospect looking back at C and stuff, it's like it get, it was probably like one of the worst times to to, to launch. 6 (26m 34s): Well, most 4 (26m 35s): Frustrating. I was gonna ask you about that. Yeah. Cuz you had two mix tapes out and you were probably on the, the rise and then well yeah, 6 (26m 41s): It 4 (26m 41s): Covid like yanks the rug out. 6 (26m 43s): Exactly. It's like, and I'm sure it's every, lots of other people have this kind of story as well, but it is just like, I got to the end of 2019, like, I don't know, you kind of feel like, you know, when you, you know, you're on like a wave, you're like, you kind of like, I was like, oh yeah, I'm kind of breaking into like a kind of running pace. And I was like, yeah, yeah, okay. I got things, like things lined up for next year, da da da da start of 2020, go out to, went out to LA writing sessions, went to like the Rock Nation Grammy brunch, see all these people like Beyonces there, Jay-Z. Were like, Yo, this is crazy. All this fly back to London and a week later it's just like, bam lockdown. It's like, whoa. It went from like sunny la music industry, da da da straight to like the polar opposite then. 6 (27m 28s): And then slowly it was like, oh, that's getting moved cuz c's around it, it's like, okay, cool. Covid might be around for like a another month or two. And then it is, then it just got more and more serious until it was just like, damn. Like yeah, it did. Definitely knocked the wind out of the sales, but also gave me a lot of time to write as well, which is like, yeah, were you able to positive, creative, but at the same time, like, yeah, I was. But yeah, I think, yeah, there's pros and cons to it though. 4 (27m 59s): How do you get the momentum back? Are you just still releasing songs even though it's, 6 (28m 3s): Well, yeah, so like I didn't really release much over that over that time. I think I released like two songs. I was, I was going into a deal with a label at the time with a, with a major label and I was like, and I kind of signed the deal when, when Covid was like, Oh, it's gonna be around for like two months. And I came out of the deal kind of months later when it was like, okay, 4 (28m 29s): This is gonna be years. 6 (28m 30s): Yeah, this is serious now. So it was kind of like, but I mean I came out of the deal very well, purely a knock on effect of Covid. So that left me in a, like a financial position anyway where I could be like, okay, I don't actually need to sign to anything else straight away. Like I've matched to kind of get off the hook here with like, I can actually be independent for a bit. But yeah, like it's just, it was just negotiating all that in the midst of Covid was just like, yeah, ridiculously long-winded and yeah, just a long process. But, but yeah, no, now like, yeah, no, I'm, I'm skip forward to 4 (29m 8s): Now. You gotta mix there coming on another one, 6 (29m 10s): Right? Yeah. So skip forward to the start of this year. Yeah, like I, so I had a, I'd written a bunch of stuff over Covid and then a label hit me up called Gwen Records independent label based in LA r and b hip-hop label. And they're actually one of the first guys to hit me up back when I dropped my first stuff in 2019. And I was like, okay. And then I had like a had like a Zoom call with them and it was all just like, and I just, I just really, I just really liked them. It was very like, they were, they were very un music industry like, but in like the best way, you know, I, I was so used to even even that the first Zoom I had with them, for example, it was like when I, I'm so used to like, oh, we got a call at like six 30 and it's like, okay, cool, you get on the Zoom whatever you get there and it's like, oh, sorry, we're gonna have to push it back like 20 minutes. 6 (30m 10s): It's like, oh sure, okay, okay, cool. And it's like, oh, sorry, it's still in the meeting, da da. There's, there's always kind of like 4 (30m 16s): Yeah, the bullshit surrounding Yeah, the fluff through it. 6 (30m 19s): And I was just like, I was so used to that. So like, with letting 4 (30m 22s): You know, you're not quite that important for them to stop. 6 (30m 24s): Yeah, there's, there's always that element and I was just like, damn. Like I'm still used to that. So with these, with with, with Gwen, when I had my first meeting with them, it was like at the call at six, I think it was 6:00 PM English time, get on the Zoom call and it's like, bam, like 14 of them, like all there. And, and from that point I was just like, yo, these guys like actually mean like, mean business, you know what I mean? 4 (30m 48s): Yeah. And they respect 6 (30m 49s): The time. Yeah, exactly. And they, and they're just, they're just all, all all really good people and I, I really like them. So, so yeah, so, so the point I'm at now is, yeah, bad to release a mix tape. I think the date on it's like October 19th and yeah, so this is all stuff I actually wrote towards the end of Covid. And these funny enough, are all on, it's quite hilarious. I do so many sessions with like, Tana did amazing musicians, but all of the songs on this tape are actually beats from YouTube from really almost like going back to the, when I first started. 4 (31m 28s): When you first started. Wow. 6 (31m 30s): Yeah. So, so they're all, all Beats I found on YouTube. Six out of the 10 of them are from this guy called mb wa who's this like great producer, I think he's based in America, I believe. I was just, you 4 (31m 43s): Reach out to him and just say, Hey man, like 6 (31m 45s): I'm a like, you buy, you buy the rights to them, you buy like the, you get all the stems and stuff. And then I write the song and then I take all the stems and I take the song and then I take it in. So then, then my guys that could slim typical, again, very talented like producer duo who work at Rudimental Studio down in Old Street. I just go there and we kind of take the song and kind of just, we've got all the stems to it and even though it's a YouTube beat, we can record it nicely. Tailor the, tailor the track. Like maybe like swap out a bass, change drums, da da da. Do you know what I mean? Just add, give it more character Yeah. And flavor and just kind of, yeah, make it so it just fits within my universe of songs as opposed to me just wrapping on top of an MP3 file, you know, so, 4 (32m 32s): Right. 6 (32m 33s): So yeah, that was the process and it was just like, I just really enjoyed doing it that way cuz it's just, it's just crazy like how much talent there is out. Like even on, on YouTube, I mean, there's lots of terrible stuff on there, but there's also tons of great stuff as well. And it's like, these are just like kids or whoever just like in their bedrooms, just like posting stuff up online. It's like, damn, some of these are better than producers I've actually worked with. And it's just, I don't know, it was just, it was just a fun way of doing it for me. I really enjoyed it. 4 (32m 59s): That's cool that you're, and then you're finding these people and then if your song does, you know, when it does really well, then people are like, Oh, who produced, you know, Barney's beat and then it's this person on YouTube and then they're getting exposure. I mean, it's just cool that it's kind of it's own little like, network outside of a bigger like gatekeeper, you know, industry that's has more of the gatekeepers on there. 6 (33m 22s): Yeah, yeah, yeah, most definitely. 4 (33m 24s): And I feel like that was cool. Like that's what TikTok kind of became too, right? I mean it was like these songs just popping off on outta nowhere and it's like, who is this person? Just some, you know, kid in his, you know, closet making this song or whatever. It's 10 billion streams. You're like, whoa, whoa. Like what happened here? 6 (33m 41s): Yeah, no, it is actually crazy. It's such a, it's such a crazy landscape at the moment for like, cause anything can really blow up and it's, it's pretty insane. It's almost like 4 (33m 51s): It is leveled. The, 6 (33m 52s): It can be, it can be one video where it changes your whole life. So it's just like, oh damn, I should be posting like every single day all the time. 4 (33m 60s): But hey, Yeah, well I love what you're doing man. It's, And then so Intergalactic is the newest really? 6 (34m 7s): That's the, that's, that's the newest one. We did a really cool video for it with my guy Nick Dennis off. He directed it. I actually met him at a, a show which I played at and he was just like, Yo, we need to do a video. So I was like, let's do a video. So we did a video. Looks really good. So yeah, intergalactic is the most recent one which came out before that. There was one called Backstroke, which came out four weeks beforehand I think. And that's streamed really well actually. That's been doing really good because of a TikTok actually knock on effect of a successful TikTok, which I posted. 4 (34m 42s): Oh, is that right? 6 (34m 43s): Yes sir. Yep. 7 (34m 45s): When you shop at a Walmart vision center, you get it, you know that you'll spend a little less on stylish glasses for the whole family. 8 (34m 51s): Welcome to the Vision Center. Let me know if you need help finding the perfect frame. 9 (34m 55s): Hey mom, you were right. These glasses are cool 10 (34m 58s): To, they take our insurance. That means papa's getting a new pair too. 11 (35m 3s): Whoa, glasses start at just $39. Next stop groceries 7 (35m 7s): So you can get a little more of what you need. Find a vision center near you. Save money, live better Walmart. When you shop at a Walmart vision center, you get it. You know that you'll spend a little less on stylish glasses for the whole family. Welcome 8 (35m 22s): To the Vision Center. Let me know if you need help finding the perfect frame. 9 (35m 25s): Hey mom, you were right. These glasses are 10 (35m 28s): Cool, huh? They take our insurance. That means papa's getting a new pair too. 11 (35m 33s): Whoa, glasses start at just $39. Next stop groceries 7 (35m 38s): So you can get a little more of what you need. Find a vision center near you. Save money, live better Walmart. When you shop at a Walmart vision center, you get it. You know that you'll spend a little less on stylish glasses for the whole family. Welcome 8 (35m 52s): To the Vision Center. Let me know if you need help finding the perfect frames. Hey 9 (35m 56s): Mom, you were right. These glasses are 10 (35m 58s): Cool, huh? They take our insurance. That means papa's getting a new pair too. 11 (36m 3s): Whoa, glasses start at just $39. Next stop groceries 7 (36m 8s): So you can get a little more of what you need. Find a vision center near you. Save money, live better Walmart. 4 (36m 15s): Okay, so what 6 (36m 16s): Was the TikTok was? I was like, I 4 (36m 22s): Like doing a backstroke in a pool or 6 (36m 24s): Something. No, no, no. I was like, it was, it was about ai so I was like, I played an AI 1000 hours of hiphop music and I got it to create its own hiphop song based on what it heard and on a hip play. And then it plays my song, it, it played backstroke. So like, it was kind of, to me it was very obvious that it wasn't like, cuz like AI can't do that shit right now, do you? I mean, right. 4 (36m 49s): But like you can cuss if you're trying. Oh yeah, 6 (36m 51s): Okay, okay. But like, but no, like, I don't know like it Well 4 (36m 56s): Isn't there an 6 (36m 56s): That did like three point, 4 (36m 58s): Didn't somebody sign an ai? I sort, I I I read 6 (37m 1s): About this. Yeah, I dunno, I dunno how good, like the actual, I dunno, it 4 (37m 6s): Was, was creating lyrics and its just insane. 6 (37m 9s): Maybe, maybe, maybe. But anyway, like I posted it, it did like, I think it's currently sitting at like 3.2 million views or something and it was just like, it, it's so like I, I honestly like watch it and I think it's so obvious that it's not like AI but I mean apparent. Well yeah, lots of the, it's the perfect kind of storm for like a viral video. You've got like people that are angry at the video, so they're commenting and sharing you're people that are like, this is like funny or cool or whatever and they just like the song and Yeah. And then there's people that just like the song. So it's like you got everyone kind of up in the comments like, Oh this is cool, like great marketing. Or they're saying, Oh my God, I can't believe AI can do this. 6 (37m 49s): Or there's, it's just like such a mix of like, everything had like a perfect amount of like controversy in there to like people making like response videos. Like there's this one kid who's like, Yo, this man is tricking you, da da. And then he like listed out like this whole like five minute videos. Like he's like 4 (38m 4s): Breaking down everything. I 6 (38m 6s): Was literally, yeah, I was literally like, cause in like the top thing said like this, it says like link in my bio for the song and like if you click on my actual profile it says, I didn't write no AI didn't write the song I did. Then it has the link and it's like, I don't know, I made it fairly obvious. And then all like the lead up videos which were linked, which got like lots of views as well. Were all just like, so obviously me taking the piss about the situation, but I don't know, there's always gonna be some people that slip through and were just like, Oh my God, you lied to us. And I was just like, it's not, that's just, just some marketing, you know, it's tick's a free app, Come on. Chill. 4 (38m 40s): Right? And that's a brilliant way to market it. And it's funny that you're like, all you had to do was just click on my, you know, click on the profile, right? It's like they couldn't take that extra step. It's like, I'm gonna spend five, you know, a 500 rant on this video instead of just clicking the guy's profile and being 6 (38m 56s): Like, literally like one, one of the videos at Austin, which I did from it, it was like, like, cause you know when you like video reply and then the video's in the comments section, like one of one of them was like, it was called like proof that AI wrote the song. So I'm, I'm like, look, here's proof that AI wrote the song and I just videoed me doing the exact same verse. It sounds exactly the same and people like, it's just like, just a stupid joke. They're like, but people are like, this sounds exactly the same as the ar No this is obviously you. And I'm like, yeah, that's the whole point. Like, I dunno, come on. Is that, But anyway, it did good for the song and yeah, I love that. I mean, what's crazy is that like, I think nowadays it's like I feel like the success of a song, it's like 10% of 10% or like maybe 20% is having good music. 6 (39m 43s): The other 80% is literally just like, it's just the marketing, it's getting it in front of people. Do you know what I mean? I, I honestly feel like, I don't know, it's, well 4 (39m 53s): If you, you don't have the song and you market it cuz think about how many songs go up on, you know, YouTube or not YouTube, but like even YouTube I guess, but like Spotify every day and in TikTok every day and how many of them actually do anything? You could have the best marketing plan ever and the song is still shit the bed. You know what I mean? 6 (40m 11s): I, I honestly feel like you can get people to listen to like in like if you marked it in like a, in like a clever, if you do it in a good way, which make people interested or like they're invested in this, I don't know. I don't, I don't, 4 (40m 22s): It's like to get them to come over to another app, you know, that's an extra step. Yeah. So 300 plus thousand people have gone, oh this is like cool enough to make me go over to Spotify and stream it or whatever. You know what I mean? Yeah. So there's that actual step that you have to get people to, to take that they're not gonna take if they're not invested in the song at all. This 6 (40m 42s): Is true, this is true. 4 (40m 43s): You know, it could be the worst song and it gets a bunch of views for the marketing, but yeah, they're not gonna go and like listen to it on their own time. 6 (40m 50s): Yeah, very true, very true. You know what I mean? I think, I mean also Spotify is like a massive, like if you get playlisted, like you can really, if you don't get Playlisted or do get Playlisted, you can tell the the, the dnce straight away. Like with backstroke we got like new music Friday like the the Big Boy us one and they got like another big playlist like that's only two playlists, which just didn't actually that crazy like move into galactic because that weren't as many pre saves on it. I was deciding to do the promo for that after it came out as opposed to before. Cause I was trying out both ways that didn't get new music for or anything like that. So it was like, I don't know, everything's so like algorithmically based. 6 (41m 32s): Oh yeah, there's like an algorithm on Spotify as well. There's like a popularity score, there's an artist score and if it goes above a certain number it's like it'll get pushed out into a wider bracket. It's, it's pretty crazy that this is what we have think about now as well. Yeah. Wow. It's pretty, it's pretty mad cuz I mean, yeah really you just wanna be making cool music and putting it out. But I mean, I mean I think marketing's always been important, but it's just weird now that it's kind of more, more calculated. 4 (42m 2s): Right. Yeah. 6 (42m 3s): Yeah. Strange. 4 (42m 4s): That's wild. So, well you, okay, so you have the mix tape coming out, you said it's what, 10 songs? 6 (42m 9s): 10 tracks? Yeah, yeah, yeah. 10 songs 4 (42m 12s): And of it so far 6 (42m 15s): I've got, yeah, three out of them. Yeah, three, Three. Three of them out so far. Yeah. I'm just gonna be rinsing TikTok because it's, I've only been on it for like two months and it's just doing, it does, it just does so well. So I'm just like, I think if you can find a cool way of doing it where you don't look back at yourself and cringe if you can find your like a good way of doing it. I think. I think cuz I was against it for so long, I was against it for like over, over like a year, two years. I was just like, not not against it, but I was just like, oh, I don't wanna have to do that. People to listen to my music. But it's been, it's been so powerful as a tool to yeah. 6 (42m 56s): Get it to New Ears and yeah, no, it's been great. So yeah, I'm gonna, yeah, be dropping the tape. Probably do a little party in London somewhere. Yeah. I'm just very excited to drop it. Very cool. So yeah, should be good. Should be good. Should be good. Awesome. 4 (43m 12s): Awesome man. Well I can't wait for you to, to get that thing out and I appreciate your time today bar, thank you so much. Thank you man for, for doing this. Appreciate you. Yeah. I have one more question before I let you go. I wanna know if you have any advice for aspiring artists. 6 (43m 29s): I'd say when, when you're starting off, I think take good people over a big lump sum of money because the money is definitely finite And I think when you're, when you're at the beginning of your like music journey, having like having people that believe in you is just so much more valuable to you as an artist than just get it like signing a deal than being one of like the hundreds that, I dunno, I'm trying to put it into, Yeah, that's what I'd say really. I think it's been so much more valuable to me having a team that actually like cares about stuff, cares about like the music knows the catalog and even if that makes, means taking like a, a smaller advance, it's just, that's just so much more valuable to me than just having like a big lump sum of money dropped into my account, which I then have to pay back anyway. 6 (44m 28s): It's like, so yeah. Don't too starry-eyed when a label like, yeah, when a label hits you up cuz they will, don't get too starry-eyed about it. Just be like, keep, keep a cool head and be like, are these people I wanna be working with?

Barny Fletcher


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