Get to Know the Talented Producer and DJ Barker

Today we’re looking forward to learning more about the Producer and DJ Barker as he joins us for this exclusive interview. As we delve into his journey into music, influences, signature sound, and approach towards music production, we discover more about his passionate creativity and motivated determination that continues to mark him out as a talent to watch within Electronic Music today. 


Hi Barker, how are you? 

Doing great! I’ve just had a new release come out with a lot more to come in the first half of 2024 and I’m coming up on a busy month of shows, which means a lot of creativity, crate digging, and listening to new music, which has always been a happy place for me.  


Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into music? 

I’ve been hugely involved in music for my entire life. My mother is a recording artist herself, as well as a concert pianist. My home was always filled with different sounds, which made it borderline impossible not to gain an appreciation early on. My older sister was also a very talented pianist and oboist, so it was basically a given that I would pick up music myself. Personally, I’m a classically trained saxophonist from the age of 11, and I actually started producing my own music, albeit nowhere near the Electronic space, when I was 18.  


Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and how would you say they have influenced your sound? 

In terms of influence within House culture, I take a lot of inspiration from artists like Matroda, Marco Lys, Dom Dolla (especially his more recent work) and Ron Carroll to name a few – but I also take influence from all sorts of genres of music. There are motifs and themes that come through so clearly and define different styles of music that can be reworked for House in almost any genre, which is one of the most beautiful parts of Electronic Music. It’s really the little things that these artists do that may not be noticed by a common audience that drive consistency and flow, like subtle elements within the groove of their tracks, the ability to differentiate and storytell within an arrangement with subtle percussion change, almost hidden counter-melodies that really push forward excitement in a mix, or the sounds they create from scratch that make their music so special. When I listen to artists push out new music, these are the types of things I like to listen for. 


Which of your tracks would you recommend to newcomers of your music? Is there one track that epitomizes your sound? 

To be honest, I like to keep my sound really versatile. Coming from a classically trained background, I believe that I can’t tell my whole story by sticking to a formula or trying to drive consistent elements in each track. Like anybody, the way I feel in any given period of my life dictates what I want to hear, and I try to listen to what my brain wants. My newest track, ‘Synchronize’, is a darker club track, but if you were to check out my other music like ‘Grace’, ‘Paranoia’, ‘Let Me See It’ and a lot of my upcoming work, you’d notice that the most common element in my music is to feature different sounds from where I take my inspiration. 


How would you describe your sound and style to someone who has yet to hear your music? What would you say makes your music stand out from others within Electronic Music? 

Describing my own music is kind of hard to do, but I think I would most describe myself as an artist who’s looking to storytell with my music. My style, while it is firmly rooted in Tech House construction and I truly love to feature crisp, grooves and dirty drops, my sound is less focused on these conventional elements and more focused on strong melodic leads and chord progressions that drive emotion, with a flair that is DEEPLY rooted in 2000s hip hop (my formative years). I think that in itself is a differentiator for me. 


What achievement in your career have you been most proud of? 

Making music is one of the most satisfying professions a person can have. Having the ability to speak through mediums that are not voice and can communicate more than words in many cases is something that I don’t take for granted and am proud of every day.  

It’s really difficult to pick a specific moment that I’m most proud of, but as a gay artist it’s always extremely special to be able to contribute to Pride and Pride celebrations, which I have had the honor of being able to do in my career, with a feature at Chicago Pride in 2023. I hope to continue being able to support and elevate my community throughout my career. 


Can you walk us through your approach to creating a new track?  

I tend to start with melodies, and to be honest if you heard the voice notes in my phone, you’d think I was absolutely insane. Things pop into my head at shows, walking around the city, or even sitting at home and if I don’t have access to technology where I can get it down in the DAW, I sing it to myself, so I don’t forget it. A solid melody will carry a track unlike anything else, and the best music that I can think of is all because of how much the melodies resonate with me. From there it’s fitting a beat and groove that will do that melody justice, and then building additional elements on top of that. 


What is your usual workflow and creative process? 

I try to capture the basic elements of a melody that I want to feature first, and from there it’s a lot of step sequencing and trial and error with the basics of the arrangement. From there, I usually take quite a few listens through to see if what I have is something that I think merits additional work and try to think about all the things I might add to arrive at something that would catch my own ear and make me dance.  

In a conversation I had with Spencer Brown, he actually changed my mind quite a bit in how I built my tracks, which has led to me adding almost everything I think might work first, and then deleting things until I feel the arrangement is clean and satisfying. From there, it’s a lot of fx and tweaks to the elements to give the arrangement the body it needs, followed by the nitty gritty mixing.  


Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself that might surprise fans? 

I love ducks. My Instagram For You page is absolutely filled with them. I even have a separate Instagram that is not for any DJ or music, just so that I can ensure the algorithm captures only cute duck content.  


How do you craft your live sets? How do you create such memorable and engaging experiences for your audiences? 

Live sets are all about context and reading the room. I go in with a general expectation of how a night is going to go based on preliminary research of venues, talking with other DJs who have played the space, and a good knowledge of what kind of story I’d like to tell from an energy perspective. From there, it all goes out the window based on the crowd and the flow of the evening, but the consistent element that runs through my mind is how to keep each track building on top of each other in a particular direction vs mixing tracks I like or are popular together. Trusting your audience is one of the biggest things I can recommend to any DJ who wants to make their live shows memorable. They will join you on the journey if you are confident in your direction.  


Looking ahead, what can fans expect from you? Can you share with us any specific goals in mind that you are hoping to achieve in the future? 

I’ve been telling everybody around me that I’d like to release 12 tracks in 2024 – one for each month. That, at a baseline, is what to expect from me. I’d also love to expand my reach as a live performer and be able to engage with audiences in more spaces, but I have learned to be patient and allow my music to carry my story and my opportunities. There are a lot of things in the works that I think will be surprising and I am really excited about all the things that I can’t mention yet that are in the works for 2024 and beyond. What I can ensure is that fans can continue to expect my sound to evolve and grow, and that no two live sets of mine will ever sound the same. 


From our conversation, Barker’s drive and passion appear clear; motivated in his pursuit to continue bringing his sound to audiences, both through his striking productions and energetic live performances, this is a Producer and DJ whose path is sure to lead him to sit amongst some of the top talents on the scene. So, be sure to keep an eye on him by following him across social media. 


Barker Online  

Instagram | Spotify   


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