With their City of Women EP dropping at the end of the month, Barbarian reconciles characteristics of love and hate in the video debut for "Song of Love and Hate". The San Diego band of Andrew Mills explores the love and hate sides of the same coin that pertain to the development of personality over the course of time. "I never want to grow old, no I never want to change I always want to stay the same person that you have grown, to love, to hate". Today's coast side outting finds the psych and surf from their previous debut of "Daze of Youth" mature into a statement of steadfast individuality.
Opening with mouths wide open, and beginning from the beaches; Mills takes the new Barbarian tracks from the rocky shores to performance sessions along with urban gatherings of lovers, haters and everyone else in between. From the soundboards to the breakers, Mills scours the thin line of opposites from the unstable cliff points where mounds of earth pour into the endless Pacific sea. The song's self-made docu-journal presents Barbarian soaking up Southern California vibes in a series of moving black and white snap-shots to remind you that their aim remains the same despite any distance or time. Playing off the old adage that "a watched pot never boils," complicated feelings are exchanged for anticipatory excitement only for the most patient lonely hearts. "If you're waiting for me back home, sure to make a fast train seem so slow."
Andrew Mills talked with us about the about the video's blending of band gear and beaches, Barbarian's numerous influences, passions, and a behind the scenes peak look at the EP.
Tell us about bringing sites of the Southwest coast.
The video was shot on Sunset Cliffs which is a place pretty close to our house where I am fortunate enough to explore and chase crabs on a regular basis. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California and on gloomy overcast days I feel it brings a sense of timelessness to my mind that helps me escape our overly stimulated digital lives. You have to take time to stop and smell the bird shit and salty air…and roses, if readily available.
Images of all your gear also play a big factor in the video.
As for gear, I love anything that can transcend the moment; so there's tons of different delays, reverbs and some loops here and there. A common thread between band members is using a pretty pure amp like a Fender Deluxe Reverb or Orange amp and then using pedals to explore sonic capabilities and build interesting soundscapes. I love albums where you can't exactly tell what instrument is being played, like a guitar that sounds like an organ or a synth that sounds like an oboe. For me, those are the records that keep a constant rotation on my turntable. A great example of this is the last Grinderman album, Grinderman 2; Warren Ellis warps instruments in a way that intrigues the ears and keeps you coming back hypnotized for answers as to, "what the fuck is going on in my brain now." Eargasm from post-sonic acid trip. Josh Homme and his gang are great at this and I think it definitely bled off into Arctic Monkeys 'Humbug' which I feel is their album with the greatest breadth.
Sharing a lineage to the classic Leonard Cohen album of the same name, how has his music affected the work of Barbarian? Also, how do the polarities and relationships of love and hate work within the band's approach to songwriting and song craft?
Leonard Cohen. Nick Cave, Serge Gainsbourg, Jarvis Cocker and Leonard Cohen are my four favorite song writers of all time. They have the enticing ability to be both eloquent and grotesque within four measures of music. I've come to the sad realization that I will probably never be as good as these guys but I can definitely learn a lot about songwriting and try to rip them off as much as possible. More than anything 'Song of Love and Hate,' as a title, fit with the lyrics of the song and is meant to be an homage to one of my favorite artists and favorite albums of all time. I try to sneak in a bit of pop culture and big ups to my favorite things in life; whether it be a woman I loved or a movie I love. Another song on the EP is "Night on Earth" which is a Jim Jarmusch film. The song has nothing to do with the movie but the title fit perfectly with the lyrics and mood of the music.
Can you spill us some words on the approach to recording the upcoming EP?
On recording the EP. I try to write every song on an acoustic instrument such as a guitar or piano, so that it can stand alone as a song and not lean on distortion or reverb to make it work. I do this only so that if we get asked by MTV to do an Unplugged we will be prepared. That's my conundrum, I want to be a sad bastard like Nick Cave crooning over my piano but I also love the dynamic of being in a band…I think the band thing is more fun and a lot less lonely ha, ha I'm sad bastard enough. Anyways, I will demo out songs on my computer at home, get courage to show the rest of the guys and we will see which songs make the cut. Then we just hash it out in our rehearsal space and arrange the mess into a song. Then when we feel it's ready we'll start playing it live, fuck it up and look like idiots, play it another ten thousand times (because we're broke and studio time is expensive) and make sure we pull it off as live as we can in the studio. Sometimes Jay Z or Kanye will stop by and say what up and put in their 2 cents, but other than that it's pretty normal. Signed, sealed, delivered. Repeat.