An Interview with Monique Barry

Today, we are speaking with Monique Barry. Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?

I grew up in a very musical household.  My Dad is an excellent piano player, mainly a stride player and can play anything by ear.  We grew up with lots of sing-alongs around the piano both at home and at my grand parents house.  I started taking piano lessons when I was 7 years old and started studying voice in my teens.  My folks were willing to support a classical line of instruction so that’s what I took until I could fend for myself.  I now teach music so have all the classical levels in practical piano and theory/history but spend my creative time writing songs and scoring for film working with more contemporary popular forms of music. 

What sort of work have you put into the recording and creative processes for your music? 

I have completed 4 albums to date and am now working on my 5th.  Every recording experience has been unique.  The first few albums I went into studios with other musicians to record which was very exciting but costly.  I now have a studio at my home so am able to do a lot of recording from home.   For the project I’m currently working on, I demo each song on my own using my laptop and protools.  It’s a great little portable set up.   I have a team of folks I’m working with on this project, namely my long time collaborator Marc Meriläinen (guitar), Michael Phillip Wojewoda (drums, mixing), Alisdair Jones (bass), Emma Campbell (vocals) and Anomalous Disturbances aka Terrence O’Brien (ambient guitar).   I’m releasing this album single by single in the order the songs will appear on the album.  For each song, I start by taking the demo verison, my musical line drawings, to Michael.  He takes my drum sketches and turns them into gorgeous parts that are part live and part electronic.  Once I have the drum stems, I send the updated version of the song to either guitarist Marc or bassist Alisdair for their parts.  The order I request tracks depends on the song.  Once I have all the intsrument tracks, I then record the vocals in my studio.  If I’m adding ambient guitar to the song, then I send the track along to Terry for his magic.   For the singles I’ve released to date, all the instrument tracks have been recorded in the studios of the individual musicians and are sent to me digitally.  It’s been a very interesting way to record.  It’s extremely exciting to receive the finished tracks from each musician.  Very akin to receiving a cherished gift.  The reveal is quite thrilling.  The tracks are then sent to Michael to be mixed in his pro studio.  Once mix is complete, we send to the finished song to João Carvalho for mastering.  I’ve loved hearing how the demos have turned into these incredibly lush works.

What does your recording set up look like (what do you use to record, what are your favorite tools)?

My portable demo set up is a MacBook Pro, an Apogee ONE interface, a small Behringer mixer and Protools 9.   I use a Sennheiser e845 microphone for vocals and a VoiceLife touch for vocal effects and vocal looping.

For final recording I use Cubase 8 on a PC in the studio.  I use the AKG 414 for vocals and the Universal Audio 6176 Preamp/Compressor for processing with a MOTU 2408 MK3 interface.

I’ve tried lots of different vocal mics and always go back to the AKG 414.

Tell us a bit more about High As A Kite? How is it different from Freedom?

High as A Kite aka HAAK is more of an electronic song where Freedom is more of a rock song.  For HAAK I used the more popular verse/chorus/bridge structure where Freedom is free-form and minimal in structure.  They do, however share a hypnotic, meditative vibe.   Each of the song sturctures chosen were specific to the emotional content of the song.  HAAK is gauzy, floating, soaring.  The challenge for HAAK was to convey the feeling of flying as well as the feeling of being still in the moment of pure love.    Freedom is much heavier and driving.  The minimalistic, chant-like quality of the song conveys the drive to be free but also acts as a juxtapostion of the contraints that come with the striving for and the reality of freedom.

Which artists are the greatest influences for you and your music? Is there a dream lineup of performers that you would like to perform with if given the chance?

My influences are all over the place and I use them for inspiration based on the topic of each work.  From a songwriting, scoring stand point I’m very inspired by Randy Newman, Snorri Hallgrimsson and Ólafur Arnalds.  I also love the minimalist composers Phillip Glass and Arvo Pärt.  My ambient inspirations are Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and my collegue Anomalous Disturbances.  My go to popular listens are Radiohead, Beck, Augie March, Sigur Rós , Björk, Terry Allen and Lamb Chop.  My classical escapes are all things Chopin, Beethoven, Grieg, Rachmaninoff and Gershwin.  I’m not sure what my dream line up would be.  Dreams of collaborating are always alive and well.

Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with? What about these online services are different from the traditional face to face meeting and performances that musicians utilize?

I have a website, moniquebarry.com and can be found on Spotify, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter,  Tumblr, Youtube and Instagram.  I find every service has its benefits and downfalls.  I’ve met people over every type of platform and feel that it’s beneficial to be part of all of them as everyone has a favorite place to hang out.  With that said, it’s extremely time consuming to maintain and I don’t excel at social media as I do with say working on my own music.  I much prefer meeting people in person.  I love hearing a persons voice and seeing their physical reactions.  I’m not fond of communicating via messaging and email as intention can so often be misinterpreted.  Being social in the real world is far more enegizing to me personally.  We do live in a world where social media is necessary so I have to somehow function in both realms and look for positive experiences wherever I connect.

 

 

What should listeners expect from your music in the future? How can interested NeuFutur readers locate samples of your music? How has the radio/Pandora/Spotify/other online response been for your music?

The album I’m working on is being released single by single in the order the songs will appear on the album.   I have released three songs to date with the fourth being officially released on April 26 at The Painted Lady in Toronto, ON.  NeuFutur readers can hear my music on Soundcloud, Spotify, AppleMusic; on basically all music streaming sights.  My website, moniquebarry.com is updated for each new release with detailed information about each song and contributors.  Listeners can expect an orally crafted journey from innocence to wisdom unfolding with each song.  The album promises to be a lush triptik with all the twists and turns that come with experience and evolving. Response to each single has been very personal, unique and beautiful.  Presently High As A Kite is receiving quite a bit of airplay in the UK, which is very exciting.  Each song has gifted me new opportunities and has brought me new listeners and fans.

What does 2018 hold for your music?

I’ll be releasing a number of singles in 2018.  Each one has it’s own story from it’s creation to completion.  Giving each song the attention it deserves is a wonderful process.  By the end of 2018 the songs will likely have me firmly planted in mid-adulthood.

Thank you so much for your time. Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers?

I’d like to thank your readers for taking time to get to know me and for taking the time to listen.  As an indie artist it’s so important to find your people and I thank NeuFutur for giving me the opportutnity to connect with it’s readers.

Regarding my final thoughts about life and the universe I’d say, follow your dreams, treat people with respect, try to approach everything with a happy heart – you reap what you sow, truly endeavour to make the world a better place even if it’s the less convenient way to proceed and remember there is no reality in reality TV!

 

 

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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