After recording his first album, One, on his iPhone,multi-instrumentalist Barney Packer has now released ‘Test the Water’ from his debut album Godly Fibres. Exploring themes of love and trust – two of the most important things to him – Barney writes, records and performs all of his own music.
Unsurprisingly, Barney’s music has gained extensive media interest. Featuring in newspaper interviews across the country, playing a number of live radio sessions, including BBC Introducing, and performing live sessions with his band for YouTube, Barney is set to be a sensation. Embracing an eclectic bunch of artists from Tame Impala to Paul McCartney, and from the Arctic Monkeys to Steely Dan, Barney’s sound is best described as indie pop, and we can’t wait to hear more from him!
Firstly, for those who may not have heard your music, can you tell us a bit about who you are and the kind of music you make?
I’m a 21 year old producer from Guildford, Surrey, and make all my music myself. No extra writers, no extra vocals, no fancy post-production going on – just straight up, honest music.
Who were your biggest musical inspirations growing up?
Being from Surrey, you can feel influences from The Jam and Paul Weller just in the culture. Him and Arctic Monkeys I can always draw such a clear comparison between – even now that Monkeys are playing more Style Council-esc stuff! Growing up they were definitely a big influence on how things sound today.
You made your first three EPs by using your iPhone, what made you decide to do this?
I was a poor student! Being bored in first year of university (2015), I had some songs that I wanted to get recorded, however didn’t have a band or any studio time available. At that time I was massively into Tame Impala’s ‘Currents’ – a record that Kevin Parker recorded almost entirely by himself, so I guessed if he could do it, then I may as well do the same… but on an iPhone 5S!
Your first single ‘Test the Water’ from the debut album ‘Godly Fibres’ was recently released, what has the reaction been like?
It’s been great, loads of people have been saying it’s my best track yet which is seriously awesome to hear. I think moving from the lo-fi sound of Garageband on my iPhone 5S to a more established and fuller sound really makes the difference. There’s a lot more going on vocally on this than my earlier stuff too – I wanted to experiment with harmonies and melody in this album much more.
And what was the creative process behind ‘Test the Water?
Test the Water was actually recorded when I brought my piano up to university in late 2017 ish. I was exploring chord shapes, and that piano line at the very beginning of the song just kind of fell into place. It was one of them tunes that seemed to write itself.
Can you tell us a bit about your forthcoming album ‘Godly Fibres’?
Godly Fibres is much bigger than anything else i’ve recorded. Written in the second half of my university experience, I was starting to deal with some new emotions that I wasn’t too familiar with so I was thinking about things in more depth than before.
I felt like I was maturing a lot at this time, and this album kind of encapsulated that feeling. Self identity and the perils of social media were the two seeds of where it all began.
Out of all the tracks you’ve made, what is your favourite and why?
One of my favourites off this record is probably the last track, ‘Loving You Forever More’. It’s hard writing an album closer, however when I finished this I knew it was the ticket.
The message can be taken in so many ways, and I like the melancholy feel it has. It reminds me of so many people in my life, but also makes me realise that things just kind of fade away sometimes, if you know what I mean? Imagine Tame Impala produces a Tom Misch track. It’ll be out as a single soon.
You’ve played many live radio sessions including ‘BBC Introducing’ on the drivetime show, what was that experience like?
BBC Introducing was so great. They really loved the quirk of me recording some tracks on my iPhone which I found so flattering – I never expected people to be into the iPhone EPs so much!
What contemporary music are you currently listening to that you could recommend?
So much cool stuff at the moment, and such a range. Noname’s new album is amazing, Anderson. Paak’s got new stuff coming out, Jungle’s new record has a great groove, and i’ve gotta say; Arctic Monkeys’ new album is by no means a bad record.
What can we expect next from you?
Even I don’t know the answer to that! At the moment, the album won’t be too far away, and I’ll be releasing a compilation album of the iPhone EPs soon so people can listen to that in one nice package, but past that? Who knows, let’s see what people think of Godly Fibres first.