Interview with Barnt


15-11-2014 | 10.33

There’s a cosmic swell emanating out of the Rhine area in Germany. His name is Barnt and he writes in a German accent through metaphors that denote the visceral element that we find in his music. “The ‘Kosmische’ element, is strongly connected with German music, and particularly with music from the area by the Rhine, where I live.” Appearing on the scene back in 2010 with a release on his own label Magazine, the artist and DJ soon carved out a niche voice against the backdrop of that Berghain techno with what he and others refer to as a ‘Kosmische’ sound. It’s a sound that garnered support from Kompakt early on and saw Barnt release on Cómeme amongst others. His 2012 release, Geffen on that very same label propelled the artist into every DJ’s playlist, with an energetically percussive track that seems to flow through various emotive states. Magazine, which he runs with Crato and Jens-Uwe Beyer, continued to flourish in the mean time and Barnt’s relationship with Kompakt soon found a new dimension when Wolfgang Voigt featured on the label, with Rückverzauberung 6. Barnt splits his time today as a label boss, an artist and a DJ. His first performance outside of Germany was at Trouw, and we feel very happy that we are able to accommodate him again for the Drukpers Weekender, ahead of the release of his new album Magazine 13. We were given a preview of this release in October, as Chappell hit the shelves via Hinge Finger, a track not too dissimilar to Geffen, but with a slightly harder edge and we look forward to hearing this and maybe an exclusive from the album at Trouw this weekend. But before we get a glimpse at the new album, Barnt took some time out of his busy recording schedule to answer some questions for us in his distinctly German accent. 

If it was required of you describe your music, how would you put it into words?
"Order from noise."

‘Kosmische’ has often been used as an adjective for your music. What aspect of your music does this relate to in your opinion?
"We generally use ’Kosmische’ to describe the freewheeling side of music. But it is something that you can hardly put into words. We end up using words like ‘Kosmische’ by way of an explanation of a state of mind. It is not always satisfying, however, but to communicate the ideas behind the music, I will sometimes use it myself."

How do you approach the creative process to get to that ‘Kosmiche’ sound?
"I try to walk a straight line in circles. It's like our love for the blue ribbon in the sky. Do we want to catch it? Or do we want to let it fly away?"

What influences to you draw on before you sit down to record track?
"If I am in a good state of mind, there won’t be so much pre-existing music in my head. More likely it will be a room or situation. Trouw peak time let’s say, or a small club with just strobe lights and fog. Sometimes not even this. Sometimes it’s just feelings, colours or movements."

You’ve had quite a healthy relationship with Kompakt since your first release. How did this relationship gestate? 
"Kompakt is not only a label but also a distributor and a booking agency. They distribute my label Magazine, which I run with Crato and Jens-Uwe Beyer, and they also take care of my bookings. Moreover, Wolfgang Voigt has released on Magazine and Jörg Burger is part of Cologne Tape. Also, I have contributed to the Pop Ambient series. So there are quite a few ties of friendship between Kompakt and Magazine. Kompakt is the best helping hand we can think of and we are very grateful to them. We run Magazine independently however. Magazine sometimes gets mistaken as a sub-label of Kompakt, which is not the case."

You mention Magazine, which has had a string of releases since its inception. The releases have been quite different from each other. What is the ethos behind the label that glues everything together?
"It is interesting that you think of Magazine as a label with disparate releases. Maybe I don’t see this so much because I met the people behind the music. It actually turned out that we only feel comfortable to release music from people we know personally and like. Their personas, their thoughts, mindsets and agendas form something coherent, I think. That would be the core of the label."

I find, there is a healthy dose of an experimental attitude at Magazine, especially considering the Wolfgang Voight and Wendy Gondeln releases. Was this a conscious decision on your part?
"I think not. Wolfgang could also have turned in something more close to Münchener Freiheit. As long as we all think it is good, we will release it."

Is the ethos behind the label something that often filters in to your DJ sets?
"Yes, and that is what I wanted. But Magazine is a small label with a distinct character. In my DJ sets I want to branch out. I believe in DJs that can create a multidimensional cosmos. There is so much good music right now."

Is there any new music you are eager to share with us at Trouw?
"Chappell just came out on Will Bankhead's and Joy Orbison's label Hinge Finger. I actually made it with my two favourite sounding dance floors in mind. The Berghain ‘Techno’ floor and Trouw! So, I am eager to play it where I always saw it. Also, I can't wait to here some tracks from my album, Cherry Red for example, on the Trouw Function One system. I can't think of a better-adjusted PA. You know, there is this great sound engineer standing next to you in the booth all night and is making sure the sound is so on point."
Besides the album, what does the future hold for Barnt?
"I had my first gig outside of Germany at Trouw. Not only because of this the place is very special to me. Playing there this Saturday for the last time is still something the future holds for me as I write this. It will soon be something in the past. But for now, I am grateful that there will be a last time."

Text: Mischa Mathys