If lockdown has shown us one thing, it’s just how we can adapt and use our time to do other things. We caught up with two local artists who are no strangers to our Spotify or social channel streaming, to find out what they’ve been doing during the lockdown. Music artists unplugged with Daniel Barrett and Ryan Gay (Knot Music).
To kick things off, tell me a little more about you?
DB: Relatively new to the music scene, picked up the guitar in September of 2020 after a seven year hiatus, wasting no time in pursuing a dream as an original songwriter.
With an ever-increasing catalogue of country-infused lyrics strong harsh grit, and serious vocal presence. With aspirations to move into writing duets and doing collaborations with other artists.
RG: Hailing from a small country town in Central Victoria, but don’t let that fool you. Ryan had been playing shows all over Australia for roughly nine years now, strengthening in an acoustic live show and building a repertoire for original music.
With a soulful vocal style and a love for interesting and unique rhythms. A sound that has been described as sitting somewhere between Pop and Indie – with a splash of R&B thrown in for good measure.
You picked up your guitar and your first vocal was to…?
DB: My first vocal experience was when I was 16 years old. My dad had brought me my first, and main guitar I still perform with today. I tried learning certain covers but actually dove straight into writing originals. My first ever two originals, “Rockstar” and “Runaway” were written on the same day, and are still placed in my sets I play today.
RG: I bought my first guitar only when I was 21, so I was very late to the party, but one of the first songs I remember learning was the intro riff to Dammit by Blink 182. I was a big fan of their music when I was younger so most likely was singing along poorly to Blink.
‘Writers Tears’ – what influenced the sounds and songwriting?
DB: Being that this song was a collaboration with Ryan, we both sat down and began the discussion very early on about what path a prospective song would take if we found ourselves writing together.
The main focus was paying respect as a whole to the industry that we are both very deeply a part of, and wanted to use the ability to be two different styles of music coming together as a platform to say: “We are still here, and a voice can still be heard”.
Personally, I held my guitar in my hands and found a tune we were both stoked with and played it repeatedly until I began to embody the trigger words that we wanted to make a focus for the song.
“Writer’s Tears” focuses on the “behind closed doors” emotional connection musicians already feel to music, both original and covers.
RG: With every single Australian lockdown, musicians all around Australia are being absolutely decimated financially and otherwise. Gigs are literally being cancelled less than 24 hours out, I’ve even had my car loaded up with guitars and equipment, all just to have my next-day shows cancelled that evening and have to unload it all again for nothing. We effectively lose our entire week or sometimes even monthly income, it’s heartbreaking.
So Daniel and I decided to get together and attempt writing collaboratively to try and share our thoughts on the magic that is music, and how even if we can’t play right now, we can never be silenced.
Words of encouragement for aspiring artists to share their vocal or musical talent.
DB: Stick to being “who you are”! Stick to your strengths and where you’re heart is in music and don’t change unless it’s what you want rather than being pressured to go off the path.
Sing what you want to sing and write what you want to write and someone in this world will hear it, and that’s your audience. Whether it’s 20 or 20,000, your artistic tune and love comes first.
RG: As someone that is not at all from a musical family and who started singing quite late at the age of 19 and playing guitar at 21, I can completely recommend music to anyone regardless of your current ability. If you absolutely love music, you can definitely make it your full-time job, but it definitely won’t happen overnight.
It’s not always easy or fun or as glamorous as you might imagine, but it’s an amazing industry. If you work hard you’ll be able to achieve anything. So with that said absolutely go for it and never let anyone; not even these lockdowns, stop you.
If you’re happy in your life. It’s not what you do, but how you do it. Approach every situation as if you want to get the best out of it. “Writer’s Tears” rightly named after the nice drop of whiskey they enjoyed as they conversed over the current effects of lockdowns on the live music industry.
Music is a powerful thing. It’s one of the few things on this planet that almost everyone enjoys without reservation. Enjoy the song and remember to support your local artist.
Spotify: Daniel Barrett
YouTube: Daniel Barrett
Ryan Gay (Knot Music)