LessThan3: We noticed that you did an article with MTV recently about drink pairings for your album. Are you a mixologist?
Barrett: I guess. One of the drinks on that list is definitely a recipe of mine which I just end up calling ‘The Kastle'; that came about from a holiday party in San Francisco. I used to live with Dean Grenier (DJG), another artist on Symbols. A lot of our friends came through, just the whole local SF family, and I started making drinks, and I kinda just raided my fridge, so it’s sweet lime juice, grapefruit juice, muddled fresh basil, black pepper, and Cholula sauce with gin. I made it and everyone loved it.
LessThan3: What are you drinking tonight?
Barrett: I’m actually not drinking when I do the live show.
LessThan3: Tell us about the experience of working with all of the different artists that you featured on your new album.
It was a very natural process. It started with JMSN and Austin Paul, because I had done a remix for JMSN and then immediately we started working on our own collaborations. At the same time, I was working with Austin on a couple of things, and when we started doing all those tracks together I was like, “wow this is album material.” So then I seeked out some more vocalists that I had released on Symbols like Rita DeVito, Emily Harris from Atlas, and also people like Ayah Marar who ended up being on the lead single
. She just hit me up on Twitter one day and was like, “Hey I like your stuff, would love to work together.” All this happened all at once. Xavier is another guy who I had been working with, and he has a Symbols release coming up. I couldn’t have tried, it just happened.
LessThan3: Austin Paul just had his own release on Symbols. Were you involved with that as well?
Barrett: Yeah, I mixed and mastered that. Definitely have been working a lot with Austin, he’s a great songwriter. He’s actually working in the studio with Pharrell right now.
LessThan3: Does most of your production happen back home in San Francisco, or have you been traveling, for example, to Miami where Austin Paul is located?
Barrett: No, him and I have mostly just been working via internet for now. That may change in the future.
LessThan3: How long has this album been in production?
Barrett: I started it in June of last year, which is actually right when I launched Symbols. It worked out really well because when I started Symbols, outside of other artists’ releases that I’d planned, I had 3 EPs of my own written. So with all of that set, that’s when I started working on the album. For a while I wasn’t working when I was on the road, so it’s kinda tough because I was touring. November, December, January, I toured throughout US and Australia, but then I would come home and go right back to the studio.
LessThan3: Tonight we get to see your new live show. Will this be your first such performance?
Barrett: The first time was at SXSW, but tonight is definitely the first time in New York.
LessThan3: What kind of setup are you using for that?
Barrett: It’s very simple; it’s just me and an AKAI MPK49, so it’s a 49 key MIDI Controller, and basically all of the melodies, all of the synths, solos, all of the stuff you hear in my music. I just play it live, and you hear a lot of improv too.
LessThan3: Who are some of your current favorite artists that we should watch out for?
Barrett: Druid Cloak, Lindsay Lowend, Sweater Beats, Jaw Jam, this dude Liar from Bucharest–he has an album coming which is really good. I just named a lot of new Symbols artists. We have releases coming all summer, got some good stuff.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
I would choose the first song that I remember hearing, which is Herbie Hancock’s Rockit
. That’d be a pretty rad song to go out to, right?
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.