When we were coming up with the list for our Artists To Watch in 2023, Matt Barri was the first name that we added. Though he didn’t end up as the featured artist for the list this year, his unique sound, landing somewhere between emo, electronic, and euphoria, built up immense anticipation for his newly released debut EP, ‘The Only Way Out Is Up‘.
Barri is a genius with both the pen, the production, and the mic, with an amazing ability to deeply immersed with every word he sings and note he plays. The title track is a perfect example of his wildly creative production capabilities, and the following tune “Everything To Me” keeps you glued to your seat with an ethereal presence- and just when you think it’s over, Barri offer a booming, anthemic climax of synths and vocals.
“You Are Here” indulges rich, bouncy future bass paired with Porter Robinson-esque vocal chops that invoke a sense of bliss and nostalgia. “I’m In Space While You’re Worlds Apart” feels like something Tom Delonge would have brought his Angels & Airwaves project. That pop-punk/electronic vibe is beautifully executed by Barri with thundering drums and a vibrant, unforgettable drop.
“Orbiter” closes out the EP in a futuristic fashion, basking us one last time in his orbit before the song comes to a bittersweet end. It’s safe to say Matt Barri has a bright future ahead and we’re thrilled to be joining along for the ride.
Check out the album below along with our exclusive interview with Matt Barri!
Your debut EP, “The Only Way Out Is Up,” has been released track-by-track over the course of the year. Can you tell us more about the creative process behind this unique release strategy and how it has shaped the reception of your music?
Coming out of the Covid lockdown and shortly after graduating ICON, I produced a bunch of new music. Some of it was future bass inspired some electro House some was more drum and Bass, as well as a few collaborations with some friends. We ultimately released five songs in 2022. We are getting a lot of great feedback from various people in the industry, and the overwhelming response was if we wanted to break through, we should focus on one genre.
I had over a dozen songs that were more focused on what I wanted the Matt Barri sound to be. We made the decision to release two separate Electro Pop EP’s that would feature my topline and vocals. We derived a release plan for the first EP that would start on valentines day releasing the next song every 6 weeks or so. We would see how they would do one at a time and really try to work the releases. The first release “Everything To Me” did so well that we delayed the release of the second track by two months as not to cannibalize our efforts . We essentially went with this type of release strategy for the whole EP and are now ready to tie a bow around the project, sort of speak by releasing this last track.
I’m excited for people to hear the project as a whole as it tells a the story of my personal journey over the last few years. The responses been overwhelmingly positive. Our plan is to release the second EP the same way we did the first starting at the beginning of next year. Between now and then I have a few other releases,re-mixes and collaborations that will be coming out.
Your musical style combines elements of EDM and emo-inspired top lines and vocals. Can you share more about the evolution of your sound and how it has developed over the years?
I first started making electro house and progressive house. When I started releasing music on Soundcloud, it was mostly future bass and lofi with a little bit of trap mixed in. Then I focused on making melodic dubstep. I was a bit all over the place but I really loved all these genres and what I was making. It was really hard to just work on one style of music. Over quarantine was when I really focused defining the “MATT BARRI” sound. I really put myself out there and started singing on my own tracks and tapping into my rock and electro roots. What evolved was an emo inspired electro pop sound.
“I’m In Space While You’re Worlds Apart” carries a more melancholic and introspective vibe on the EP. What emotions and experiences influenced the creation of this particular track, and how does it fit into the overall narrative of the EP?
It was my songwriting final at ICON during the lockdown, we had classes over zoom. It was at the same time there were these massive wild fires in Southern California and so everything really did feel apocalyptic. This song was actually originally a ballad with just me singing and a piano. I left a spoken word message to my friends saying goodbye to all of them at once not knowing when I’d ever see them again. There was so much that went into that song. I really loved the melody and how it turned out overall so I built on it and I’m In Space While You’re Worlds Apart was the result.
As a well-rounded artist who balances skills as a songwriter, producer, and DJ, can you discuss the challenges and rewards of wearing multiple hats in the music industry? How do these different roles influence your creative process?
Normally when I’m writing a song I’m producing it at the same time. It all comes together at once for me, I think It’s interesting how in EDM is perceived as a do everything yourself kind of thing. Not Everyone is good at everything. I like writing, producing, mixing, and engineering, I’m just not a great mixer. One of the challenges for me was recognizing and accepting what my strengths and weakness are. It’s more important to be great at one thing than to just be ok at everything. Realizing that I needed help with my mixing also gave me the opportunity to work with my good friend and literal sonic wizard John Buser. He really helped me out with tracking vocals and mixing, He really pushed me in getting the best vocal performances. It turned out great in the end.
You’ve had the opportunity to DJ internationally and open for artists like Steve Aoki and Lil Jon. How have these live performances and collaborations influenced your music, and what can fans expect from your live shows in the future?
Those were amazing experiences and really helped me mature as a Dj very quickly. I love DJing and put a lot into making my DJ sets impactful and high energy. When I was growing up I was in many bands and did a lot of musical theater. Performing live is something that I love to do. I just started developing a live set where I’ll be singing live vocals and playing guitar, bass, maybe some synths here and there. I feel like it’s the best way for my audience to experience my music especially the music from my EP.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I am really excited about the future. I have so much new music including a new EP slated for the beginning of the new year. I am focused on my sound but I am also getting the opportunity to cross genres. I got some re-mixes that will be released soon. I am also really excited about a DnB project that I am working on with my good homie Jorlov called Crumb Pit. Our song WGDC is one of the most popular tracks on Space Yacht’s Summer Sampler compilation and we have some heaters to follow up with. Over all I am really pumped about the future.