Exclusive: Five minutes with Barnacles

A lot of music comes through our inboxes, and on occasion, we find some spectacular artists doing some incredible work. Barnacles, a relatively unknown group, happens to fall under this particular group. While the band is still an obscure name, their jazz influenced live performances, directed by saxophonist/composer Leroy Horns, the 5-piece band unite influences of UK’s dance music scene with live instrumentation and freeform jazz influences.

We sat down with the band to catch up with their day, and to learn more about the mysterious guys behind the band.

Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?

We’re good. Drinking lots of coffee and rehearsing. Working on some new material and performance ideas.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

In a nut shell “Horns Drums Heaviness”. We’re an instrumental quintet consisting of drums, baritone sax, two tenor saxes, and trombone. All our pieces are very groove based and feature improvised exploratory sections, meaning that every time we perform them they are slightly different.

What are the 5 most influential albums that have influenced you the most?

Seems as there are five of us I thought we could take one each.
Leroy Horns(Tenor sax) Mingus Ah Um – Charles Mingus. I’ve gone through big periods where I’ve listened to this everyday. Great horn arranging and group soloing.

Peter Adam Hill (Drums) Suite fro ma Dukes – Miguel Atwood Ferguson

Greg Sinclair (Baritone Sax) I spent a lot of time listening to the Stan Getz and Oscar Peterson Trio album. Got a lot from that album and it’s incredible.

Laura Impallomeni (Trombone) Probably The “Eminent J J Johnson”. It was the first jazz trombone album I ever heard.

Richard Halligan (Tenor Sax) Has to be Illmatic – Nas

Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?

Rich – Oddisee – love the production and it’s good music to run too.

Laura – I just saw Kamasi Washington at Love Supreme festival and was blown away, so I’m loving his epic new release.

Leroy – I’ve just discovered ethio/ soul group The Sorcerers. Bass clarinet and flute on lead, great combination sound!

Pete – Anderson Paak because he’s groovy as hell.

Greg – I’m obsessed with Rukhsana Merrise’s album September Songs at the moment. I love her voice, the writing and the production is gorgeous. Quite unexpected textures.

Are there any key pieces of equipment that you are using to define your sound?

Not really. Unless you want to count our instruments!. Greg does use an Electro Harmonix octave pedal to add some extra sub to the baritone. It pads out the bottom end really nicely.

Where do you gather song writing inspiration?

It could be anything from hearing a call to prayer outside a mosque in London to getting home late from a reggae sound system event. So I guess from everywhere. Especially in the improvised sections. You’re really just laying your emotions out on the table and playing how you feel in that moment. In that sense it’s different for all of us.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when put music together?

Generally I bring ideas to rehearsals. These are sometimes fairly fully formed with melodies, harmonies, and backing figures and other times they are just a simple two bar bass line for the baritone with some pads for the others. We’ll play around with these, everyone getting a chance to improvise with them. Hearing the band play through new material you get ideas where you can improve things or the inspiration to turn a tiny idea into a whole track. Pete always has some great ideas about beats, in fact everyone usually has some idea about how things could be tweaked. I then take all this away and get the next draft together, then we go through the same process all over again. Some tracks even change after they’ve been gigged out a few times.

What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?

Jazz Re:freshed in London was great. It’s a very intimate venue and there were lots of friendly faces in the audience. We played really well that night. I guess we all felt really comfortable and appreciated and that always makes for some great playing.

And the worst?

There hasn’t been a bad one yet. Touch wood!

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

Rich – I’d have tried to be a footballer, more likely a gardener.
Laura – I would probably still be traveling the world and living abroad.
Greg – A virgin.
Leroy – Some sort of youth / community worker.
Pete – Carpenter or chef.

Do you have any particular gigs or festivals that you dream about playing?

WOMAD, West Holts stage at Glastonbury, Giles Peterson’s World Wide Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival. We’ve all got so many favorites we could go on forever!

If you could perform alongside any other band or artist, who would it be?

Pete – A support slot with Black Sabbath please.
Rich – Gregory Porter
Laura – Mulatu Astatke or The Budos Band
Leroy – Melt Yourself Down
Greg – Ambrose Akinmusire

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

Our next gig is in Brighton at the Rose Hill arts space on 29th Sept. We’re going to be experimenting more with how we use the space. Not just playing from the stage but within the audience. Bringing the ideas from our new video into the performance space. Each audience member gets a unique sonic experience. We also have a finished album that we’re just starting to send to labels. So if all goes well and we get the help we need that will come out soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *