Interview: Five minutes with Vincent Barrea

Hailing from Moscow, we have a vocalist, producer and rapper arriving on the scene with a new release, ‘Chemical Or Love’. Vincent Barrea has just released the Cuban-styled ‘Chemical Or Love’, on 31 October via Maitre Music. With a background in theatre, dance, upstage vocals, acting and fashion photography, it’s clear this vocalist producer has always had an appreciation for the fine arts.

With his previous single, ‘Zoom Zoom’ reaching over 800k Youtube views, ‘Chemical Or Love’ promises to catch the ear of the public. Following his latest release, the music video arrived shortly on the scene with Barrea himself starring in it. Directed by Tata Belinina and produced by Lyola Otchenash, the video is set in an abandoned warehouse and features dramatic imagery to complement the catchy and compelling track. The simple aesthetic of the location sets a striking stage, allowing the lyrics to shine forth. You can find the music video below.

We decided to sit down with this fast-paced artist and learn more about the fire that’s fueling him. 

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

I have a clear feeling that the only way for one to express themselves fully, is through the arts. I was on the other side of the camera and the industry as a whole, trying to reveal myself through other talented people, but it doesn’t bring the same inner satisfaction when you express yourself here and now through music. When it resonates in others, makes your head bop to the beat and makes others feel something, – it turns into some kind of special synergy. And when you’ve tried it once, nothing else can compare with this sensation.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

Firstly there has to be a balance between the sound and the idea. Everything in its place, complementing, unravelling and multiplying each other on different magical levels. Now we have 7 songs ready, some of them we had an idea first, a bare emotion, which our musician Haxxy transformed into a melody. Sometimes, he first makes a melody and a persistent idea is born into it. Now, for example, we have plenty of texts/lyrics to which there is yet music to be made for it. Haxxy, at that time, was working with a track that was born in a dream of one member of the team as an integral product – an idea, a little text, with a melody of a chorus sung into the recorder. These are the formulas for creating our songs, there’s no one solid formula that our team sticks to.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

Well, how can I say, if you consider that we are now writing a few songs that are most likely to be released after the new year and we are writing it in collaboration with a couple of artists? Then yes. In the previous three tracks that we released, I’m by singing by myself.

What’s on your current playlist?

My playlist always has a very wide stylistic spread. Extreme artists in my playlist: Dounia, Naira Marley, Angele, DaBary, Maes, the new FKA Twigs tracks.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

For the most part, we are trying to find a certain mix of pop music, hip-hop all this intertwined with Latin rhythms. But overall, we love experimenting with a mixture of styles. Fortunately, with Haxxy (the author of the music) with whom we work on the latest tunes, this is easy. We are looking for the very sound during which the attention of a person will be drawn to what he hears. Words, melody, beat. For example, in Chemical Or Love, Alex Evans (engineer) had to tinker a lot with the sound of a heartbeat, we worked with the original heart sound, which we brought as close as possible to an electronic sound.

Take us through a day in the recording studio

Sometimes a track is recorded almost immediately, easily and cheerfully. Sometimes you have to rewrite a hundred times and constantly change something around, till its perfectly flowing that way it should be. It happens, you think that now with a couple of takes everything you get down as it should be, and it is on these days that problems usually arise. It happens, on the contrary, getting ready for difficulties, but everything goes very smoothly, and you finish in a snap. The most difficult thing is to catch the emotion, you need to enter the state of the music, words, it takes a lot of time. We re-recorded Chemical Or Love at least 10 times. The track that we plan to launch after Chemical Or Love we recorded in 1 day, it’s fun and emotionally easy and outgoing.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

Yes, that was about a year and a half ago, when I had already got far away from stage activity and was engaged only in the production and implementation of filming. I began to working closely on PrilivSpace platform (an Instagram channel for newcomers to music for the CIS audience) and constantly communicated with other artists, but I myself didn’t take any steps to become an artist myself, as I so dreamed of my entire life of becoming, I think it was at that moment that I asked myself this question, and ever since I started writing music with the team at Maitre.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Sonyae, Vagabon, Noia, Fleche Love, Santino Le Saint 

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Music, movies, musicals. Stories from other people and different social groups. You know, each group has its own energy, its own jokes, culture and manner of communication. I like to come to some completely different, alien company, where other rules apply and absorb something new. There’s always a completely different colour of communication ingrained in it.

Any side projects you’re working on?

I have never worked on other music projects. But I was involved in the creation and support of the musical movement PrilivSpace, featuring contemporary unpopular music. For a long time, I worked as a photographer and specialized in fashion and filming, shot covers and content. I also worked for several years as an actor and performer of ballet at a musical theatre in Moscow.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I began to actively learn Spanish. I know this is not related to singing, but the fact that the performer is engaged in vocals is normal and mandatory- like waking up after a dream. I began to listen to music more and am now mastering programs to try to write on my own. But Spanish … I would like to sing in this language and understand all the songs in Spanish. Did you know that people who sing in Spanish sing with their hearts? Pay attention to this.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

The clip and single for the song Chemical Or Love, possibly a remix, we are still thinking about it, more precisely, we are thinking with whom it is better to do it. But after Chemical Or Love until the end of the year, we will release 1-2 singles at least. At the moment we have 7 unreleased singles, and we are constantly working on new material.

Famous last words?

At some point, I realized how much music affects a person’s internal state. I would like to devote my life to bringing strong emotions to people, I would like my music to open up peoples hearts, enlighten there soul. It doesn’t matter if this song carries exceptionally funny emotions or if it is complicated and it makes you sad. The most important thing is that people feel these emotions, such music makes us alive. Such music ignites our hearts. 

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