Q&A: Spencer Barnett Gets Reckless on New EP

Q&A: Spencer Barnett Gets Reckless on New EP

VMAN caught up with the budding actor on his return to live music, his debut EP, and the best day of his life.

VMAN caught up with the budding actor on his return to live music, his debut EP, and the best day of his life.

Photography: Bellamy Brewster

Styling: Debbie Gonzalez

Text: James Manso

If you haven't heard of Spencer Barnett, it's because he's barely released any music. But that hasn't stopped listeners: with just three singles out, Barnett garnered just under 30,000 followers on his Instagram, and 350,000 monthly listeners on his Spotify. As today marks the release of his debut EP, Reckless, a cult following online is about to become the smallest of his claims to fame. The five-track project, recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, comes on the coattails of the video for his single "Suicide Note", which features a strumming Barnett against a desert sunrise dreamscape.

With more projects in the pipeline for later this year, VMAN caught up with the budding musician on genre-less music, the best day of his life, and the upcoming shifts in his sound.

VMAN: Your video for "Suicide Note" is so gorgeous. How you would best describe your style and how would you describe your style?

Spencer Barnett: Well I think with genres nowadays, it always really does get tricky because so much music is genre-less. I think stars are trying to catch up to some of the new sounds, that are being made. I always try to incorporate things that don't really necessarily fit exactly into a specific genre. But it's kind of a blend of different genres different inspirations. I guess if I could sum it into one word, it would be alt-pop or indie pop. And yeah, I don't think I would place it in a single thing, even some of the stuff that's about to come out of my new project. even the songs within the project are in different genres. So I think that's part of the umbrella term to describe it all.

VMAN: What direction would you say you were like looking in the move sonically, aside from just keeping your horizon broad?

SB: It being my debut debut project, I wanted to have a sense of discovery when I was working on this, not just going into it with a very closed-minded approach. And when we were making the project, we were just experimenting, creating all of these new songs. We did that actually this whole E.P. that's about to come out in Joshua Tree with some friends. We just went down for a week and had an amazing time and wrote all these songs. We really bonded and throughout that, I guess the child of that whole experience is this Reckless E.P., but it's very much an experiment when I'm going into doing a project. Yes, I can come in with references and sound, I really like an inspiration. But at the end of the day, you sometimes just have to let things kind of take their course sonically and creatively, especially in a songwriting environment.

Spencer wears suit Gucci, rings The Great Frog, necklaces his own

VMAN: Yeah for sure. Well it's interesting that you describe it,It is your debut project and you've only really done singles. But I'm also intrigued because you've amassed such a cult following, like on Spotify, you're up to 350,000 listeners per month. That's really impressive for not having formally debuted. What would you credit that to, where do you think that came from?

SB: Well thank you so much. I mean, the reaction has been so crazy even to these first two songs, and I'm so humbled by everyone liking the music so far. I think a lot of that, in my opinion, is due to the visuals. I really put an emphasis on the visuals and I care a lot about that, being a fan of art myself. I really wanted to put an emphasis on the visuals and fashion within all of my music and just the blend of all of those three things. I kind of accredit some of that to why we've had such an amazing reaction. But you know, some things just take their course and I'm just starting to put out music. I'm just excited to be able to share some of these new things I've been working on, and especially this new project with the people that are writing and making music so far.

Spencer wears suit Gucci, rings The Great Frog, necklaces his own

VMAN: Yeah for sure. So you mentioned fashion, that's focal point for you. What brands do you like, what do you wear?

SB: Yeah well I'm super inspired by European style right now, and culture. I think a lot of brands like Jil Sander, Saint Laurent even Braindead which is actually L.A.-based. Acne, Carhartt, APC. They're all brands that I think, for me, still feel or can feel somewhat casual and true to me but also my love of looking good. And dressing well, you know.

VMAN: We have similar taste. Speaking of European culture, what was your experience like when you recorded at Abbey Road Studios?

SB: That was probably the greatest day of my life. Honestly, I'm a huge Beatles fan, personally. And and that's how I've been making my music, is doing what's called what we call "camps", which is instead of just doing random sessions with people that I don't really know and trying to put a project together, is blocking out a week to 10 days and going in every single day. And at the end, just saying "stop". These are all of the songs we're gonna put on this project, and we're gonna choose from this. Having that kind of limit allows me to to work better and create cooler music that's cohesive, that's something that's really important on this project. The first camp of this project that's coming out, Reckless, was in Joshua Tree. I'm planning on putting out a ton of music this year, probably two more projects. The second project has already been done and we did that camp in London, as you saw, and I'm planning on doing a camp in France actually very soon for a third project. These places really inspire the sounds and they really inspire the qualities of each project and give each project its own characteristic. I think that's been the goal with doing it in cooler places.

Spencer wears suit Gucci, rings The Great Frog, necklaces his own

VMAN: Where in France?

SB: In the south. It's not 100%, we're still figuring it out, but definitely the South of France somewhere.

VMAN: What direction do you plan on moving in in the future, do you think? Do you think your music is going to go from here?

SB: Well, I think my biggest goal for my next project that I'm going to put out is incorporate more live sounds. And in today's landscape, I think people have lost touch with the classic live sound of music and have relied too heavily on computers to do the job that real instruments should actually be doing. I want to really focus more on using real life sounds like James Blake, Kanye, Tame Impala, and MGMT, and Animal Collective. They're all doing really cool stuff with real instruments and I want to incorporate a lot of that in my music. all live instruments from now on.

Spencer wears suit Gucci, rings The Great Frog, necklaces his own

VMAN: Is there anything else that you would like to add or touch on?

SB: I'm just starting out. As you can tell, this is my first project. I'm just really excited to keep going. I'm humbled by all of the positive feedback so far in the first two singles, but I'm going to be putting out a ton of music and and just really excited to share my feelings and thoughts with the world.

Stream "Reckless" by Spencer Barnett on Spotify below.

UP NEXT

GmbH Kicks It With Throwback Brand ASICS