An Interview with Ian Barnett

  • Posted on: 25 April 2013
  • By: sheldonkreger

One of the great things about working online is that I get to "meet" all kinds of great people who I'd normally never connect with. A few months back, Ian Barnett contacted me and showed me some of his playing. I'm pretty excited about his project and I thought I'd ask him a few questions about the drums.

Be sure to check out his band Bear Language on Soundcloud.

1. How long have you been playing drums? Do you have a background in music?

Ian: I've been playing drums for almost a decade now. I do have a background in music, but my main background is in martial arts. It didn't take long for me to realize that I was different. One time, as a young school boy, I witnessed a small child being viciously attacked by an older boy twice his size. I started to feel an energy surge through my body, swelling until something snapped inside of me. As for what happened next, I can only repeat what I've heard from others. Indeed, I became quite frightened of my new found abilities and took refuge in a solitary life. After my second incident, involving a nun and a hairdresser, I became even more introverted and ashamed. About a week later I was visited by a man in a wheel chair. He was also bald but that part isn't important. He took me away to a school filled with others like me. Finally, the heavy weight of shame and disconnect had been lifted from me as if I had been wearing a cumbersome invisible coat with the density of a thousand suns and only just been made aware of it so I could finally be rid of its effects.

Then this kid showed me Blink 182 so I left that place and started playing drums. I don't regret leaving, but often I wonder what would have been.

2. Do you have any favorite styles of music? Do you specialize in any kind, or avoid any kind?

Ian: Right now I'm listening to a lot of electronic/hip hop music. Producers like Dimlite, Hudson Mohawke, B. Lewis, and Jon Wayne are some of my favorites. Growing up I was into bands like Story of the Year, The Fall of Troy, and Underoath and I call upon those influences often. I'm pretty much into every style of music with the exception of all music that I don't like, which is a lot.

3. What's it like to be surrounded by so many gifted musicians? You study at Berkeley, right?

Ian: Yes, I'm finishing up my time at Berklee College of Music in Boston. It's really humbling (this is just something I say to make myself sound modest) and I'm really lucky to be surrounded by such talented musicians from all walks of life.

But seriously, it's impossible to escape inspiration here. I'm more influenced and driven by my friends than anyone.

4. Tell me about your band, Bear Language. Do you have any big plans?

Ian: Bear Language is a three piece rock outfit consisting of myself on drums, Luca Buccellati on guitar and vocals, and Archi Denis on Bass.

We just released a single from our upcoming full length album called Mary Go Round. You can listen to it here:

We are also planning our first tour with shows at SXSW. Big things are ahead.

5. Do you have any favorite books or DVDs? Is there an instructor who you work with particularly closely?

Ian: I very much enjoyed The Plague by Albert Cam... Oh you probably meant drum books. Two books that worked for me were The New Breed by Gary Chester and Master Studies by Joe Morello. I've had some great instructors up here but I had one in particular in high school named Matt Henry who without I would have been a much worse player. I'm still remembering and realizing ideas and concepts he impressed upon me years ago and that's the mark of a great educator.

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