Feature: Blood Talk Returns – Barny Cutter Chats Through His Musical Journey From Rock To Electronica

As with any music scene, there is always artists and bands that become synonymous with the local circuit. Having gigged and been to shows in Bury St Edmunds (pretty little town in the Suffolk, UK) there’s a number of great bands that are often on the line-up and have become local hero’s such as Gaffa Tape Sandy, Fleas, Collars, History & Lore, Gabby Rivers, Dingus Khan and Bessie Turner to name just a few (…no, not including you Ed), but among all of these bands, one person, Barny Cutter, has appeared under so many different guises, in so many varied line ups, making such a variety of music, that it’s hard not to admire the dedication to his craft and the feverish nature of his passion for such a variety of musical styles.

I’ve seen Barny play in a number of bands, from hard-rock right through to experimental-electronica, appearing more recently in Glitter Shop (indie-pop gorgeousness and at times, electronic noise-pop), appearing on guitar live with Tundra (post-punk noise extravaganza), and now returning to his electronic-come-indie solo project Blood Talk. Barny has always been such an interesting creative on the local scene. Every time you see him at a gig, there’s a new synth, a new guitar pedal – it’s exciting.

So, when I heard the excellent new tunes from Blood Talk, I felt I had to write a feature.

The two new released from Blood Talk, ‘Lady’ and ‘Space’ see Barny once again head in a new direction, talking the minimal electronic nature of the project and adding a psychedelic rock edge resulting in a sound which fits somewhere between Tame Impala and Maribou State. Rich soundscapes of analogue synths, bopping bass, driving drums, gorgeous modulation tinted guitar lines and falsetto vocals take shape on the two new tracks in many ways blending the rockier side of Barny’s earlier projects with the electronic textures of Blood Talks earlier material.

Anyway, enough of my rambling – I caught up with Barny to chat about the new Blood Talk tunes and his journey as a musician:

‘Lady’ see’s Blood Talk move further towards psych indie or ‘psychedelic-dance-pop’ as you call it and away from the minimal electronic nature of some of the previous releases. What sparked this change and was this a conscious move into a new sound for Blood Talk? 

I’ve never really been a songwriter, so for me Blood Talk has always been an experimentation and exploration into that world, and a lot of what I write usually reflects the mood I’m in at the time. When I first started around 6 years ago it was out of a disdain for being stuck in a loop of just making guitar-based music so I tried stripping everything back and being super minimal. It then developed into a project of being whatever the fuck I wanted it to be and the guitar soon came running back.

I think there’s still imprints of earlier Blood Talk in these new tracks – there were a bunch of songs I canned from the early live shows that never made it anywhere but still had those lo-fi guitary elements.

These first two new tracks I feel fit quite nicely together in that psych-indie category and were written around the same time. I kinda created this idea in my head that ‘Lady’ is this daytime party song and the follow-up ‘Space’ is the nighttime version.

How does writing Blood Talk differ from writing with Glitter Shop and other bands you’ve been in?

Glitter Shop was a really nice setup in terms of writing actually. Harry was really good with lyrics and forming the basis of a song, which gave me a platform to imprint my production style on the songs. We’d never restrict ourselves either – instead of saying ‘maybe this isn’t a glitter shop song’ we’d say ‘how can we make this a glitter shop song’? and usually playing whatever it was on a shitty Casio keyboard was enough to make it work.

Blood Talk is far more erratic in terms of writing. Whether it’s a good or bad thing I’m not sure, but I’ve not limited myself to a specific setup. Some days I’m listening to a techno drum loop on repeat for hours and other days I’m playing a heavily distorted guitar riff.

There’s some really nice analogue synths and a brilliant fuzzy guitar solo on the track, what gear did you use while recording? (Synths/ guitar pedals/ amps etc.)

A lot of the synths were done on the Behringer model D clone of the minimoog routed through a barrage of pedals. I’ve been trying to get a lot more tactile with my recording and production recently – getting the sound the way I want it from the source using analogue synths and effects, rather than recording a relatively dry sound and processing it with software which is not where near as inspiring. There’s a whole bunch of unintended mistakes/noise/distortion on the record but I feel like all those imperfections give it the character I wanted. It’s so easy to get carried away trying to record the most perfect cleanest take but it always feel so stale and lifeless.

The guitar is my lovely Fender Jazzmaster, again going through a heap of compression and then hitting a fuzz really hard – I think it was the JHS Crayon turned up to full? with a bunch of modulation and delay.

I’ve chatted to you about synths and samplers a few times – any time I’ve see you play with Blood Talk or Glitter Shop – Is there any piece of kit that you think is essential to your sound/ writing that you simply could not do without?

Autotune. (Haha)

No for these new songs it was probably my cheap vintage Arion analogue delay pedal. It’s got heaps of character so almost everything was sent through it. I could genuinely listen to a self-oscillating delay pedal for hours, I find textures and soundscapes so inspiring, so having things to hand instead of being inside a computer screen definitely helps me out.

What inspired Lady’ lyrically and musically? 

The chorus was actually written two years before the verses, straight up as just a hook I really liked. I sat on the song for a long time trying to figure things out and it wasn’t until earlier this year I really felt like I had something to say and wrote the verses. I guess it’s about learning how to deal with and navigate a difficult passage of your life whilst separately wanting to go out and indulge in what you think you need.

Is there more new Blood Talk to come and what’s the plan going forward? Will you be sticking to one sound or exploring different genres across upcoming material?

I’ve got another few songs in the pipeline, it’s just about finding the time to record them and put them out. It’s definitely going to span across more genres – some is heavily leaning towards the pop side of things, but other stuff will be straight up tech-house. The whole project is purely for my self-indulgence so I don’t feel any pressure to stick myself into a box. It’s liberating to know that one day I could wake up and write a pop song, and the next day spend 10 minutes listening to the same ambient synth drone.

When writing, what’s the process? How do tracks normally build? What sparks the creative process?

My songs usually come from a simple melody or riff when I’m fucking around with a new synth that I don’t know how to use yet. From there it’s just figuring out where I want to take it and what kind of feeling I want it to represent, or what context I’d actually want to listen to the song in. I do frustrate myself sometimes by listening to the same song on loop without taking it anywhere, but if you can push through and get over that hurdle it usually means it’s something worth keeping. I’ve never been a big music theory guy, a lot of my songs will just follow a chord structure that I think sounds pretty – I’ll have no idea what I’m actually playing, but I’m usually of the opinion that if it sounds good it is good.

Listen to the new tunes from Blood Talk below, and keep an eye out for more tunes in the coming months. Who knows what direction Barny is going to take the project in next!

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