Barry Can’t Swim is an Edinburgh-born, London-based producer renowned for his trademark blend of skilfully crafted electronic production, mixing a whole host of genres including jazz inspired strings and keys. With a splendid back catalogue under his belt, the young producer further cements his name within the electric music scene, announcing his brand new EP entitled More Content dropping on Ninja Tune’s imprint Technicolour. The record channels fluidity and flow found within a live performance, containing four unique tracks, ranging from the ‘Lone Raver’-inspired opener “God Is The Space Between Us” featuring singer Taite Imogen, to the more nostalgic and melancholic tones of “Can We Still Be Friends” featuring fellow hotshot Laurence Guy. Reminiscent of the lively vigour of recent single “Blackpool Boulevard”, the new release is set to mark 2022 as a milestone year for Barry Can’t Swim, as he continues to garner a serious amount of attention across the UK. Out on 24th June, we caught up with the youngstar to gain a deeper insight into More Content.
“Musically it’s a reflection of my changing moods at that time, each tune is very different and I think each triggers a different kind of emotional response that reflects where I was at then.”
Congratulations on your forthcoming EP ‘More Content’, how are you feeling ahead of release?
Im gassed. it’s nearly a year since my debut EP dropped and I feel as though my influences have changed a bit since then, especially now clubs have reopened, so I can’t wait to get it out.
Can you explain the overall meaning behind the EP?
Each tune has a different meaning really, but in terms of the title it’s a play on words about my experience while I was writing the music. When I wrote this over lockdown I realised that I was writing more music and committing more time to the project to distract and feel in a better headspace. I was creating more content in order to feel more content. Musically it’s a reflection of my changing moods at that time, each tune is very different and I think each triggers a different kind of emotional response that reflects where I was at then.
The EP cover art is super eye catching, what’s the inspiration behind this?
Ah man I love it, the designers at Ninja smashed it! I’d love to tell you I’ve got a garden of eye flowers I tend to every day but there’s no deeper meaning to it, just looks sick and is colourful, playful and surreal which is a good representation of the music. I think the best artwork looks how the music sounds.
In terms of production, when did you record the EP and did lockdown have an impact?
Last year, most of it during that proper grim January, bit depressing that haha. I think it definitely influenced the writing, this EP is darker than what I would usually write, but it’s also uplifting at points for sure. Making these tunes was a total escape for me at that time so it makes sense there are these uplifting moments, although that wasn’t a conscious thing when writing it.
Describe your new EP in three words.
Wee bit sad.
“This is my favourite tune on the EP. I sometimes try and have an emotion in mind that I want to convey before I start working on a tune and this one I think sounds exactly like “Sonder”. It all started with a sample I chopped up and just built it from there really. I kept the drums organic, as I didn’t want to take focus away from the beautiful sample and vocal.”
“Can We Still Be Friends (with Laurence Guy)”
“I’ve been a fan of Laurence for years and by chance I bumped into him in a pub in Dalston. We got chatting — he had a studio round the corner from there and we ended up going in and mucking about. It was born from there really. It all came about quite organically, pretty old school. We both brought different things to the tune and I think you can hear that. I did the keys and harps, Laurence the drums and bass, and combined effort on the vocals. I like that it sounds like both of us. Since then, we did a b2b at Fabric in January and going be closing one of the stages at Lost Village this year which is gonna be unreal. He’s a top boy.”
“God Is The Space Between Us (Ft. Taite Imogen)“
“This is the first tune I made from this EP (I think). I was watching the film Before Sunrise and there’s a great scene in it where she talks about connection. She says ‘You know I believe if there’s any kind of God, it wouldn’t be in any of us. Not you or me, but just, this little space in between’. That really stuck with me for a while and was the main inspiration behind this one. Musically I wanted to convey that feeling, so it was a conscious effort to write something nostalgic, reflective and a little sad. Lyrically too.”
“Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore”
“This was the last one I wrote on the EP, heavily influenced by gigging and playing in clubs. I only played my first club show at the end of August and was listening to loads of club tunes over that time when I first started DJing. I live in east London after moving down from Scotland and you always hear people cutting about with boomboxes blasting jungle and breaks. It got me thinking about all the different genres that London has influenced, jungle, dubstep, breaks, garage, endless really. So this was my attempt at combining elements of all of those genres and trying to blend them into one big piece of dance music built for clubs.”