barnes interviewed by mieke frank of M3 Event (netherlands)

1. First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, and what it is that you do?
i'm a songwriter/musician/performer/engineer.

2. Many people have claimed that there is no longer any money in record sales, and that touring is the most efficient way to earn an income as a band. How much truth do you think there is in this sentiment?
personally i don't think there is any truth to it. those kind of macro statements are pretty difficult to prove, and where the work is actually getting done, from where i sit, the result would be that an artist or entity will have to find their own way. to say that no one can make money off records and everyone will have to make money off of touring is an invalid statement. it depends on the artist, time in question, and various other factors. in other words, if you directly copy someone else's business model, odds are you will probably go broke.

3. Which alternatives for musicians to earn money through record sales seem most promising and will prevail in the future?
i don't have any answer for that. to me, it boils down to ideas. i'm interested in ideas. it seems to me that the world would be benefitted if musicians would just get busy making things and stop trying to predict the future like that. try it and see, if it doesn't work, try something else.

4. What do you think about DIY (do-it-youself) practices, such as fan-funding?
i'm all for DIY, but it's so cheap to do stuff, why bother someone else with that?

5. What benefits and/or disadvantages have arisen from this distribution method? Would you say this method is a realistic possibility for the future of music distribution?
i don't think anything has really risen that is going to solve any of these issues you bring up. folks are trying different stuff and that's cool, that's what creative folks are supposed to do, take creative approaches to things. i think the best response an artist can have is to make the best music they can make.

6. What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
well i'm a big believer in use. what is something designed for? [in sort of a swedenborgian sense]. if i'm trying to carry 1000 songs with me in as small a place as possible i'm going with mp3. my preferred method is cassette because that's my particular frame of reference. i'm a vinyl fan as well. if you listen to a poor idea on a great sounding format, that isn't going to help you very much. if i listen to a fantastic song made on a warbly four track, for some reason, it still sounds fantastic! which leads me to believe that the crux of the biscuit is the idea, and not the trappings.

7. Much has been made of the supposed death of the record store in recent years. Do you believe the digital age has killed the record store, and if so, do you think that this is a necessary part of progression, or a tragic loss?
i don't really have emotion about it one way or the other. there are some great record stores out there and they seem to be always packed so…there you go. i don't think anything has killed anything. i'm finding all kinds of great new music on vinyl and tape. just like when i was 14. i'm 50 now. so, in a sense, nothing has changed.

8. Do you feel that the abundance of recorded music that is easily available on the internet has led people to place more importance on the live experience as the ‘authentic’ way to hear music?
no i don't. i suppose i'm a bit of a post-structuralist in that it would depend on whom you asked. i don't really think these macro trends "mean" anything other than the simple function they serve. if there is an abundance of easily available recorded music, that just means there is an abundance of easily available recorded music. a=a.

9. In your opinion, to what extent should copyright be enforced? Do you believe that downloading and sharing music, as well as remixing it for non commercial purposes should be illegal?
that's a really good question and i don't know the answer.
i would like to hope that the system will morph to help encourage folks to come up with things. but i wouldn't expect that to happen in a macro sense. i know i have devoted my whole work life basically to making up ideas, researching and developing ideas. i know it takes a long long time for an idea to economically compensate the creator. i know i have seen others take ideas i have developed and make lots of money on them. but i suppose i'm too busy making my next batch of ideas to get to worked up about all that one way or the other.

10. Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
no i don't. principally because myself and my friends and most anyone that i can think of that is smart or interesting, seems to view records in the complete state. so i don't see this undermining and forgetting as being any reality that i can relate to.

11. How has the internet affected what you do? Would you say it’s made your job easier, or more difficult?
well to me it's just just a medium. like if the post office suddenly started coming to your house on a laser motorcycle seventy times a day, you still have to write the letter. you still have to make good ideas and find good ideas. so i would say, things are pretty much exactly the same as they have always been, we still have to work to find good stuff. one thing that is different, is there is an incredible proliferation of mediocre or half-baked concepts that must be waded through. that's new. but it's still about as hard as ever to find the really good music/ideas. and also, the Mechanism has perfected the art of promoting stupidity as a lifestyle, so that is a quite formidable adversary in terms of good/useful/interesting ideas, but creative people always find creative answers, that's what they are here for.