Brothers Henry and John Tydeman, aka Barbara have just released their second single 'These New Communications' via Raygun Music.
The glorious, sun-drenched track sounds straight out of 1970's California, and is a rich kaleidoscope of instrumentation, full of golden harmonies and a chorus that is nigh on impossible to get out of your head. Taking their lead musically from an eclectic set of influences that range from Glam Pop to Broadway, Barbara make classic, irresistible pop music with a literary and intellectual approach that firmly marks them out as ones to watch.
With a noticeably American influence, Barbara's lyrics are lyrics are quintessentially British. Infused with the inquisitive, satirical spirit of Harold Pinter, George Orwell and Ray Davies, they consider these fractious political times and address the technological revolution we’re living through.
We had the opportunity to speak with the pair on the new release and more as part of our Introducing series...
Introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about you guys!
"We're two brothers, Henry & John, from Brighton. We put out our first single, 'BRB', earlier this year and our second track is out now too. It's called 'These New Communications'. We love lyricists like Ray Davies and Neil Hannon, and we've tried to write songs about fairly serious themes like AI technology and the rise of the internet and social media. But it's not as drab as it sounds, honestly! Paul Steel, who produces our music, is a legend - The Guardian once called him 'The second coming of Brian Wilson', true story! - and he brings his own magic to the songs in the studio. We have an amazing band that joins us on the recordings and on stage too."
How did you meet and when did you start making music together?
"As kids we had a Beatles song book with simple chords for the piano that we played and played and played. I think we still have it somewhere... all kids starting on the piano should have one. Those songs changed our lives."
Is there a story or meaning behind the band name?
"We wanted a popular name from around the mid-twentieth century; so much of the music we love is from that era, especially the '60s and '70s, and Barbara seemed perfect. There's so much wonderful culture from those years still available to us now, fashion, books, everything. We never want to come across as old-fashioned, but a name that calls back to the era that has had such an influence on us works quite nicely we reckon!"
What's your favourite thing about your hometown?
"We love Brighton. There are so many bands and people whose lives are defined by music, that it's the perfect place for us to be."
Who are your biggest inspirations, musically?
"For John it'd be The Divine Comedy, ABBA and ELO, and I [Henry] love The Kinks, Randy Newman and Blur. I think you can probably hear this in our music, little bits and pieces of our favourites all mixed up together. Both of us love lyrics that have a point to them, that make you think, but of course equally as important is melody, catchy choruses, all that jazz. You need both to make the perfect pop song!"
Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with?
"We love The Lemon Twigs. Getting two sets of brothers together would be amazing! Matt Maltese is great too, and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard. We know all those guys love the same bands and artists as us, but they're doing their own thing too, not just harking back to those golden days but sounding fresh and interesting and like twenty-first century artists too!"
You’ve just released your second single ‘These New Communications’! How has the reaction been so far?
"Great, I think! People seem to really be into it, asking us about the lyrics and stuff, which means a lot as it means there's something in there that people are responding to, or are at least intrigued by. It also made it onto a couple of editorial playlists in Japan, which we were delighted with!"
Tell us a little about it!
"The words are all about social media and how it sometimes feels like the world's going slowly mad because of it. No one predicted there would be anything bad about the internet when it was first invented; most people thought it was only ever going to be a brilliant thing that brought people together in the world. It's not all bad, of course, but it does seem now that people are angrier, and more unhappy, and more people believe in nonsense conspiracy theories as a direct result of the time they spend online. Not sure how we fix it..."
What’s coming next for you guys?
"We'll put out another track later in the year, and obviously can't wait to get back onstage as and when venues open up. There's a live stream Great Escape show in July and we're playing Isle of Wight Festival in September."
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