Behind every song, there is a story – and we intend to share them.
On chatting to Steven Barnard, lead man for Sydney-side folk collective Arbori, it’s clear that his love of music goes above and beyond your average crush.
Crowned with the title of “one of Sydney’s most exciting young bands”, Arbori have been making the rounds sharing their unique brand of instrumental whimsy across Australia.
Collaborating closely with a select group of musicians and dancers to create a truly unique aesthetic, Barnard manages to produce beautifully crafted songs that echo a calming sense of enchantment and romance.
A rare honesty is found within Barnard’s work that can only be attributed to his life long love affair with music.
“As a boy I would requested to sing a solo’s in the church sunday school musical. I just loved performing. There is home video footage of me singing Monty Pythons “Lumberjack Song” dressed in a flanno, sucking on lollie pop like its my crux for performance anxiety. I used to write music on empty staff and request my mother to play it ignoring her insistence that it was incomprehensible. I’d make up songs constantly, a habit I gleaned from the adults around me who lived life by the rhythm of a melody.”
Moving on from the comedy stylings of Monty Python to the embrace of instrumental adventure, Barnard began to grow and so too did his music.
“I played piano for a short while as a boy but as a teenager found the social aspects of guitar far more enchanting and empowering. Learning to write came as immediately as learning to play. I found my way into a punk ska band that toured around the east coast from 2001-2005 but eventually wandered back to the folk pop roots my dad brought me up on.”
And so Arbori was born – the culmination of Barnard’s musical journey so far.
But what about Barnard’s emotional journey? Well, some of that story is revealed in his latest track In the Place You Fold.
“In every romantic relationship there are elements of dissatisfaction. Be they physical, emotional, social, spiritual, big or small, loved or hated, they are there. This song is about a time where I decided to fall in love with those dissatisfaction’s rather than let trite idiosyncrasies define beauty. Only when you fall for imperfections can intimacy be a moment of indulgence where all else is irrelevant and undesirable.”
For Barnard, the writing process for In the Place You Fold came much easier than the thought of releasing the track.
“I wrote it because I had to. I needed to find the truth that was in the song but I didn’t know what it was. In writing it I found a peace I’d needed for some time. I don’t share every song I write with ‘the world’. Some are very private. This one I almost have feelings of regret about releasing as its about someone else who is still alive and has her own connections to the song. That’s a hard thing for me to face as a songwriter. I hope that for ‘the world’ In the Places You Fold would encourage solidarity and intimacy in love.”
And it certainly does just that.
Despite being personal memories of Barnard’s, the song transcend individual experience and connects so succinctly with the listener, to bridge the gap between performer and audience.
Barnard’s success doesn’t stop with one song however.
Arbori is set to continue to gain momentum and reputation as one of Sydney’s most engaging and emotive new acts with the release of their debut EP and dance film project “Polar Bear Swim‟ (Nov 2012).
You can check out In the Places You Fold and more stuff from Arbori via their Facebook page or via the links below.