Prove your humanity

Playing the final set on the O-Day main stage; Ali Barter and her band jetted out to WA for a few days from Melbourne to do a gig and shoot a music video for a single off her upcoming album. Having a big year behind her and an LP set to be released in a month; Barter is ready to kick off touring again.

Being at the music game for five years, Barter says 2017 feels like the next step.

“I don’t get blown around by excitement too much anymore, I don’t get really high or excited,” she says.

“It sounds like an anti-climax but it’s actually a really nice place to be because it’s so easy in music to get your tires pumped up so much.

“But now I feel like I am just doing the next thing as it comes along.”

Studying music whilst at university, Barter met her drummer – who she bonded over getting lost in class with.

“The drummers and the singers are the dumb-arses of the music degree because [drummers] play time, and singers don’t really have an instrument; so, we don’t know the technical—well there are some that do.”

Barter later met the rest of her band via the “big” Melbourne music scene.

‘’There is a big music scene, so we swap players and these guys have just stuck around.”

“Because ‘A’—they are easy to get around with, and ‘B’—really good at what they do.”

When asked whether the Melbourne music scene taught Barter more than her time at university, Barter says her time at university was still useful for meeting people.

“I was classically trained and in choirs for years until I was 16; then by the time I was 21 and when I wanted to play music I didn’t know anyone—I didn’t know anyone who played drums or guitar.”

“So I didn’t have that band experience, and when I went to uni; I got all that, and it opened a whole new world of music to me.”

During university, Barter started playing open mic nights; playing and writing songs with others who would do the same thing.

“It was a crew of people that would go to them all the time. We would get up and sing our songs we written that day to each other.”

“We would hack them out badly because that’s what mic nights are for—it’s for people starting out and those who aren’t necessarily getting booked for gigs.”

Having come a long way from her university days and now set to release her first LP next month, Barter says it’s a relief to finally get the record finished.

“I am really proud of the record. It sounds the way I want it to sound, and is a good reflection of me and where I am at now.”

Barter had to wait for the right moment to make the album—reasoning that the album didn’t have the right number of songs or feel.

“Over the past five years I’ve wanted to do an album before, I haven’t had enough songs—they’ve ended up being EP’s or hasn’t been quite my sound.”

“I’m glad it wasn’t the right time, because now I am prepared—I don’t feel conflicted, or scared, or overexcited about it; it just feels like a really good thing to do.”

With the album soon to be well out of the way, the prospect of touring again is what Barter most looks forward to; the unpredictable nature of gigs being the best aspect about them.

“When you are in the studio you explore songs in a very contained way. You’ll put the guitar line down and it’s always going to be that guitar line.”

“When you play a gig; one time you play a guitar line like that, it’s completely fucking different. You might sing a song a different way, and that’s what I am excited about the most at the moment.”

When asked what advice she should give to aspiring musicians, Barter says it’s all about writing songs.

“I would say just keep doing it; keep writing songs. Just write songs, songs, songs, and songs.”

“Sometimes I look back at stuff I have done and go ‘that wasn’t very good’. That’s self-doubt and self-editing, you have got to ignore that and just keep going.