Casey Barnes has a chat to Jen and more tour dates announced! See tour poster below and get your tix at www.caseybarnes.com.au.
Casey Barnes tells us about the upcoming tour “I feel like it is the right time to keep touring! I feel beyond excited, you know, restrictions have finally been lifted and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. So, we’re just excited to be back playing any venue at the moment, and we want to get back and play at as many places as we possibly can.”
I love interviewing artists that are popular within a genre that I don’t usually listen to. As you will read below, country music like Casey Barnes is closer to the pop genre. I really enjoyed researching and listening to Casey’s music.
Jen : Hi Casey, I’ve been really busy over the last few days during research on you and listening to your many tracks, but everything our found was all good. I don’t usually listen to the country music genre, but I’ve realized how close it is to pop music.
Casey: Well, we sort of figure we come under the country umbrella, but if we are looking at a spectrum where we sit, we are right on the edge of that crossover, you know, similar to, I guess, Keith and Morgan Evans. And that’s we are getting quite a bit of commercial radio play in there too. So yeah, so we sort of, we have to like, you know, sometimes you’ll get punters, that’ll come up to you and they might not necessarily be country music fans. They will say I don’t usually like country music, but I bloody like your stuff.
Jen: Yes. That’s exactly how I feel! (both laughing!). I was listening and watching your music video for your single “Better Days”. And it was actually quite informative to me because it gave me a real insight of what you’ve actually done as an artist.
Casey: Ah yeah, cool. That was literally put together with just videos from on the road. Bits and pieces that we collated over the last few years and we slapped it together and made it into a video clip. We are very lucky to do a lot of traveling and all the shows. This is all pre COVID world. We toured the US and we have been pretty lucky.
Jen: Yeah. Actually funny, you should mention COVID because I realized when I was listening to that song and the video is kind of like a prediction that 2019 will always be remembered with affection as the year before the world went crazy and we couldn’t have any live music. Did you ever think of it that way when you look back at 2019?
Casey :I just, I look back at when that happened and then all the 2020, just with real mixed feelings. Like a lot of, if you asked most musicians, they would be on the bandwagon of, you know, being very negative towards last year. But funnily enough, I had some of the best things happening in my career last year, which would just, you know, I through, I guess, taking a risk at the time, you know, we we’d come off the back of 2019 and had plans to go back to the States and I’d spent a small fortune on getting an visa so that I could legally get back across there and sign with a big agency in Nashville. And we had all these grand plans. So obviously I had to put all of that on hold and had the album all ready to go and ready for release early last year as well.
And then COVID hit and we had to make a call at the time. Do we still put it out or do we put it on hold? And with a lot of artists for all their release on hold, we went the other way. And we thought, look, you know, we’ve worked this hard to get where we are, people still going to be listening to music. So let’s put it out and let’s, let’s get a little bit creative with how we do it. And it ended up working really well and you know, it’ll got my first day, the Aria nomination, four golden guitars. And it’s someone had suggested that in 2019, I would have struggled to get my head around believing it. So it had to positives as it turned out.
Jen: Yeah, yeah, sure did. I went last Sunday to my first live gig, probably for the good part of two years due to COVID being in Melbourne our lockdown was like lasted forever. Yeah. so being in the front row for the bad love, was like one of the best experiences.
Casey :He’s got one of my favorite voices in Australian music, Michael Spiby.
Jen: Yeah he has! I interviewed him sometime last year, cause I released or was it the year before? Oh God. And I released a new song and cause I, in my twenties, all I did was go to pubs and see the Badloves. Yes. That’s basically what I can remember. I mean, I had a couple of kids as well, but that’s not important. [ both laughing] Yeah, I’d forgotten how like live music was just a shot of pure happiness for me that lasts for days and days. Like I’m still on a high from it. How did you cope with not being able to give that experience to people?
Yeah, it’s a good question. It’s my, a lot of you mind if I didn’t say it’s my favorite part of the whole process you know, I love when creating and I love writing about getting the studio and recording that there’s, it’s hard to be taking songs out and playing on getting that raw reaction from the crowd and the connection you get from a crowd. And you just cannot beat that feeling. And I think that’s one thing that I would say my most musicians and artists would get out of last year is learning how much we need to appreciate that now that we can go back doing it because it was, yeah, it was really hard. You know, cause I didn’t assign any while extremes you can do in front of the computer, you know, I did it, but it was just different medium and on much prefer getting on a stage, you know, we’ve been lucky, well really towards the end of last year, we got to go out and do other regional Queensland tour.
Thanks to actually thanks to Arts Queensland. I we’re reminding him we’ve got a small grant, which we were able to put towards just getting us out into some of those remote communities, just to inject a bit of positivity and aspect out on the road. And it was the best thing. So, you know, we, we had to adapt and dancing definitely wasn’t allowed and we were on a pretty heady COVID restrictions, but at least we got to go on tour. So we were lucky to do that. And then so far this yearwe’ve actually we have been in Adelaide, we g, which was great the other week, we did Tassie, which was huge down in Tassie. And then we just came back from Way Up West with Darryl Braithwait, Shephard and a few others. And that was amazing. That was great, but really that side. And we’re actually about to announce on Tuesday quite an extensive through that, we’re going to kick off you know, through, till the end of July, we’re going to be going all over the place. So that’s exciting. Yeah.
Jen: I was going to ask you, did you feel that you use your time wisely in lockdown, but I don’t think I need to ask you that now!
Casey: [ both laughing] We had a mantra or the decision that we made is that we’ve got to give it a go and we were pretty committed, we gonna need to push as hard as we can and get creative and try different things and work harder than we’ve ever worked. And that’s sort of what we tried to do. And it was frustrating not being able to tour, but yeah, we do got a good result of the inside.
Jen: Yeah. And people, as you say, people still needed to listen to music. In fact, I think I listen to music so much more.
Casey: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Jen: Yeah. I was remote teaching for nearly two terms and while I was teaching, I had music going, cause I didn’t have to talk to the kids. I just had to type it was great!
So you’ve just released a super catchy single ‘Come and Turn Me On’ it’s a bit of an instant mood lifter, and I think alot of people need to hear that right now. Can you take me through the process of writing that song?
Casey: Yeah. it was sort of came about or giving birth I guess in the midst of, you know, where we were at last year. And I did a heck of, a lot of writing, even though the current album was out. I was still sort of writing all the songs, doing a lot of co-writing and formed a really great friendship and relationship with two writers in Nashville. They’re actually in a country duo in the States called Brown and Gray and I got introduced to them a couple of years ago when I was over in the States and we hit it off straightaway and we actually wrote two tracks on the current album called ‘Sparks Fly’ and another one’s called ‘We’re Good together’. And funnily enough, they were the first ones to number ones at country radio here in Australia. So, we definitely had a really good chemistry going on and you know, writing formula with the three of us. So, we thought we’d keep going and, and comes from the other ones that we wrote, it just felt like the perfect song for kickstart the year and a good one for radio and a good one for a live set too.
Jen; True. And I like the meaning of the song about a guy that wants to return to the one he loves because so many popular songs are about casual hookups.
Casey: I do write a lot of my songs that have drawn on real life experiences and this one, this one sort of touches on it, but it’s, it’s more about a person that’s gone out, they’ve been around the world. I’ve seen what’s on offer. And I guess they that’s made them realize that there is nothing better than, you know, what is back at home. And so yeah, that’s the gist behind it.
Short interlude while Australia post brings a parcel for Michelle
Jen: It’s funny. I was just about to mention Michelle. So she had a vision for your music video for ‘Come Turn Me On and tell her, I thought she had a really great idea because it came across as this big, huge party in different settings. Does she often work with you? Does she often have an input in what you’re doing? Cause if it was me and my hubby, we would probably argue.
Casey: We, we actually met through the music industry, we’ve actually been married 16 years this year and she’s also a singer as well. And so we met through the music industry initially and she sort of moved to be creative side now, and she sort of does a lot of big corporate events and that sort of thing. And so she’s amazing at concepts and ideas and she, yeah, she does have a lot to do with you know, the creative for a lot of my clips and it will be different with this video because you know, you don’t want to do the same old formula with every clip that you do. So we had this concept of this is an amazing location in Brisbane called the Smoke Garage, which is a three level actually used to be an abandoned warehouse and a guy bought it and just transformed it into this incredible event space. And it’s a bar as well. And, you can hire it out for at night, we managed to convince him to let us have it for a night and we just get, we went for a big party up there, I guess. And Michelle had a lot to do with, you know, the choreography and telling me what I had to do behind the camera. And I did what I was told. [both laughing]
Jen: That’s great. I’ve got to ask you about opening for Mariah Carey. That’s an artist that I’ve never really warmed to. But you got to show your talent to such a larger audience. How did that actually come about?
Casey: So that’s a good question. It’s a two part answer, it came about because initially back in 2005 it goes back to some of the best advice that I was ever given when I first started. And it was pretty simple and that was, you know, whenever you’re doing a gig, it doesn’t matter how big or small it is, you never know, who’s sitting in the crowd listening and you know, it was always really good to have that in the back of your mind. And, you know, I had one of those exact situations happen. I applied a little gig and a guy approached me and passed my details on to of all people, Johnny Eales who used to captain the Australian rugby team. And Johnny Eales also ran, because he retired from fighting rugby and he was running corporate events around the country that coincided with big rugby games.
And so they had used Pete Murray previously for the gigs and Pete then had got signed to Sony and he released his album and the rest was history. So they were looking for someone with a similar sort of sound. So I got lucky. And so I did those. Got to know Johnny really well and he’s just such a generous and lovely bloke and he wanted to help me in basically putting in a good word.Michael Newton who runs A Day on the Green. And I got a call when I, at the time I thought it was a prank call or, you know a crazy call from a radio station. It was not! I initially got the support for Brian Adams. That was the first big break I got. And that went incredibly well.
And so, I always sort of stayed in touch with them and then Mariah Carey came out, this was a few years later. And so, I just sent Michael and email and I said, if you ever need anyone for any of these upcoming shows, let me know. A spot came up for Mariah Carey and we landed that one too. So, it was very different experiences like Brian Adams such a warm and lovely guy, like he actually got my wife out of the crowd in the middle of the show up on stage and they sang and it is still the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in a gig. They sang Baby, When your Gone” as Sporty Spice and they sang that together and pulled the house down. So it’s the coolest, I’ll tell you. He was awesome. With Mariah Carey she came with a very professional entourage and drove up into motorcade and literally before she went on stage, they pulled it up to the side of the stage and she gets out. So I did not get the chance to sit backstage have a chat, unfortunately, but it was still good.
Jen: Yeah. it’s funny, I’ve heard quite a few artists say that about playing a show to a smaller crowd just as if you know, it was a huge one and how good things have actually come from that.
Casey :Absolutely. Always when you least expect it, cause I’ve been doing it for so long now you start to learn a lot of lessons and I’m one of those, one of those lessons is ometimes you can push really, really hard for something. But it might not happen. And not that sometimes it will happen when you least expect it. So you told about timing and that’s even right down to, you know, when I got signed to Chugg music and Michael Chugg being my manager. You know, I have loved Chugg for many years and I have always been very keen to have him as my manager and with the timing, you know, was not right, I didn’t have the songs back then and all, I didn’t have a few other things that were able to develop the last few years that have got me to where I am now, which was, you know, at the time when I did sign with Chuggy, it was definitely was the right timing and, and he has been incredible. I cannot speak highly enough about the guy who is just so passionate about Australian music and loves these artists and, and he’s, he’s amazing.
Jen: Oh, that’s brilliant. So just one last quick question, you said that you’ve got a tour coming up on that you got announced on Tuesday. Can you tell me how you are feeling about this?
Casey: I feel like it is the right time to keep touring! I feel beyond excited, you know, restrictions have finally been lifted and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. So, we’re just excited to be back playing any venue at the moment, and we want to get back and play at as many places as we possibly can.
Jen: Great news about the tour. Hope it all goes well. Thanks for answering a few questions, Casey.
Casey: Thanks Jen