The latest beacon from our sister series Newtype Rhythms comes loaded with a hypnotic guest mix from Brooklyn’s very own John Barera; a DJ, label owner, producer who’s come off a standout year in his career.
Barera’s already got a plentiful resumé: releasing music on labels such as 2MR, Dolly, as well been pumping out releases for others on his Jack Dept. and Supply imprints (both which he co-runs with Volvox and Soren Jahan, respectively). Finding unearthed grooves within the realms of house and techno that blend together elegantly and efficiently.
The same can be said about his DJing, which is a delight to behold whenever he tours domestically or internationally. Something he’s planning to continue to do within the coming months. We spoke to Barera about those plans, his workflow, and what to look forward to with his special guest mix for Newtype Rhythms; his mix starts at around 43 minutes, with resident Sheepshead starting things up.
Interview by Mitch Strashnov Photography by Rochelle Fafone
"Looking back on my career I would say it is more about a feeling then a certain production method or piece of gear when I go to make a track."
It seems like 2017 was a busy year for you – multiple EP releases on different labels, multiple collaborations, a Boiler Room broadcast and most notably an LP on Mike Simonetti’s 2MR with Will Martin. That’s a lot of music to put out in a year! How did you manage to keep pumping out tracks while working full-time and touring?
For sure, a lot came to fruition for me recently, 2017 was a great year and I am very thankful for that. A lot of projects I had been working on saw release. I think it’s a reflection of staying busy in the studio and recording ideas as they come, and following through with the good ones.
The touring can feed into the studio time a bit, for example I bring inspiration back with me from special gigs or parties sometimes, and I will feel directly inspired to write something based on the energy I felt. This happened a lot on the album for 2MR, tracks like “Berlin By Daylight”, “Berlin By Candlelight” and “Night Train” were produced under those circumstances, working in airports and strange places. I only work on productions when inspiration strikes, but fortunately it seemed to strike a lot recently.
You’ve been releasing music for the better part of a decade now. What do you think has changed in terms of your approach when it comes to productions in the last few years?
Headspace and mindset are the most important studio variables to me. Looking back on my career I would say it is more about a feeling then a certain production method or piece of gear when I go to make a track, but getting a few key synths in the studio opened me up in the early days.
What has changed in the last years is my location and that really helped me turn over a new leaf with production. After setting up my studio in Brooklyn in 2016 I started feeling a lot happier with the results I was getting and was feeling better about my work overall. Maybe it was having all these talented artists around me and feeling inspired by them, but It was the most major change in my approach to production in the last years for sure.
Has releasing for a veritable amount of labels affected your production process in any way? Such as keeping towards guidelines or approaching tracks in a manner where you’d like to acquiesce to specific melodics or rhythms per the parameters of a label’s sound. Or do you prefer to let things flow naturally and see how you can manoeuvre around it?
I like to let things flow for sure; it helps to work with a label run by someone who is your friend. I have been lucky many times where that has been the case. With a lot of the releases I have done I tend to let tracks happen naturally in the studio, to go back and reflect on new demos over time.
After carefully listening back to them a lot, then I think about how to arrange my favourites into a coherent EP. For the most part my studio process has just been to make the music that feels good in the moment, and eventually show it to labels that it might fit on. Or to my own label partners. I don’t think I have ever sat down to write a track with the intention of writing it for specific label, unless I was already working on an album project with a label or got a remix offer.
What does John Barera have in store for 2018 after an expansive 2017?
My main focus will be on my labels and DJing for 2018, we have some really exciting new artists for the Jack Dept. label that we are looking forward to unveiling, it should be a great year for us, and for our party as well. I also have an ambitious release on Supply Records, something special that I am really excited about, plus a remix I have been working on for a well-known duo that should be fun.
Finally, tell us about this mix for Newtype Rhythms?
I wanted to showcase some of my favourite artists and some techno tracks I love and have been playing in the last months across my recent EU and US tours. This mix reflects my time recently playing in some unique spaces and some closing sets where I really got to play on big systems and stretch out. It’s nice to play sets that are tailored to rooms of different sizes and I have really been enjoying the opportunity to get to play in these varied spaces. In this mix there are some more hard hitting tracks and others are more deep, to pace things out.
00:00 – 43:15 – Mixed by Sheepshead
1. Nocow – Aero NT-54
2. Tzusing – Post-Soviet Models
3. Peverelist – Undulate
4. Troy Gunner – Echolalia
5. Wen – Finesse
6. Orphx – Zero Hour
7. Deniro – Trader
8. Takaaki Itoh – Wisher
9. Planetary Assault Systems – GT (Function & Jerome Sydenham Remix)
10. Cleric x Setoac Mass – Madame Butterfly
11. Midland – Bring Joy
43:16 – END – Mixed by John Barera
1. Ambivalent – Cipher
2. Shawn Rudiman – Ultrafrequey
3. Stojche – The Exchange
4. The Fear Ratio – Mas
5. PTA – Untitled
6. Laurent Garnier – Wake Up
7. Lil’ Tony – Anton’s Groove Part II
8. Vin Sol – Moonchild
9. Volte-Face – Blatchington Mill (Wata Igarashi Stairway Remix)
10. Echoplex – The Relapse
11. Marcel Dettmann – Translation One
12. Joris Voorn – 500 Models (Demo Mix)
13. Function – Disaffected
Discover more about John Barera on Inverted Audio.