all photos of Irene Barber by Off White photography
When looking for a guitarist with all of Joan Jett’s gutsy goodness, we had to look no further than Irene Barber. Though most known for her collaborative efforts, Barber is currently gearing up for her debut solo release. She took time out of her busy schedule to chat (and pose for this shoot at Ballard’s own Tractor Tavern) about Erik Blood, easy load-ins and her first foray into choreography.
How long have you been in Seattle? How long have you been playing music?
This is my 12th year in Seattle. I’ve been playing music here for 10 years now.
How would most folks know your work?
Probably through my old band XVIII Eyes – we played together for about 6 years. And I currently play with Dust Moth and Erik Blood.
What’s your day job?
I do design for a restaurant discovery service.
You are currently working with Erik Blood as a duo – Erik describes you as his “band”? Can you talk a little about that experience? How does it differ from other projects you’ve worked on?
Yes, the band is just me and the laptop. Load in is a cinch. It’s been fun being able to fly out for one-off shows so easily.
I fell in love with his stuff when he had the full band, so I was really excited when he brought me on to perform his new material. It’s been amazing to work with him, and he’s become a good friend. It differs from other projects mainly from a live aspect. It’s just the two of us up there with guitars and the backing track. Kevin’s visuals provide another dimension to the live experience as well. It’s also the first time I’ve incorporated choreographed dance moves into a performance.
You’re also venturing into solo territory? Is it your first time working as a solo artist? What can we expect on this record?
Yes. I’ve only played in bands, or collaborated with other musicians on their projects. It’s been really good for me. I sat down to write without any expectations. I just wanted to trust that what was coming out was what it was supposed to be in that very moment.
I’ve finished demos for an EP, heading into the studio soon. I’d say the vibe is dark yet tender. I’ve kind of grown attached to the rough sound of them, but I’m intentionally bringing them into the studio without a plan of execution. I’m going to work with Erik, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we elevate them. The final production will be just as much a surprise to me.
Irene Barber plays April 16 w/ Erik Blood and Partman Parthorse at Barboza