Barnes Composes Original Scores

by Holly Gilbert
Contributing Writer

If you ask Michael Barnes about his music, he’ll probably smile shyly and ask what you want to know.

My own series of questions began this way with the 23-year-old college student, who has been recording his music for over 9 years but remains rather modest about his work.

Turning to music as a subject in more general terms, he begins to open up. “It takes me out of reality,” he says.

As a solo musician, Barnes has created his own musical reality from an eclectic array of sounds, with instruments ranging from bass guitar to vocals. He writes his own lyrics, which he says are “a reflection of my daily thoughts and emotions,” a response which explains the authenticity behind each song. His inspirations are drawn from a range of other solo musicians, including Tori Amos, Susanne Vega and, his most admired artist, Nine Inch Nails.

Although it is hard for Barnes to define his music within the realm of one specific genre, he chooses to identify it as Industrial Rock or Alternative Metal. Interestingly, all of Barnes’s music is self-produced: he acts as the drummer, the guitarist, the vocalist and whatever other role the song requires him to play. Using his skills with computer music programs, he combines all of these individual recordings to create professional quality songs, the first collection of which he released in an album called “Breaking Through” in 2006.

In Barnes’s music, the vocals emerge as the key player among his instrumental elements. Honest and unashamed, songs like “The Human Machine” embody the emotions of a college student restrained by the monotony of daily routine.

The strong, steady rhythms of electric guitar and drumbeats reflect the theme of the song and create their own narration beneath the lyrics. It echoes of heavy metal with just the right amount of sensitivity to generate the passionate sound unique to this solo artist.

Want to hear the music for yourself? A visit to his MySpace page (www.myspace.com/michaelbarnes) will provide you with several songs you can play right on your computer, and you can also visit his personal website, michaelbarnesmusic.com. Online, Barnes has a worldwide fan-base, with people as far away as Russia writing to tell him the ways in which they relate to his music.

His goals for the future include becoming more well-known at the local level, and he asks that anyone wanting to get involved in a band contact him at mabarnes09@transy.edu.

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