Barzin is a longtime favourite and one of the best and most prolific musical artists working in the Canadian (and international) scene today.
The Canadian singer-songwriter has released four albums and is known for his melancholic, introspective, insightful lyrics, and rich layered compositions. Barzin’s work has been compared to Mazzy Star and Mojave 3. Begun as a solo endeavor in 1995, Barzin’s sound has evolved to include the regular contributions of Mike Findlay, Suzanne Hancock and Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers, yet across his music flows a natural and fluid progression that makes for a cohesive sound.
Barzin’s self-titled debut album came out in 2003 followed by the 2004 E.P. Songs for Hinah, 2006’s My Life in Rooms, 2009’s Notes to an Absent Lover and 2014’s To Live Alone in That Long Summer. The band has since drawn comparisons to Low, Red House Painters and Sparklehorse, the latter of whom Barzin covered on the moonpalace EP in 2014.
Barzin took some time out while preparing for his next tour to answer Step On’s inaugural installation of Questions for Musicians:
What are your current fixations?
Martin Amis. He’s a brilliant writer.
What are you listening to?
I’ve been spending time with the new Swans album. Still trying to decide whether or not I like it.
Why do you live where you do?
This is a city of neighbourhoods. A city of many cultures. I like the luxury of changing it up in the span of a few blocks. It gives me the illusion that I am cosmopolitan. A worldly traveler.
Definitely you guys. I go to Democracy Now and BBC to get my news.
Name something you consider a mind altering work of art.
Roberto Bolaneo’s 2666. It’s quite an achievement. A mysterious Frenchman recommended it to me. He said “Go read it. The whole world is in there.”
What record/tape/cd/digital format music album inspired you to take up music?
All the musical roads in my life seem to run through Dylan.
What advice should you have taken but did not?
Invest in gold.
What was the first LP/tape/CD you bought with your own money?
Scorpions – World Wide Live
How do you spoil yourself?
Candy, ice cream, chocolate bars always do it for me.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
They say it’s always dangerous to meet your idols because they are bound to disappoint you. But I don’t think I would be disappointed if any of the following people came over: Leonard Cohen. Raymond Carver. Christopher Hitchens. They are all brilliant minds, and they can also hold their liquor.
What is your favourite 90’s band(s)?
What is your favourite current band(s)?
Who is your favourite hero(es) of fiction?
What is your current mood?
What is your favourite occupation?
A wine taster.
What should people know about you?
I am a very good ping pong player.
What does the next 6 months look like for you?
A tour in Italy in May. Working on music for a soundtrack over the summer. Reading, reading, and more reading.
What are your 3 favourite films?
Transylvania, Lawrence of Arabia, and Last Tango in Paris.
Favourite TV shows/streaming shows?
The Wire, Top Of The Lake, Northern Exposure
What has been the most significant achievement you’ve had with your music so far?
I put a lot of time and energy in my last album (To Live Alone In That Long Summer). I am happy with the way it came together.
May 3rd – GLAMOUR, Catania
May 4th – MARIUS, Barcellona P.G. (ME)
May 5th – AL KENISA, En
May 6th – CLUSTER CLUB, Reggio Calabria
May 7th – SMAVV, Santa Maria A Vico (CE)
May 8th – MELKWEG, Terlizzi (BA)
May 9th – FERRO 3, Scafati (SA)
May 10th – Godot Art Bistrot, Avellino
May 11th – Bucolica, Terracina (LT)
May 12th – Degustazioni Musicali Umbria, San Gemini (TR)
May 15th – Twiggy, Varese
May 17th – Anfiteatro del Venda, Galzignano (PD)
May 18th – Ex Cinema Aurora, Livorno
May 20th – Bronson, Ravenna (w/ Micah P. Hinson)
May 21st – Sudwerk, Bolzano
May 22nd – Lago di Oz, Spinetoli (AP)