On the latest edition of The Downbeat Podcast, Craig Reynolds welcomed whom he referred to as one of his favorite lyricists in the game in Jesse Barnett of Stick To Your Guns and Trade Wind. The former are set to release their third LP, The Day We Got What We Deserved.
The longtime friends began the episode by trading subtleties and talking about how this particular episode of the podcast has been long in the making. After discussing the animal rescues that Jesse works with and the sarcasm requisite to be on Twitter, Jesse revealed a very personal story about Tom Searle from Architects. He shared that he only has one email favorited in his inbox and it’s from the departed Tom. In the email Tom actually sent over a breakdown that he wrote for Architects but felt it was much more appropriate for Stick To Your Guns. He essentially gave them an instrumental breakdown. Jesse was proud to say that the band finally used that gift from Tom on their upcoming new record.
The conversation segued into a bit more poignant talking points when the idea of art living on after death was broached. That would eventually lead into a back and forth that spanned from narcissism and ego to a loose comparison of trying psychedelics to doing homework. (It’s one of those discussion you have hear to connect the dots.
Trading their own personal experiences with academia, the guys came to the conclusion that school, at least early on, never really piqued their interest in terms of curriculum. While Jesse confided that he found reading later on in life, he came to the very pragmatic conclusion that reading is great if it’s about something you’re interested in. As for Craig, his MO during school was a healthy formula of procrastination and last minute cramming that seemed to work out just fine.
Returning to the topic of social media, both Jesse and Craig are the types that welcome the occasional online confrontation. Unafraid to mix it up with people online, Jesse explained that if that were to ever spill over into real life, its something he isn't afraid to deal with. Both guys had a good laugh about how people are so willing to talk tough from behind a keyboard.
Barnett went on to explain that some of the backlash he gets is because of his willingness to speak up about weighty topics. From racism to the current conflict happening in Israel and Palestine, Barnett said that anytime he takes a stand there is always someone that wants to present a counterpoint. Even with his charity efforts and involvement in the community, Barnett says that there is the occasional person that accuses him of being disingenuous. It's a sad reality but it's something that will not discourage Barnett from doing his part. Candidly, he would go onto admit that while he never envisioned himself being someone so involved socially, he feels like standing around complaining about a problem doesn't actually do anything to help solve it.
Furthering detailing his charity work, Barnett spoke specifically about his outreach with the unhoused in Venice Beach. His mutual aid group provides essentials to people in need throughout Los Angeles and utilizes the ideology of "bread and roses." Rather than giving people a bunch of stuff they don't need, Barnett and his organization speaks directly with the people in these encampments to give them the bread they need to survive and the roses that add to their quality of life. The idea is to treat people with a sense of mutual respect and dignity that often is missing when people dealing with the unhoused.
Continuing with the discussion of social science, Barnett and Reynolds discussed how the word Communism has become interchangeable with the word fascism and it's due to the kind of misinformation that exists. While Barnett wholly agrees that there are very valid critiques of leaders like Mao Zedong and Joesph Stalin, he explains that social science should be viewed through a lens of practicality and not through the scare tactics that are typically used to critique the communist ideology.
Reeling in the conversation, Reynolds and Barnett decided it was time to discuss Barnett's new record with his project Trade Wind project. Barnett would go onto to share that Trade Wind allows him to use a completely different part of his brain than what he does with Stick To Your Guns. As a different creative outlet for him, there is an element of fun and fulfillment that he gets out of working and creating something with cahoots that are friends. He shares that with Stick To Your Guns, that is his job and there are those instances were you have to push through to earn living. With Trade Wind, he doesn't have to, which can feel a bit liberating.
For this particular record, Barnett confided that Randy LeBoeuf and Andrew McEnaney did the bulk of the songwriting, which worked out well given the kind of personalities that comprise the band. Minimizing the creative clash that can come from a lengthy album writing session, this release from Trade Wind allowed the band to produce a finished project much more harmoniously.
Drawing comparisons to the likes of DJ Shadow and Radiohead, the creative direction of Trade Wind is specially different from the bands that it's associated with. A huge departure from Stick To Your Guns and Stray Form the Path, the kind of creative freedom that this project allows really allows Barnett and Tom (Stray From the Path) to tap into a completely different headspace - which arguably works well in keeping them sharp for their primary projects as well.
As with many Downbeat episodes, the guys wrap with a discussion Barnett's top 5 artists and the he quickly had a few names ready to fire. On the more artsy side, Barnett rattled of the architect of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Efrim Menuck as well as the band Mogwai. On the more hardcore and punk side, Propagandi and Terror were included in his immediate list of favorites - giving the listener a pretty good indication of the kind of range that the frontman operates with.
Stream the entire conversation with Jesse Barnett of Stick To Your Guns and Trade Wind on the latest Downbeat below. Order 'The Day We Got What We Deserved' available via Other People Records - HERE