Words: Michelle Yeong
Hailing from the sunny streets of Sydney, Dying Adolescence is a coming-of-age bedroom project driven to write about all the high school experiences we wish we could forget, but unfortunately cannot. The brain behind the dreamy project is Michael Barker, who has a good ear for writing incredibly catchy tunes. With two EP’s out and a full length album on the way, Barker was kind enough to have a chat with us about his emerging solo project.
Known for his hazy reverb-drenched bedroom tunes, Barker admits that his creativeness stems from DIY artists from the United States, citing artists such as Alex G, Surf Curse, Frankie Cosmos, Told Slant and Porches as his main influences. Talking about the bedroom pop genre, Barker explains the beauty of producing tunes from the comfort of his home. “Bedroom pop is beautiful. There are no rules on what you can or cannot do. No one can tell you that you have too much reverb or too much treble because this genre doesn’t have any boundaries. It’s all about you and what you make out of it.” Developing his unique sound from his bedroom, Barker strives to build on his sound. “You learn what works and doesn’t and acquiring this knowledge yourself is much more filling than someone else telling you. Bedroom pop is pure and I believe a different light shines upon it.”
So how did Dying Adolescence come about you ask? Barker explains that it developed as a side-project outside of his other band. “Before Dying Adolescence was born I was playing in my best mates band, Neighbourhood Void. In our early stages we would jam and cover songs like Covered in Chrome by Violent Soho and No Waves by FIDLAR, which are both punk rock songs,” however, Barker realized he had a desire to pursue a different genre. “I listened to punk rock and I enjoyed playing it but I also had a love for indie pop. My poppy side wasn’t going to work its way into Neighbourhood Void’s punk rock sound so I decided to start my own solo side project where I can make the music I want and love. That is where Dying Adolescence was born.”
When asked about when he first learnt how to play the guitar, Barker recalls receiving his very first guitar at the young age of five years old. “My aunty got me a small classical guitar for my birthday. I had no experience at all so I had to teach myself through the Internet – thank you ultimateguitar.com.” Barker states that the first songs he learnt were Smells Like Teen Spirit and the Iron Man song.
When Barker isn’t busy writing his tunes he finds himself hanging around the city. “It’s the place you will probably find me in my free time. I go there to skate, hang out with my friends and eat my favourite ramen!” Barker is also avid about supporting his local music scene, listing Downer Girl, Space Carbonara, and MAra as a few of his favourites. “I just turned 18 so I’ve been going out a lot to see local bands play at bars and stuff, which has been really awesome.”
Barker has a bright future ahead, with tours in mind and the release of cassettes through Z Tapes. “Once the new album is up I would like to go on an east coast mini tour. I also need to play more shows in Sydney.” Barker describes a Dying Adolescence show to be an emotional and intimate experience for everyone involved. “Expect me screaming into a microphone while pouring my heart and soul into the performance.” It is no question that Dying Adolescence’s bedroom-pop gems will continue to provide good vibes. “It’s still the beginning for me and that’s okay. I’m just going to go with the flow and take this as far as I can without forcing it too much.”
Dying Adolescence is definitely an artist to keep an eye on, and we look forward to what 2016 have in store for him. In the meantime, you can check out his tunes here.