Genre-mashing EP sees teenager make his mark on Cumbria music scene

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THE vocalist and guitarist for highly-rated prog band Pariahs may surprise a few with his debut EP.

Teenage singer-songwriter Hayden J Barlow, from Barrow, has just released a collection of self-penned tracks. But he has shunned the well-beaten path of putting out acoustic versions of his band's material, or simply committing his solo set to tape.

"I feel like that's what everyone expects when a frontman of a band announces he's doing a solo project," he says.

"Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of artists who do the solo acoustic thing and do it very well - I did it myself for a lot of years and still do occasionally. I just wanted to do something that would catch people off guard and throw me out of my comfort zone a little bit."

The 18-year-old recorded Songs of June at home and using the studio facilities at Kendal College to create a refreshing infusion of R'n'B and soul, unlike anything you'll have heard from his band or in his solo set.

"These songs are all fairly new," he continues.

"I wanted to write something completely from scratch so it would feel like less like a compilation of songs and more like one continual piece of music.

"I've always been into soul and Motown music but more recently I've grown very fond of stuff like neo-soul and hip hop, and I just wondered what would happen if I mashed all of these together. It just so happened to work and so I thought I'd just roll with it.

"I wouldn't say that I've settled on this sound, and my next solo venture will probably be completely different - the same can be said for the one after that.

"I like to keep doing new things and exploring new genres just to keep it fun."

There are plans to work the new tracks into his live shows, while attention soon turns to releasing new music with Pariahs.

It's a busy time for the young musician, and even though it's early days, he's pleased to have started making his mark on the local music scene.

"It's been a nice surprise to have people respond to it so positively.

"The EP was more of a creative endeavour than an attempt to make money or promote myself. After all, if you expect anything from this, you expect too much.

"So the positive feedback I've received has just been a very nice bonus."

You can download Hayden's EP, Songs For June, for free from haydenjbarlow.bandcamp.com

Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 3:30PM
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