Interview: Jesse Barnett of Trade Wind

Trade Winds

Recently I was able to connect with lead vocalist of Trade Wind, Jesse Barnett, before his band’s release of their new album called The Day We Got What We Deserved. The album comes out this Friday via Other People Records and we discussed everything that went into the new record. I asked Jesse about Trade Wind’s strengths, what they draw on for inspiration, and what stood out most looking back on these writing sessions.

Thank you for your time today, Jesse, and congrats on the upcoming release of your new album, The Day We Got What We Deserved. What is the origin of the album title and why did you and the band decide to brand this collection of songs with this title?
This record is both an inward and outward reflection. It has a two pronged approach. The first being the outward: “The Day We Got What We Deserved” in terms of us as a society knowing how much we are harming each other and the planet for nothing more than the profit motive of a few greedy people. Should we not band together to destroy this system the earth will surely take things into her own hands. The second prong is more from a personal relationship stand point: talking about a relationship I was in in which things were very toxic and were destined in implode. When they finally did we both acted as if we couldn’t see it coming although we both knew exactly why what happened, happened.

How did the songwriting process go during The Day We Got What We Deserved sessions? How would you describe your evolution as writers/musicians since you first started out?
The song writing process was fairly simple. It was mostly all done via Dropbox. Everyone knew their role and just did what was expected of them. I’m very proud of the music my bandmates wrote, I truly felt honored that they believed in me enough to allow me to sing on these songs. Really great music. I felt pressure because I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was so I knew I needed to come correct. That was nerve wracking.

Were there any particular artists you were listening to around this time that may have influenced the sound that came through on this record?
Not really, this album just showcased my influences that I have really enjoyed through the majority of my life—Blonde Redhead, Pixies, Beck, Radiohead, A Silver Mt. Zion. Shit like that.

Where did the album cover artwork come from? What can fans expect in the packaging of this album (CD/vinyl, etc.)?
The art work was from a painting fro the 17th century from a Dutch painter named Jan Weenix. I loved the paintings so much that we found out how to just use them and then scratched the album title over it. Donny Philips is the genius who put the packaging together. But I felt very much that the paintings gave the proper feel I wanted portrayed for the record. 

What is the opening song “Burning the Iron Age” about, and what inspired the lyrical directions of this track?
That song was just inspired by the actual situation that society is currently going through. Its almost an apocalyptic scenario im trying to paint. Very much inspired by the song “What We Loved Was Not Enough” By Silver Mt. Zion from their 2014 album Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything.

How would you describe your live performances? What are you most looking forward once you and your band are able to safely tour again?
Nothing special. (Laughter) Just a bunch of stupid guys who know what they’re doing is not important. We’re just grateful to play.

What goals do you have for your band as you progress in your careers as musicians?
I’m motivated simply by the music. Making money and playing all over the world is great, I’m not trying to sell anyone the fact that I don’t also enjoy those things—but I do know that with or without all the great things that come with playing music, I would still be doing it. 

You’ve mentioned that your band “never makes the same record twice.” What do you feel are the core strengths of Trade Wind today?
The fact that there are no expectations. We can go into the studio from scratch and if someone wants to hit a cello with a hammer while having a dog bark into a megaphone, we can do that. Truly free to do what we want. That’s my favorite part of it all.