A multi-instrumentalist and producer, Barney Goodall began music lessons at a relatively young age; “Probably because my parents were sick of me thrashing my dad’s acoustic guitar to pieces without knowing how to play it.”
He comes from a musical family – his uncle, Howard Goodall is a well-known classical and music theatre composer, as well as being responsible for a plethora of theme tunes for popular UK television shows that have embedded themselves into the popular vernacular, including Blackadder, Red Dwarf and QI.
Though he began playing in bands from the age of 11, it wasn’t until he reached his late teens that he began taking music more seriously, and began writing his own material.
“When I was in school, I was massively into Muse and that kind of alternative rock stuff,” he says. “But then I got more into the likes of Radiohead, Prince, Bowie, Nick Cave, Tori Amos. I really started to identify with the music. I think it was the sophistication of those artists.
“That’s when I started writing more seriously. I toyed around with different genres. I wrote a lot of songs in different styles – there was a lot of experimenting. It’s only with Aporia that I think I’ve found my own sound.”
He lists numerous influences in addition to those he already mentioned; Tom Waits, Tears For Fears, Miles Davis and Kurt Weil among them.
The most obvious influence, though, is undeniably Scott Walker; “I think his late 60s solo albums, where he was using the old song style, a lot of that is quite orchestral and crooning. It definitely informed my singing style. Lyrically, he’s quite impressionistic, painting pictures in your mind, which is part of how I approach lyrics.”
Goodall’s music encourages his audience to be curious about the things that they may not have otherwise been curious about – but it is as musical as it is intellectual, and he delivers his message in the most agreeable of ways.
“I would hope it is as thought provoking as it is entertaining. I’m not one for being instantly gratifying so to speak, but I wouldn’t place myself in the John Cage crowd either. Hopefully the sound is somewhere in between.”
Perhaps this is where his Prince and Tears For Fears influences come in – his music is instantly danceable as much as it is thought provoking. “I like grooves,” he says. “I like to have that as a setting or structure to place my own thing on top of. I wouldn’t call it dance music, but I think there is space for a more refined, sophisticated sound that can use the dance as a vehicle.”
That isn’t to say he necessarily has his eyes on being a pop star, but it shows the potential for his appeal.
“I want to be in a position where I can write and record what I want, and play to appreciative audiences, and be able to make a living. If you’re not being listened to it’s difficult to say it has much value. It’s hard to be artistically valid if it doesn’t necessarily exist to anyone else.”