Picture the scene: It’s the night before your very first release. You’re excited. This is a Big Deal.
You’re not happy with your artist name and you could really benefit from a strong, eye-grabbing logo. Something that’s as colourful as your melting pot sound. Something that shows your character and ambitious plans for dancefloor dominance.
What do you do?
Do you go with the name you’re not particularly happy with? Do you panic and scrap any ideas of becoming an artist and go back to your day job? Or do you knuckle down and get those creative juices flowing?
We were at a total loss as to what to do
Let’s ask Barely Alive. This happened to them IRL. Needless to say, they manned up.
“We were at a total loss as to what to do,” laughs Willie, one half of the Massachusetts-based duo who were going to be called Will Da Beats & Hook Jr.
“I started looking at random movie quotes for inspiration. This one really stood out. The logo was pretty random, too. We came up with that on the same night. We wanted to use the test signal, so we put eyes on it and it looked really cool.”
Marketing campaigns to find brand names and logos as strong as theirs can take months… And cost tens of thousands. These 21-year-olds did it in a night. Fittingly, this rapid burst of branding creativity mirrors their equally swift rise as producers. As Barely Alive’s Matt admits, “the name might be ironic now, but it didn’t feel like it at the time.”
I still remember the feeling when I saw the Datsik email in our inbox
The debut release in question was Killer In You on Dirty Duck Audio. It landed last April, came complete with a remix from Gold Top, and was very well received. In the 11 months that followed the duo – who find motivation and inspiration across the board, from drum & bass to hip-hop – hurtled into premium playlists with remixes of The Brig, Virtual Riot, Astronaut (who have since signed them to their label Disciple) and none other than Datsik & Getter.
“I still remember the feeling when I saw the Datsik email in our inbox,” grins Matt. “We met all of the Firepower crew and had one of the best nights of our lives.”
Looking to the future, their dream remix wishlist includes the likes of Damian Marley and Krewella. In the meantime they’re more than happy with their forthcoming re-rub of the mighty Destroid.
Back to the present, and it’s all about their Lost In The Internet EP on Disciple Recordings. Refusing to sit still, from the savage stomps of Dial Up to the rifle-like stabs and trills of Chasing Ghosts, it flexes wildly in tempo and style… Just as Matt and Willie like it.
“We’re always fine-tuning and developing as producers,” explains Willie who, until recently, enjoyed a job working in a toy shop. “We try not to be in any genre. It doesn’t matter what genre or what tempo we’re making as long as we’re pushing ourselves to make the best music we can.”
“Dubstep, electro, we love it all,” beams Matt who’s a dab hand in the kitchen and boasts spam sushi as a signature dish. “We just want to make cool sounds to dance too!”
Hear hear. There’s just one more question to ask this fast-rising duo: if they were lost in the internet… Where would they most like to be lost?
Matt: “Oh man, if you were lost anywhere then the internet would be worst place! It’s a cesspool! I guess if I was lost on the internet I’d say Facebook so I could be close to all my friends.”
Willie: “I’d probably end up on the weird part of YouTube!”
We’d be quite happy being lost on their Soundcloud. Expect big things from Barely Alive in the coming months. We’ll leave you with their recent promo mix: