Barker co-runs Leisure System, is a regular on Ostgut Ton, especially together with Nd Baumecker as Barker & Baumecker, and his “Debiasing” record was one of the freshest releases of 2018. Enjoy!
Hello Sam how are you and what have you been up to recently?
Hey guys! I’m doing good thanks. I quit smoking this year which I wanted to do for ages, so I have lots more energy and having really strange and vivid dreams every night is an unexpected bonus.
You live in Berlin. How would you describe the city and music scene there at the moment?
When I came here in 2007 it was all about ‚minimal‘, but everyone seemed pretty bored of it and wanted a change. I feel like we’ve hit that stage with a certain type of techno. People are pushing it faster, harder, more trancey or breaky… feels like straight up 128bpm 4×4 techno got too formulaic and stale and people have noticed. It feels a bit like we could go anywhere. But I guess we’ll end up with just ‘techno, but faster’.
Leisure System is a label and party series you co-founded. Can you tell us more about the idea behind it, how it all started and developed?
I moved here with Ned Beckett and we were running the booking agency he set up called Littlebig, which specialises in weirder types of electronic music… As I said, at the time minimal was dying a slow boring death and Andi Baumecker wanted to get something different happening in Berghain that would mess with peoples heads. Andi booked Autechre through Littlebig and afterwards asked us to do a regular event, so we started Leisure System in 2008, and have been doing it ever since. The label then grew naturally out of the parties.
What annoys you or has pissed you off lately?
Oh man haha.. quite a lot to get frustrated with in the world. Within the music industry, I’m particularly concerned with how shitty the economics of music production has become. I think this fuels a lot of bad feelings in our ‘scene’ and is creating a divide between artists and DJs. Any other commercial venture legally has to pay to use music to support their brand, but DJs, which are brands built entirely on music, have no obligation… This makes no sense to me. It needs fixing or the future quality and variety of music will suffer. It isn’t the fault of the DJs to be clear, but the systems and attitudes surrounding both professions.
What excites you besides music?
I’m reading a lot, mostly non-fiction, recent subjects being psychology, politics, economics. Quite fascinated by the science behind human behaviour and decision making right now.
Anything coming up you want to share with us? Any shout-outs or final statements?
I was pretty surprised and happy for the approval my last EP got, so I’d like to say thanks to everyone who supported that. If I manage to finish it, I’ll release an album on Ostgut Ton this summer. Also should be finally announcing a new project in the next couple of weeks. Website will be up soon at this URL : www.voltek-labs.net
Thanks for having me on this podcast series too! one of my favourites so very honoured to do one for you guys.