https://soundcloud.com/user-119860975Small dogs is the new musical project by George Barnett, having recently left London for New York City. The debut single “dar es salaam” touched on a hazy indie sound.
Follow-up single “harlem” (out November 27th), shows a more electronic and hip-hop orientated production, whilst the rest of the EP (set for March 2021) pulls on other genres as wide as Afrobeat, Folk and Trip-Hop. Whilst these genres are diverse and Barnett’s daily inspirations range from Fela Kuti to Bon Iver and J-Hus, the aim of small dogs is to reference these diverse sounds whilst producing coherent and atmospheric songs that allow the audience to get lost in other worlds.’
“Harlem” is an indie/hip-hop/trip-hop attempt at a modern ballad, a story of two people falling in and out of love and trying to get by living in a city.
The themes throughout “Harlem” include neighbourhoods becoming gentrified; having to get real jobs and give up artistic dreams; load of pop references (the doors ‘hollywood bungalow’ etc/’she’s got that pink floyd tattoo), and nights out (‘high on the living room floor’).
The chorus is about having great life plans (‘you dream of islands’) that ultimately never really come about (‘now we’re drunk in harlem, far from all those pretty ideals in your head’). “I suppose it’s just a bunch of random and scattered thoughts about being in my mid-20s living in NYC,” Barnett says. “Some good and some frustrated.”
“Recording for this was done over a couple of months. I did most of the instrumentals in my studio space in Bushwick and then went back to the UK and finished the vocals and also added some atmospheres at Wise Tree Studios in Liverpool with long term collaborator and producer Rich Bond.”
“The song kinda reflects me working out what kinda music I wanted to play,” Barnett continues. “I grew up on ‘60s/’70s psychedelic music and always played this and rock ‘n’ roll in bands in London. I then went on a research grant to write a report on the music industries in East Africa and got very close to a load of hip-hop and afrobeat stars and basically learnt a whole new world of what production, storytelling and songwriting could mean. This was the first song I produced after that experience and I think it really nicely reflects an element of me being creatively all over the place but it also kinda flows well because it’s pretty honest. You can hear a load of Pink Floyd etc in the atmospheres and then also more folky influences like Bon Iver (third album) but also some hip-hop in the production.”