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AudioOpera Explores Real World Relationships in the Digital Age with New EP 'Flying From The River'

Read a Q&A with the Winnipeg associative music producer and stream his latest release on Hot Sugar's Noise Collector.
October 17, 2016, 9:39pm
Photo courtesy of artist This article appeared originally on THUMP UK.

The cover of AudioOpera's latest EP, Flying From The River, features a glowing jeweled flower, stray droplets, and a tranquil background of sky and water. Courtesy of photographer Jackson Hallberg, it's the perfect visual metaphor for the Winnipeg producer's (whose real name is Graeme Barrett) associative music, full of fragile found sounds, sleek electronics, and whimsical melodies.

Following last year's LP The Runaway Prince, released on Hot Sugar's label Noise Collector Records, these six songs pick up right where he left off. His often heavily Auto-Tuned vocals address the hopefulness, and sometimes doomed futility ("I used to think we could be friends" is the central lyric of EP highlight "Signs"), of human relationships over-top glistening beats.

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Stream Flying From The River below, and read a short email Q&A in which Barrett discusses Tinder anthems, his love of Canadian sketch comedy show Kids in the Hall, and more.

THUMP: What are the major advantages of putting out music on artist-run imprints like Ryan Hemsworth's Secret Songs and Noise Collector?

AudioOpera: It's good because they get it. They see your vision. It helps validate your work even if numbers and money don't.

What's the biggest difference in your recording process between this EP and The Runaway Prince?
I never used other music as inspiration for my own. Focusing on the visual gave me more freedom. Roger Dean's artwork was a staple in my work.

"Signs" is giving me heavy Daft Punk vibes—am I completely off-base or were they an influence in any way?
I remember I would listen to Daft Punk when I would sift through MySpace to find new music and up-and-coming porn stars. They aren't a direct influence on this project, but they will always have some influence on my music.

If you had to pick one track from Flying From The River to be your Tinder anthem, what would it be and why?
"Forever," because you can't forget me.

Winnipeg isn't a city typically associated with electronic music—is there a community there that you feel deserves a bigger spotlight?
All the scenes are blended into one because there's not enough people. I don't go out much.

Where do you see yourself fitting within the Canadian electronic music scene?
Noise Collectors is the closest home for me. I still don't know what AudioOpera is.

Tell me about the concept for the "Forever" music video, how did you get Kids in the Hall actor Kevin McDonald involved?
The storyline for "Forever" is based on the idea that a small town always has more mystery than a big city. It had always been a dream of mine to get Kevin involved in my work in some way, he was always my favourite out of the KITH crew. Once I found out he lived in Winnipeg, I developed the concept with him in mind.

Were you a big fan of the show growing up?
As a kid, I thought they were unique, but didn't "get it." As I grew older, I grew fonder of them. Now I think they're comedic geniuses, learning about how they got to where they are today is inspiring to me.

What should everybody shut up about?
Not getting booked.

What are the five albums that you've listened to the most in 2016?
Hot Sugar - God's Hand
Nancy Leticia - Love Dream
Black Moth Super Rainbow - SeeFu Lilac
Sean Nicholas Savage - Other Death
Tame Impala - Currents

AudioOpera plays at Rally in Toronto Oct. 28, get tickets here.

Max Mertens is on Twitter.