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Quinton Barnes
As a Motherfucker

As a Motherfucker is all Quinton Barnes all at once; confident and bold, tender and passionate, profane and profound.

Fun fact: when you ask Siri to play the new album from Montreal-via-Kitchener-based artist Quinton Barnes, it censors the expletive in the record’s title with a long and oddly humourous beep. While Apple’s AI may have some hesitancy in saying the title As a Motherfucker out loud, it has no issue following orders and playing Barnes’ gloriously experimental melange of R&B, techno, and glitch pop. 

That kind of contradiction — avoiding the truth of the album’s name without questioning the music — is very similar to the themes Barnes explores on the follow-up to last year’s AARUPA and its remix project. “I could show you my rejection / Break the walls and let you through,” he sings at the opening of “Harmony” before revealing his vulnerabilities and fears: “I could show it all to you / But I’d lose my self-protection.” As he mines the gap between full-on vulnerability and hard-as-steel defensiveness, Barnes’s velvety baritone rises and falls with the song’s understated synth swells and hiccuping beats. For every breathless admission of desire (as in the slow-burning soul of “How I Feel”), there’s an equal and opposite stone-cold rejection (see the funky glitch of “Never Could Be”), but it’s the rich vein of emotional grey area in between that gives As a Motherfucker its depth. 

Continuing the Conversation

20 or 20 Ep. 019: Quinton Barnes: Montreal-via-Kitchener producer/songwriter Quinton Barnes discusses his album, As a Motherfucker, contradictions, “the biz,” space, Nina Simone, and more.

Barnes’ ambitions and musical bravery knows no bounds; From the popping beats on “Switch” to the ambient soul of “Heartbeat”, he’s unwilling to stay in any one lane long enough to get pigeonholed. It’s impossible to slot As a Motherfucker into any one genre without completely ignoring another of its musical facets. What rings true throughout, though, is Barnes’ seamless blend of assuredness and romanticism. As a Motherfucker is all Quinton Barnes all at once; confident and bold, tender and passionate, profane and profound.

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