In the beginning of July our very own KRFF Radio Free Fargo will be having another one of their benefit concerts at The Aquarium. These fun, affordable concerts have been a great way to raise money for the station, to allow local bands and musicians to showcase their talents, and provide a diving board into the Fargo music scene for those who are still unfamiliar with it.
This addition to the series of concerts will be perfect for the hard rockers and metalheads among us, with No Funeral, Green Altar, and Emphatic Scorn in the lineup, along with KRFF benefit alum Demifiend and Barnaby Jones. Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Clark Kotte of Barnaby Jones to talk about the band and the show.
Barnaby Jones is currently a four-person band comprised of Clark Kotte on guitar, Brent Ulstad on drums, Sean Barnes also on guitar, and Justin Turmo on bass and vocals. Barnes and Kotte are the primary songwriters for the group. All the members of the band have been active in other musical projects. Ulstad was in Paige Marshall, Sequoia, and Ingamar. Barnes was in The Gremlins and The Waking, and Justin was in Escaping Corinth and Killform. Ulstad and Kotte had performed five years together, originally in a band called Obscuro with a drummer who only went by Paco.
The band called Barnaby Jones came into being about two years ago, starting out as solely instrumental but now including vocals. They took their band’s name from a character on the show “Frisky Dingo” on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block. In an additional attempt to be tongue-in-cheek and show they don’t take themselves too seriously, their band t-shirts prominently feature Killface, another character from “Frisky Dingo”. “Every other metal band has skulls on their shirts,” said Kotte.
Barnaby Jones currently has a five-song EP posted on Bandcamp that they recorded with Luke Anderson and KRFF’s own Martin Beckmann at the local Below Grade Studios, though admittedly they are primarily a live band for the time being. In fact, they performed at the first in the KRFF Benefit Concert series. Their sound is a unique one. “We’ve been told we sounded like Black Sabbath covering the Allman Brothers,” said Kotte. “We’ve been called ‘djoom’, djent-doom.” If pressed for his own opinion, Kotte gave the genre-spanning classification of the band as, “slug and doom meets metalcore, classic rock, and blues.”
“We’re one of the few bands in town that uses all tube amps,” said Kotte, who designs many of the speaker cabinets for the band himself. “We try to have our own designed sound.” This difference in sound extends beyond their mashup of genres, however, Kotte wanted to stress.
Kotte noted that, even though he would consider himself a metal fan, he noticed that many metal groups have a fixation on subject matter and imagery that is grotesque, morbid, or dark. Barnaby Jones attempts to be a breath of fresh air in that regard. Recall the humorous genesis of their name and their band t-shirts.
“I want people to come away feeling happier,” Kotte said.
And though that approach may be a bit unorthodox in the world of metal, that certainly doesn’t mean they rock any less hard, as summer concertgoers will find out at the Aquarium.
If You Go:
Saturday, July 7th
Doors open at 8, Music at 8:30 p.m.
Barnaby Jones Bandcamp: www.barnabyjonesfargo.bandcamp.com
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