EVAN MICHAEL: How did your collaboration come about?
JOHN BARERA: I used to do a party called 'Gallery' in Boston with Brenden Wesley who suggested we book this young buck named Will Martin to play. I really loved his DJing and we became friends.
WILL MARTIN: Not long after that, he asked me to move into the Chinatown Loft as a roommate. While living together, making music came naturally. John comes home every night and starts banging away in the studio like clockwork, it’s hard not to get sucked into that.
John: One day I was sitting in the studio and Will came up to me with a record in his hand and said “we gotta sample this!". We sat down and made a cut that night and finished it up the next day. That was Reality, and we knew right away we needed to keep working together.
John Barera & Will Martin Reality (Dolly Records)
Evan: Releasing your first album Graceless on Steffi's Dolly imprint last year must have been really exciting for you two. What are some musical influences and themes behind the album?
John: We were really fortunate to have the opportunity to do that album. For me, a couple of the biggest influences on the music were Mike Banks and Chez Damier. I can't help but be influenced by my musical heroes. We're always goofing off in the studio and at the end of the sessions, when we're delirious, we may hallucinate that they came into the studio and helped out on keys. That’s when songs like Afterthought and In Passing were written.
Will: We were both really into Boo Williams's albums at the time (and always) and love how you can play every tune he puts on his records in the club. I just wanted to make a record that never leaves a DJs bag, like the kind of record that’s just falling apart after years of use.
John: Steffi was also a strong influence on the album as she was guiding us through the process and giving her thoughts on the tunes the whole time.
John Barera & Will Martin in the mix for i-D
Evan: You've recently returned from a short tour through Europe. What were some of the highlights?
John: The whole tour was really special - every single show. Getting to play 6 hours, some of the longest sets we’ve played so far, was a life affirming experience. Tresor was a huge highlight for us, as was Fabric - both amazing clubs. We also learned that the I.F.Z. in Liepzig is a really great club, and that the dance-floor energy in Paris is killer.
Will: Young Germans shouting “HARDER HARDER” in the front at Tresor was amazing. We’d be playing really hard techno stuff that we don’t get to play so much in America and they’d still be like, “NO, HARDER!” In Paris we quickly learned that funk and disco records were really making people move. In Berlin people were freaking for hard techno - we got to really use all the records we brought over and play all these different styles that we love.
John Barera & Will Martin in the mix for Fabric (London)
Evan: Tell us about your resident party 'Make It New' in Boston.
John: 'Make It New' is a pillar for sure. It goes down every Thursday at Middlesex, my favorite club to play in the city. I play twice a month alongside the other residents and guests. Last week it was Frank & Tony. Next week Ellen Allien is our guest. Alex Maniatis from Mmmmaven, who also programs the Together music festival runs the booking, and he runs a tight ship. Recently we have also had great sets from the likes of Roman Flugel, Gerd Janson, and Leon Vynehall - really outstanding artists. When I play there, I feel the love from the crowd. I want to show them a good time.