Nick Barker (of the Heartache State)

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Nick Barker (of the Heartache State)

Nick Barker has had an extensive music career, playing with bands such as The Curse, Beachouse, Reptile Smile, Freak Power, The Wreckery and later, the blues-rock outfit Nick Barker and The Reptiles in the late ’80s before deciding to go solo. Now, Barker has found his place alongside long-time friend Justin Garner with The Heartache State. Forté have a chat to the accomplished Melbourne singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Hi Nick, you’re performing at One for the Otways at the end of the month. How did you get on board with the event?
I’ve known Dean from Salmon Guts for years, and he knows that I’m passionate about this part of the country.

The event itself is for a great cause but has arisen from a lot of heartache. Do you have a connection with the Great Ocean Road? Do you remember what you were doing when the news broke of the fires?
I spent a large part of my life in the Otways, from my first family holidays in Aireys, learning to surf at eastern view as a grommet, to my family buying 150 acres outside of Lavers Hill. I spent a lot of my early life walking through the Otways forests and on the coast. My mum ashes are buried under blue gum at Melanesia beach so I have a deep connection with the area. I always feel sick when there’s mention of a fire in the Otways – it’s so dense and steep, and can get really dry in summer.

You will be performing alongside many great artists, including Jeff Lang, Salmon Guts, Mountain Grey and Velvet Bow, how important is it for you to be able to give you time to events like this and alongside other respected artists.

Bands get asked to do a lot of benefits and fundraisers, so you have to prioritise a bit because you can’t do all of them. But this one was a no brainer as I’ve seen what fires have done down there, and I know how tight the community is, and the level of care that goes into them. Also the care of the animals that live there, so they really do need help in times like this.

You recently performed at The Mane Event which was another event supporting a great cause, how was it?
As to the mane event its a great little festival run by people with a lot of soul and I’m proud to have played at all of them given the government has cut the guts out of headspace ….PS always great to play at The Barwon Club….best R and R room in the state.

You’ve been busy working on a new record, how’s it all coming along and have you approached this one differently at all?
Now that we’ve been around for two years as a band, we went into the studio without having even played through any ideas at all so it was all completely fresh and that was a challenge – but a great way to approach it. It could have been a disaster but so far, so good!

You’ve been playing with Justin Garner on and off for the past 10 years using many styles, when you worked with him in producing his album, did you know from that experience that you’d work well together on a project of your own?
I’d always loved his song writing and guitar playing so when he moved to Melbourne it was only a matter of time.

The Heartache State is your first without your name attached, how are you feeling about that decision now well into the project?
Well it was a pretty easy decision given that it felt like a proper band and to be honest, I wanted to do something fresh I was feeling jaded and un-enthusiastic about music, and getting with Justin and Venom was inspiring. Just playing our natural game and trying to fall in love with playing again.

Will there be a sneak peak of the new music at the One for the Otways event?
You bet!!!!!

When & Where: Aireys Pub, Aireys Inlet – October 29 & Lorne Hotel, Lorne – October 30