Interview: The Pica Beats’ Ryan Barrett

Ryan Barrett grew up in Vermont, where he began his career as a musician. He released a solo album in 2007 after moving to the west coast. During that year he met up with three friends and formed the band, The Pica Beats. Their latest album, Beating Back the Claws of the Cold, was released on Hardly Art. I had the opportunity to speak with front man Ryan, while sitting in the passenger seat of my car in a lovely phone conversation.

First question… Most important, is, why?

I am always asking myself why, so I suppose my answer would be why. why squared.

Now for the safe word….

Houseplant

Favorite/least favorite cheese? (for the cheese-enthusiast)

My favorite is either feta or goat cheese; I can’t say I have a least favorite cheese. Probably mozzarella, even though I love pizza, I do have some lactose issues.

Robots or Dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs, plesiosaurus. It was my favorite as a child. I think I still have a scale model of one around somewhere.

Plesiosaurus

Strangest venue or gig you’ve ever played?

I can’t really specify a particular one, but usually the strangest gig’s are the awkward and uncomfortable ones; where you want to leave as soon as you show up.

The featured track on your album, beating Back the Claws of the Cold, is Poor Ol’ Ra; what song would you say is your favorite from the album?

I would have to say Martine, As Heavy Lifter it is an instrumental track. I have been working on a new EP that are all songs like that, I have been listening to a lot of bali music lately.

(A side, Ryan plays guitar and the sitar… which gives the album such a heavy resonance… in every sense of the word)

What is one thing you won’t leave behind while on tour?

My glow in the dark yo-yo, it’ is a great substitute for smoking right before I play a show.

What is the most memorable concert you’ve ever attended?

I’d have to say Lollapalooza when I was a teenager. Smashing Pumpkins and Beastie Boys were headlining. I just remember being overwhelmed by being immersed in a crown of pretty girls amidst loud music.

What are you listening to now?

You know, I have not really been listening to much lately, but Tom Waits is a given, Blonde Redhead, some old Sonic Youth. But I have been really into some Old Western film Soundtracks, and have realized it is probably my favorite music.

If you were to communicate using one word what would it be?

Um, just used with different inflections can be interpreted as aggressive, assertive, so on.

(We exchange a few ums back and forth)

You are a Dr. Suess fan, would you like to sing your favorite Dr. Suess line?

Sure, it’s the last line from yertle the turle…

Yertle the Turtle

Thoughts?