Kris Barman was one of the founding members of Innerpartysystem. Before that band split, Barman had already done some program-ming and synthesizer work on his own. On one tour, in fact, he even gave pointers to Sonny "Skrillex" Moore, when the EDM superstar was getting his start in that style of music. A cursory look into Barman's prolific output as Wuki reveals a multifaceted talent driven by native curiosity and creative ambition.
Barman's latest EP, Framework, is refreshingly original, filled with powerfully vivid sonics and innovative takes and twists of compositional technique. In advance of Wuki's show this Thursday, January 9, at the Bluebird Theater, we spoke with Barman about how he got into making electronic music and how he linked up with OWSLA, the imprint Skrillex co-founded, which issued Framework.
Westword: You started in a rock band. What initially got you interested in electronic music?
Kris Barman: I was kind of a rave kid growing up. I wasn't that hard-core, into it but I definitely experimented with the drugs when I was a kid, and that influenced me a lot. There's nothing quite like electronic music when you're in a room with everybody vibing out to the same thing.
I don't think there's any rock band that can capture that mood or that feeling. I think that's why it's so big right now: People want to experience that more than anything. It's not even about the DJ; it's more about the crowd and the whole experience -- the art, the lights and the people dancing.
I don't really know what spawned my interest other than being a musician and wanting to keep moving forward. I started playing gui-tar and just wanted to keep progressing. To me, electronic music was the next natural progression. Electronic music is like an ether -- you're always building on top of it.
Some producer from Michigan may not be the biggest producer in the world, but he might do some-thing that slightly influences other people, and it has a snowball effect. It's like fashion -- it's never done. I just love seeing the progres-sion of things and how trends move. Always trying to stay ahead of the curve and add to the curve.
How did you get connected with OWSLA?
It's a funny story. I know Sonny [Moore], Skrillex, because one of his bands, From First to Last, opened for Innerpartysystem before. So I knew him before he was Skrillex -- I watched him become Skrillex. He doesn't know that I'm Wuki yet, but he knows me. I wrote to a guy named Kevin Durante, who interned for OWSLA, and told him I liked his track. He started following me on Twitter. So I sent him my track "Rock It," and he sent it to the guy at OWSLA, and they hit me up. They told me if I could make an EP of that sort of thing, they would put it out.