Niki Barr Entertains Troops - Tours World with EV/Dynacord Equipment
“Our stuff gets thrown into the back of trucks and all kinds of military land and air cargo vehicles. The EV/Dynacord equipment has yet to dent or anything. It’s amazing.“
- Niki Barr
A long-time supporter of EV and Dynacord manufactured products; Niki has been working non-stop on albums, videos, and touring the globe through the (AFE) Armed Forces Entertainment. In this role, Barr is the next generation of performers who sees her job as something beyond that of typical performer.
In an enlightening interview, Niki spoke extensively with EV PR representatives about her music and touring experiences, as well as her thoughts on gear. We thank her for the time she spent with us.
EV PR: With such a rigid touring schedule - literally around the world - how well did the Electro-Voice and Dynacord equipment fare?
Niki Barr: The Dynacord PowerMate mixer, EV Sx Series loudspeakers, and EV wired and wireless mics have flown with us around the world. We’re only allowed a certain amount of equipment and it has to meet a weight requirement. That’s what’s great about your equipment - it’s incredibly powerful and compact - which is a real necessity for us. We’ve got the perfect system for the job! It sounded great! And none of it has gone down; we’ve had minimal problems, which is rare considering that we play in so many different kinds of places. Specifically, I love the EV mics (especially the N/D967) - they really accentuate my voice - it’s become part of my signature!
The equipment is very road-worthy. Our stuff gets thrown into the back of trucks and all kinds of military land and air cargo vehicles. It has yet to dent or anything. It’s amazing. And I treat my stuff like $#^%...
EV PR: Tell us about your relationship with Armed Forces Entertainment.
Niki Barr: It all started with playing at a base in Alaska, which went really well. Following the success of that, the Armed Forces Entertainment put us on a 60-day tour, which eventually brought us to military bases in Japan and Singapore where I was able to experience the beginning of the war.
Following that first large tour, we did a 48-day stint through Germany, Belgium, and the U.K. We even played some places off base, for military and civilian personnel, which really put us in front of some diverse audiences. For example, we played to a lot of German music fans, which was a first for me. They were very receptive and I look forward to going back.
We also toured the Balkans and Kosovo. We flew over the war-torn areas in a military helicopter and it was really dramatic. The stories of the civil war were wild. Buildings after buildings with bullet-holes in them... I was totally unprepared for anything like it. I had been sheltered in a sense; it really opened up my eyes to the rest of the world. All considered, it was nice to be there with the guys in such a desolate area, and to liven up their day with our music.
EV PR: With what did you come away from the Armed Forces Entertainment touring experience?
Niki Barr: These guys have been away from home so long that your heart really goes out to them. We got to share our Christmas and New Year’s with them. Likewise, it was really the first time that I had been away from my family over the holidays. And these guys are always away from their families. Being able to give them a taste of home made us feel like we were doing something special. They’re always really excited when live music comes around... They’re definitely ready to party. We love it!
EV PR: What are your upcoming touring plans?
Niki Barr: The new tour starts after Christmas - 30 days - and again, we’re doing it through the Armed Forces Entertainment. We’re excited to show our support of the troops.
EV PR: What’s been going on with recording lately?
Niki Barr: We’ve just finished a new record called “Lush’, which has been doing well overseas. It’s the first full-length record that we’ve done. “The Other Side of Me’ was more of an EP. So, putting out the full-length was really a great experience; I think the record has turned out really great. We’re actually talking about doing another tour of Europe, Japan, and the Far East in support of it. Outside of that, we’re taking on a sponsorship from Ringleader clothing, who doesn’t necessarily sponsor a lot of bands, and we’re also starting our own clothing line, based on the “Lush’ album concept and will be distributed through Ringleader. So there are a lot of things going on.
EV PR: I understand that you’ve been talking with the legendary producer/engineer Rick Rubin?
Niki Barr: You know, he’s the best of the best. We met up in NY and he was so down to earth. He’s a really nice guy. I played a few acoustic songs for him and we had a nice talk. We’re still talking to them; hopefully something will happen. For now, however, I’m content doing what we’re doing. I’ve been working on my music since I was 15 and avoided the pitfalls of labels wanting to capitalize on the age-thing. We’ve talked with a lot of labels, but we were very hesitant to get into the young star thing. I’m much more advanced now, and we’re glad we didn’t sign with a major years ago when labels were approaching us with that “Yea, we can sell her as a (pick your current flavor) kind of artist’, which was kind of scary. I thank my manager Mike Marucci for much of the direction; he really knows what’s going on. Now I can look forward to becoming even more experienced, honing my performance and songwriting skills, and hopefully working with someone like Rick Rubin someday.
EV PR: Speaking of songwriting, I understand you’ve been co-writing with some big-name talents out there. Care to elaborate?
I’ve been co-writing as of late with Butch Walker, who is one of my idols... We wrote “Waste of Time“ together... I also went out to L.A. and wrote with the Wizards of Oz, Andy and Liz, who work with The Matrix. They’re known for the Liz Phair and Avril Levigne.... Definitely some good experiences. I’ve heard a lot of comparisons of my voice and style to Joan Jett, Chrissie Hynde, and Pat Benatar. I like that a lot better than some of the other comparisons. As far as influences, it’s across the map: Bon Jovi, pop music, boy band music, the grunge era (Stone Temple Pilots, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.), I was really influenced by them. However, I’m really just me, and I’ll keep writing and growing and touring. I look forward to the future. Plus, I have the best audience in the world to bounce ideas off - hard-working American Armed Services men and women!
EV PR: We wish you the best of luck, Niki, in all of your endeavors. We’re proud to have you on our team!
Electro-Voice (EV), is a professional audio brand of Telex Communications, Inc., a leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of sophisticated audio, wireless, multimedia, aircraft, broadcast and communications equipment for commercial, professional and industrial customers. Telex Communications markets its products in more than 80 countries under the brands EV, Telex, RTS, Dynacord, Midas, Klark Teknik and others.
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