Back in the spring of 2015, one of the most unlikely things to ever happen in the history of Rhode Island’s music scene occurred.
A bunch of kids from Warwick in a band called Public Alley won the 95.5 WBRU’s Rock Hunt and made a name for themselves in the local community. Not a lot of people knew who they were before the competition, but after, everybody involved in music around these parts was talking about them.
A little over a year later, the band broke up due to members going off to college and making the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Emerging from that breakup is Breachway, the solo project from former Public Alley vocalist and guitarist Noah Barreto.
Recently, Barreto and I had a conversation about him starting the project, getting friends together to record an EP, the cathartic power of music and not having any big goals for next year.
ROB DUGUAY: How did the concept and vision for Breachway come about?
NOAH BARRETO: I had a period in my life where I was making a lot of changes. I was forced to come to terms with a lot of things about myself and about my character that at some point in your 20s you have to come to terms with. A lot of it is represented in one or two songs, I think one of them took a year and a half to finish. Actually, I might have even started writing them around three years ago. I think I just wanted a place for me to express a lot of this catharsis with myself and the beauty of finding what it is about yourself that’s hardest to come to terms with, along with what will never make sense.
Breachway is a beach in Charlestown that I would always go to and process my thoughts. When I was going through a really tough period, I had a therapist who told me to try meditation and that I should go to a place to try it out to see if it would work. I found that when I was meditating, the place I was going to wasn’t as much of a place but it was the drive to Breachway from my house, and I had mesmerized the whole thing. When I meditated, I would imagine myself in my car sort of on that drive and take the turns all the way to Breachway. A lot of my music is sort of that feeling of acceptance that no matter how everything is falling apart and no matter how helpless you might feel, it’s all going to be OK.
RD: Do you feel best expressing yourself through music and art rather than through conversation?
NB: I think there are parts of myself that I express best through music and art. As a person I tend to be really bubbly around people, and there are days when I am in a bad mood or I’m going through something and I just don’t feel great. I sometimes will shut myself off and I don’t talk a lot, and that’ll confuse a lot of people around me. This dichotomy of being extremely jubilant, and then there’s the opposite of that with me, and people don’t know what the heck is going on. Sometimes when I sing lyrics in my songs, it examines what’s going through my head and stuff I tend to put a lot of thought into that I don’t talk about a lot.
You don’t talk about depression, mental illness, anxiety and a lot of that stuff. People have a limit. When you have conversations with people, it’s not something that they want to talk about in their everyday lives, and that makes total sense. Music for me is a way to express that whole side of it for people to get an understanding of how all that is without me having to talk for hours about it. I can still be my happy self while showing that side of me.
RD: This past September, Breachway put out its debut EP, “Bedroom Pop 1.” A few people collaborated with you on it, including ex-Public Alley members Zoe Hinman and Max Fertik. How was it like getting everyone together to record the songs, and how would you describe the overall experience of making the EP?
NB: I wrote the songs while not knowing if I would have people to play with. A lot of the big realizations I made involved me coming to terms with not making people commit to things. One big thing I’ve realized once I got out of high school and college and grew up a little bit is that everyone has passions. It’s not fair necessarily to make someone commit themselves to what you want to do because at the end of the day, people are going to do what they want. I wanted to make a project that was by myself because it’s easier for me to not feel the anxiety of having other people do something that they didn’t necessarily want to commit to.
It let me be a lot more honest and it made things a little bit easier when it came to writing songs. I did ask around about having a couple people involved. Every show I do, I usually try to get some of my friends to join me on stage and wing it. Finally when I was starting to record, I had a few people in mind to collaborate with me on it, so I reached out to them. One of them was Max, of course, and they were all pretty psyched, so I got everyone together and we did it all in one day. We rehearsed it maybe once or twice and we just did it over the course of six hours. Everyone was having so much fun because there was no stakes involved.
RD: Is the EP part of a series? Will there be a “Bedroom Pop 2” and so on?
NB: We actually recorded “Bedroom Pop 2” the other day, that just got finished. We then had a show that night, so we hashed out a bunch of the songs live. It’s kind of the same but a little bit different. There’s a bigger roster of people involved this time around … That’ll be out sometime early next year and we’ll be having a New England tour happening in support of it.
RD: Do you have any major goals for 2020?
NB: I want to get two EPs out, with this one and the next one. That’s definitely the goal. I’m trying to do one every six months if possible, but I’m sure that timeline is going to get screwed up. I’m trying not to overthink everything, I’m not someone who does well with deadlines and the same goes with stress. I mean, it took me two years to start Breachway after I graduated high school. My favorite song off of the current EP I made four days before we went into the studio in 24 hours while dealing with a lot of anxiety.
I don’t have any big goals. I have a lot of things I want to do and I have a lot of places that I want to go in terms of playing shows. I want to play more shows and I want to meet more people.