Name: Mattie Barbier

Nationality: American

Occupation: Trombone player, composer
Current Release: Mattie Barbier's threads is out via sofa.

If you enjoyed this interview with Mattie Barbier, visit their official website for more information. We also recommend out expansive 15 Questions interview with Mattie Barbier for a deeper dive into their thoughts and processes.

Over the course
of their career, Mattie Barbier has worked with a wide range of artists, including Sarah Davachi and Michael Pisaro.

[Read our Sarah Davachi interview]
[Read our Sarah Davachi interview about her creative process]
[Read our Michael Pisaro interview]

Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?

I honestly don’t really know? I don’t really feel like I’m particularly good at dealing with many of those things, but making work does help make quiet inside of myself which helps create the bandwidth to exist with a lot of the big topics.

Were there perhaps events or occasions when music played an important role in this regard?

I do have a really distinct memory of when my grandfather passed away and being asked to play at his funeral. He was a person I was really close to, especially when I started playing a lot of classical music as a teenager. I had a ton of anxiety about doing a good job as he was always a person who built a lot of his identity around doing a good job and really instilled that in the family.

For the funeral our flights were delayed and we ended up basically walking into the church right as the funeral started. I just had to take my horn out straight away after a red-eye and play. I honestly don’t remember much of what happened, just that it really meant a lot to my family members and making sound in the church felt really cathartic.

How do you look back on that experience now?

It was a pretty meaningful realization for me that the idea of doing a good job isn’t about how measurably well one’s work is - it’s just showing up and being present while making something to share with others.

I don’t know if it made me understand death and loss any better, but it’s been a strong reminder that just because I have my own worries and opinions about what I’m doing doesn’t mean it’s not creating a very different and meaningful space for someone else.

That music helps me create space for myself to be with those kinds of feelings but also that I shouldn’t let my own feelings and anxieties dictate that space for others - to just be present with sound and allow that to make room.