Let's Talk: Misstress Barbara

With a decorated career that spans back to the late ‘90s, Italian-born, Canadian-based artist Misstress Barbara has firmly made her mark on the world of club music.

Amongst her list of past achievements she boasts releases on labels like Bedrock, Intec, and Tronic, and has placed inside DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs poll on multiple occasions.

Next month she will mark the relaunch of her own Iturnem imprint following a decade long hiatus, releasing three brand new tracks which make up her ‘Consensuality’ EP.

We spoke to her recently where we got to ask her about the new release, what her reasons are for wanting to revive the label, and what she might have planned for the coming months. Get the full discussion with Misstress Barbara below.

I hope you’re good Barbara, how has your week been so far?

I am good, thanks. My week has been very busy in the studio. I’ve just finished producing the soundtrack for a new TV show and had to send in the whole project, with about 15 variations for intros, outros, advertisement pauses, etc. A big job, but super satisfying when it’s all finished and you hear it on TV.

You’re about to celebrate the release of your new ‘Consensuality’ EP, what can we expect from the three original tracks on this one?

Yes! And I’m super excited about this release! I’ve been playing every track on the EP all summer and they really rock. You can expect lots of energy from each of the tracks.

‘Consensuality’ is super energetic and a real peak time track that works every single time. ‘Deft’ is straight up in your face raw techno track that fits in any proper techno set.

‘Freedom’ is a track I made last winter, when we were on about our 7th lock down in Montreal, even though we were all vaccinated and stuff, I couldn’t take it anymore, just like everyone else. I couldn’t wait for parties to start again and clubs to re-open, so I made this track with my own vocal and the message is pretty simple and clear. And since I’ve always been a huge fan of acid techno, there had to be an acid line underneath of course.

It comes out on your own Iturnem imprint, what made you decide to relaunch the label after a decade long hiatus?

The same reason why I started it in the first place back in 1999. I don’t have much patience and I remember how long it took back then to send demos via the mail and wait for a response, so I wanted to have the freedom to release my own music whenever I felt like it, with no obstacles.

Now, the challenge is different; it’s not about waiting for your demo tapes to get to their destination and then wait for a fax to come in with a response anymore. No, now it’s actually worse! There is too much crap out there so no one listens to anything anymore, unless your name is hot right now, unless you hang out with the right click of people, or unless you have 150,000 Instagram followers.

If these things aren’t met, there is often no interest and I know it’s a very subconscious thing. But the mind is easily biased even before listening to a demo. So, one things for sure, it’s not about talent anymore.

Plus, if you don’t have a ghost producer, which I do not, then your music probably doesn’t sound like all the rest of the music out there, so it’s not a fit for most big labels, as they don’t know what to do with a sound that’s different, even though the tracks are good.

Let’s say it, this business is made up of a few leaders and many, many sheep. Having said all that, relaunching Iturnem makes me very motivated to make lots of new music and put it out there for the people who love what I do.

And who else might we see on the label over the next few months?

For now, only me. As I mentioned above, everyone plays the same things as everyone else and they follow the same big labels. I think it might take some time before I get a good demo from a talented producer, as everyone wants to be on the bigger labels, and I totally understand that.

You’ve also released music on Octopus Recordings, Intec, and Tronic in the past, will you be working with any other labels in the near future?

I don’t know, because I don’t think I’ll be sending out demos anymore. Unless I get to the point where I really have a lot of releases lined-up on my label and instead of letting my new tracks get old before they are released, then I could perhaps send them out to other labels to release them quicker. But that’s far from being the case right now as I am very busy and I am also very picky with the music I make and decide to release.

Thanks for answering our questions, is there anything else you want to plug before we go?

If you live in the UK, come and see me play at the Godskitchen 25th anniversary in Birmingham on December 17th. I used to be a resident there and I am very much looking forward to seeing some of those old faces again. Otherwise, stay tuned for more releases on Iturnem!

Misstress Barbara – Consensuality EP is out November 11th on Iturnem.