BARRY WEINBERG: Epic Story of Enlightenment

South Florida Prog Rock Songwriter BARRY WEINBERG Launches “Beyond the Astral Sky” Single

Barry Weinberg, a progressive rock songwriter from South Florida, recently launched his new album entitled ‘Samsarana,’ an effort that sees the artist exploring different soundscapes evolving around the personal experiences. In a new interview for Prog Sphere, Winberg talks about his vision with the album, the creative process behind it, and more.

Describe the musical vision propelling your new album Samsarana.

Like it says on the cover, my vision for Samsarana was a “Cinematic Rock Experience,” a movie for the ears, a musical novel with each song a chapter in an epic story of enlightenment and the breaking free of Samsarana - the endless cycle of birth, life and death – “This Vicious Circle.”

The album begins unconventionally with static – representing the chaos before creation. It is followed by a Big Bang and the orchestral music of “Conception” expresses the Universe coming into being. Consciousness emerges in “Creation” and so the story begins.

The working title of the album was “A God’s Tale” and I wanted to tell the story of a Universal Being creating the universe in order to experience itself, getting caught in the cycles of Karma and then breaking free.

What made it the right time to pursue that vision?

I started playing music when I was 12 and have always expressed myself best through songwriting. Many of the songs on the album I wrote at different times in my life. The earliest being “Beyond the Astral Sky” which I wrote when I was 18. (I’m soon to be 50!)

In 2006, I had the opportunity to write the soundtrack for a documentary film called “Florida Crackers: The Cowboys and Cattleman of Florida.” I heard about the project and submitted a song to the producer, he loved it and hired me. I wrote 18 songs for the film and for the first time had the experience of working in a professional music studio. I LOVED IT! It was at that time that the seed of Samsarana was planted. I thought to myself, “If I could do this for someone else, why not finally record MY music that I’ve worked on my whole life and share it with the WORLD!

Knowing how my creative process works, I felt that recording it at home would be much more effective for me than to go into a studio, so I started doing research and I put together a home studio over the course of the next year. Once everything was in place, I started laying down the tracks. As each song was recorded, I saw a story unfolding. I worked on it diligently for almost 10 years and in 2017 it was completed!

Barry Weinberg - Samsarana

Barry Weinberg – Samsarana

Tell me about what you’re communicating with the album cover.

In designing the artwork, I wanted to convey the idea of Creation, both musically and universally. Originally, I created a graphic of an eye floating out in space with a child reaching up to it. I sent it to my brother-in-law in Germany who is a graphic designer and the next day, he sent me back the image that is now on the cover. I loved it and we used it.

The album has a companion 13-page art and lyric booklet that is available for download when a person signs up for our fanclub on our website. In this booklet, each song has its own image in a similar style to the album cover.

What was the creative process for Samsarana like?

It was like simultaneously writing a novel, composing and arranging a film score and painting a picture. When starting this project, much of the music and lyrics were already written, but as I started recording, the music evolved beyond what I originally intended and new songs emerged to fill the gaps in the overall story of Samsarana.

The first thing people wonder when they hear about the album is “what kind of music is it?” Is it rock? Is it metal? Is it folk? The answer is yes. Besides the actual music and lyrics, I put a lot of attention on which style would best convey the message and mood of that song or “Chapter.” In fact, in some songs I combine genres and even transition from one to another. For example, “Endless Sea” starts off as a Bob Dylan-esque folk song evolves into more of a Bob Seger-y rock song and in the middle becomes an all out Grunge Metal breakout. It was a lot of fun to not be attached to any one genre and just express what needed to be expressed in the way it needed to be expressed.

Recording each song was like painting a picture. I’d first lay down the foundation with the basic tracks of percussion, bass, rhythm guitar and keyboards, if there were any. Then I’d add the lead guitars and vocals. I’d then listen to the song and in the context of the overall story, I’d add textures and effects to enhance the mood of the “scene.”

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Absolutely. Each song carries the story forward and between each song are sound recordings that bridge one song to the next. Another dynamic of the overall story is the influence of polarity in our lives. Love and Hate. Life and Death. Good and Evil. Therefore, I wanted to express this polarity using counterpoint between tones and genres between songs and sometimes within a song. For example, “Come Out and Play” is a fun, hard rock song about teenage crushes and the confusion we have as kids about what love is. This is followed by “A Passage of Time” which is a song I wrote for my wife when I proposed to her. This song is an acoustic, classical guitar and my voice. No effects, no other tracks. Very different than “Come Out and Play.” This play of polarities is expressed throughout the album.

Which bands or artists influence your work?

The biggest influences to my work are Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Ayreon, Queensryche, Rush, Metallica and Andrew Lloyd Weber.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

Yes. It is my intention that my music inspires people to explore their own lives and contemplate how best to live to their full potential and break free of their own “Vicious Circle.” I also see this inspiring people who have put off their lifelong dream, deciding to take action to make it happen. This is why I chose to name my production company, Dream Reality Productions. Making this album was a dream I’ve had since I’m a young boy and now at 50, I made a decision and made it happen!

What are your future plans?

Right now I’m working diligently to spread the word to get the album out to the people. I have no immediate plans to tour or perform the album live, but I do see in the future a big theatrical production of the album like a Pink Floyd The Wall. Since I performed all the vocals and instruments on the album (except for the drums), I have to first get a band together.

I’m also starting to feel the spark of an idea of my next album. Stay tuned!

Samsarana is out now; order it from Barry Weinberg’s official website.

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