Vidas Bareikis

Vidas Bareikis: “Now is the time for collaboration”

Vidas Bareikis believes Lithuania’s musicians should collaborate with foreign musicians in order to export their music to overseas audiences.

No stranger to working on collaborative tracks, Bareikis has previously performed with well-known Lithuanian artists such as Leon Somov, Inga, and his wife Jurga Seduikyte.

Due to advances in technology, Bareikis believes Lithuanian musicians should use the internet to collaborate with overseas’ musicians – a decision he feels, would see Lithuanian music reach export markets.

“Now is the time for collaboration,” Bareikis tells Music Export Fund before his gig at Tamsta Club in Vilnius on April 20. “It’s the time of communication and we have to connect theatre, movies, and live performances.

Vidas Bareikis

Photo by Žygimantas Gedvila

“It’s the same thing in music – now is the time when a producer abroad can sit with his laptop in a hotel or wherever and create a great track. Then they go to another country, meet the people from there and so on.

“I think now is a great time for creativity.”

Bareikis also revealed that his next album will be entirely in English, a break from his previous albums – ‘Panda’ (2012), ‘Žmogus, bet šuo’ (2014), and ‘Klausimai’ (2015) – which were performed entirely in Lithuanian.

According to Bareikis, performing in Lithuanian can create a situation of “going in circles” for musicians, which is why he feels his music has received no attention from foreign audiences so far.

“Until now, I was focussing on performing in Lithuanian,” he explains. “It was never really my plan to sing in English, but now I feel that I’m just going in circles in Lithuania, you know, just going from one stage to another, and it’s not so interesting.

“However, I am creating a new album entirely in English and of course I have to work in my Eastern European accent,” he says with a laugh. “With songs it’s much easier. I’ve been asking for help from foreigners to sing to me, and then learning how to sound good.

“I’m doing this online with one American guy. I really hope that in the future – two or three years maybe – that we will go somewhere abroad.”

Vidas Bareikis

Photo by Marius Krivičius

For Bareikis, collaboration online is also somewhat of a success story. His video for ‘Babkės‘ – a track which won an award for best debut video at the 2016 Vilnius International Film Festival – was the result of an online collaboration between himself, and Lithuanian animation student, Paulius Norvaiša, who is based in Scotland.

“I think this is a good example of 21st century connections,” he continues. The guy who made it spent half a year on it. It’s funny, because we never saw each other live. He’s Lithuanian but is living in Scotland and studying animation and design. We just spoke online.

While not revealing how much the creation of the video cost, Bareikis admits it was “really cheap” and that he did not fully comprehend how long it takes to create a high-quality animated video.

“I can’t say anything concrete, because the guy who made it asked me to not reveal the cost because it was really cheap. He liked the idea, I liked his style and we found a middle ground.

“When I showed him the song, he said “yeah, I like it but I need half a year.””

To me that was quite shocking, because I always thought that these things would take a month or something. I trusted my intuition and said “okay, take as long as you need.” When he started to send me short 20-second or minute-long clips, I was like smiling like a baby realised it was going to be a success. The style was cool, and everything just fitted.”

Vidas Bareikis - Babkės

Still from Vidas’ music video ‘Babkės’. Animation by Paulius Norvaiša

Discussing ‘Babkės’, Bareikis explains that the song is a critique built upon personal experiences of dealing certain producers in the Lithuanian music industry. According to him, they have a view of  prioritising money and success over art and happiness; the latter of which they see as “nonsense.”

This, then begs the question – does he think that art should be a way of commenting on issues in Lithuania.

His response is immediate yet surprising. He feels this method of social commentary comes from Lithuania’s Soviet-era.

“Yeah, I do think it’s a way of commenting, but it’s actually a tradition from the Soviet times from when art was the only way to stick it to the system.

“On the face of things, we were conforming but in the inside we had one finger at them. I think it’s in our nature a little.

“These days, it’s a harder situation because when you look normally, there is nothing to fight against anymore in Lithuania. On the face of things, everything is cool – we have cheap flights, we can travel, we have some money, we’re not in a war, but, it’s just a facade.

“Internally we have a lot of problems. Everyone now is living with rose-tinted glasses, so art helps. A year ago I was making a lot of songs that criticised somebody or were sarcastic. Maybe now things are different because I feel like I need inspiration, and other people need inspiration, too.

“It’s not what I’m singing about in every song, but I like it when people come to my gigs to get inspired. I think life is great, and we should celebrate that. We should live and not do what most Lithuanians do, by committing suicide.”

And with that conclusion, it seems an appropriate time to conclude the interview. Bareikis is recommending more collaboration to help Lithuania’s music scene become acknowledged internationally.

Your move, musicians…

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