Barn Owl - Biography
Barn Owl is a San Francisco-based psychedelic drone band comprised of Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras, notable for releasing handfuls of home spun tapes and for their intimate, loosely structured live shows. Formed in 2006, both Caminiti and Porras had played in metal bands prior to forming the more insular entity of Barn Owl. They met each other while attending San Francisco State University and rallied around a shared appreciation for author Herman Hesse and minimalist composer La Monte Young, as well as a more cerebral approach to the electric guitar, approaching it as a meditative tool for communicating deeper intuitive realms. Their feedback voyages—which Caminiti refers to as “wrestling with feedback” to determine a course—are more about discovery than anything else, often with an overriding sense of doom. As Porras said in an interview, Barn Owl’s music involves “not the control of sound, but the luring of it.”
Since 2006, Barn Owl has put out multiple releases, most notably 2009’s The Conjurer on Root Strata, which was recorded and produced by The Normal Conquest. The highly expressionist drone on their rarest recordings still embodies the entire “physical presence of sound” they present at a live show. Most of the band’s earliest output was limited to 100 copies, such as the CD-Rs s/t and the Bridge to the Clouds, both from 2007. Their recording Smoke Loom Ceremony (Blackest Rainbow) was limited to just 80 copies. Other releases by the band include the LP 2008’s From Our Mouths A Perpetual Light (Not Not Fun) and the CD-R Raft of Serpents (120 copies).
When not performing together, each member has other projects. Porras has a solo project called Elm, which is DIY bedroom recordings of dreamlike atmospheres. Digitalis has released two small runs of Elm material, including Bxogonoas (90 copies) and Nemcatacoa. Caminiti is in an improvisational act with partner Lisa McGee called Higuma, which Root Strata has released a CD-R for—Haze Valley. He also records as himself, having put out a cassette called Buried Light (Digitalis) and a full-length called Psychic Mud Shrine (Digitalis), each of which is rooted to Caminiti’s obsession for feedback on Fender amps, Gibson guitars and tube amps.