Student Spotlight: Brent Barstow

The beautiful variety brought by Sonoma State University in the students it accepts is in their talents, achievements and thoughts. Brent Barstow, a fourth-year student at the university, is one of many in that variety and helps keep that reputation up through his creative work. Though majoring in communication studies, Barstow has incorporated his creative ideas in the form of video and music.

Barstow was seated with the guitar around the time he was 4 years old, back when he lived in his hometown of Pleasanton. He learned the basics of music through that instrument and the piano and self-taught himself to where he is now. While attending high school, he played synthesizer leads for a band once called Vision. They are now known as Dad Glasses and can be found on SoundCloud.

Barstow came to Sonoma State in 2009. After trying a hand at baseball, Barstow took the communications studies major and stuck with it for four years.

“It seemed the best vehicle to take, especially when going into production of film and music,” said Barstow. “I like staying original and sending my work out there; if one person can get into it, why not others as well?”

Barstow’s music is a hip-hop/RnB genre and is produced using Ableton, a recording and mixing software. He first got introduced into this field of music by a few friends from a group known as “Friendzone.”

Friendzone was created by James Laurence and Dylan Reznick from Pleasanton who had started to go into producing and sound engineering. Several tracks guest Barstow as vocalist. The smooth vocal style Barstow sings combined with the effects mixed into it suits well with the dark, reverberated beat.

While being up at the college away from all old roots, situations have led Barstow to pursue a solo act. He has ventured into genres of more hip-hop based material.

“Some of these songs are just instrumental jams,” said Barstow. “A couple of buddies and I just did these synthesizer jams over a beat.”

The collaborative opportunities were still there for Barstow. “Deepspace” is a short film that Barstow entered into Campus MovieFest last year. He composed the music for the video and the clip went on to win the award for best soundtrack.

It was a music video with random aspects that synchronize with the music of sampled sounds dubbed underneath. The video can be viewed on the Campus MovieFest page via YouTube. He has submitted two for this year’s movie festival: a zombie horror short in “Break” and a more sci-fi twist in “Call In.”

Barstow produces various styles in music and songs he has put together in his solo efforts, from solid beats mixed with rhythmic rapping as heard in “Warlock,” to singing along to a guitar and mesmerizing background ambience such as in “Signs.” Being a musician for a good majority of his life, he has brought his own music to levels of a new wave sound.

His solo work can be found on SoundCloud under his name. He plans on attending Ex’pression College for Digital Arts after graduating Sonoma State. He also plans perform for KSUN’s “Day in the Sun” and SSU’s Nomachella music festival in the spring semester.