By Allen Steinberg/Quinte Arts Council
Being involved in several musical projects and bringing the dreams of southern-Ontario artists to life through his production work, Quinte-based musician Todd Barriage is integral to local music. Having worked with artists like Ten Sleep, 40 to Famous, Last Chance Marie, Mntclr, Lungless as well as producing his own band, Theatria, his portfolio is extensive and is only getting larger. He also operates one of the highest-quality recording studios in the area right out of his Trenton home, Borland Studio, which is where all the magic happens.
Barriage kicked off his musical journey by learning the drums as a kid. Since then, he’s become a true jack-of-all-trades when it comes to his musical abilities:
“I started playing drums at the age of 13, and haven’t really stopped making noise since. Over the years I picked up bass and guitar and started singing. Once I had the four main rock instruments in my repertoire, I started figuring out how to record my own songs. That turned into recording my friends’ songs, which turned into recording professionally.”
Aside from the music-production life, he’s also the frontman of post-hardcore band Theatria where he has free rein to showcase his songwriting and singing talents. After forming the band in 2011 when all of their members lived in Toronto, Barriage moved back home to the Quinte area where he has since operated the band. Theatria has overcome several ups and downs with member changes and busy personal lives, and as a result, several years span between their two albums Essentialism (2017) and their self-titled 2011 LP. Now, fresh off the release of their new single “Daddy Issues” and with their third full-length record on the way, Theatria is back in full-swing. Barriage says he feels as inspired as ever:
“The new Theatria songs really awakened something in me creatively, and I haven’t been able to stop making music since we started writing. It’s crazy.”
“Daddy Issues” sees the band take their signature emotional, melodic yet heavy style and flip it into something easier to digest. Says Barriage, “This song was a hard reset for the band. Our music has always been really aggressive and dark, but this time around we wanted to do something more accessible. Not for the sake of accessibility, we don’t have aspirations of fame, we’re just a bunch of pop girls at heart and we’re done fighting it.”
Theatria isn’t Barriage’s only passion-project. As a solo act, he releases weekly YouTube videos and covers albums worth of songs. He recently just released a full-album cover of Sing The Sorrow by his favourite band, AFI. Currently, he’s having a blast experimenting with what happens when you combine popular songs and adapt them to the signature pop-punk style of blink-182.
Borland Studio is eager to take in musicians who are looking to bring their song ideas to life. What makes Barriage such a valuable producer is that he has been that young kid in a small town with the seemingly hopeless dream of leaving an imprint on the music world. Growing up in the Quinte region, he and his friends would host their own shows completely DIY, doing anything they could to get their music out into the world in some capacity. These humble beginnings have evolved into Barriage creating the opportunity to pursue music full-time, and thus give up-and-coming artists a voice:
“When I was growing up we threw at least one show every weekend. None of those shows were at traditional venues equipped with a stage and lights and a built-in PA. We rented community centres, sourced some busted speakers, and got to it by ourselves.”
“If the world isn’t giving you an opportunity, you just need to make it yourself,” he adds.