A Man of Contrasts; DJ High Contrast, Also Known as Lincoln Barrett, Shows His True Colours to Stephen Johnson

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), June 1, 2002 | Go to article overview

A Man of Contrasts; DJ High Contrast, Also Known as Lincoln Barrett, Shows His True Colours to Stephen Johnson


Byline: Stephen Johnson

TO be on the threshold of fame, wealth and critical acclaim is, for many of us, the stuff of dreams - but for Cardiff-born, Penarth-raised Lincoln Barrett that's the scenario he's currently facing.

Better known to clubbers across the UK as High Contrast, 22-year-old Lincoln is a drum 'n' bass DJ and producer who is on the cusp of something even he is having trouble grasping.

His latest single Global Love - his first to be released as a CD - was released on May 20 and entered the national charts at 68, hitting the number four slot in the dance chart.

His album, True Colours, is released on June 10 and it has already been showered with much critical acclaim. But how did someone who grew up in a household which played rock 'n' roll (father) and Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen (mother), and whose ambition ever since he was knee high to tripod, was to be a film director, start producing music which is being hailed as the soundtrack of the summer and could turn him into a star.

``I didn't listen to music, not even when I was growing up. At that time everyone was listening to grunge, but I wasn't interested.

``Since I was a little kid I wanted to be a film director. It wasn't until I heard drum 'n' bass that I got into music.'' Drum 'n' bass changed everything, though Barrett still went on to study film at Newport, where he graduated with a 2:1. But he believes that his love of film has helped inform his music.

``The films I like are right across the board - from French New Wave to trashy exploitation movies - and directors like Dario Argento, John Woo, John Carpenter and David Cronenberg. And there are definite cinematic qualities to my music, for example, Return of Forever (his last single) makes me think of Rocky, it has an uplifting sound to it.

``I do go for that theme music register on my tracks and I sample quite a bit from films, but (laughing) I'd rather notsay which ones.'' Modest, almost shy, High Contrast is possibly the most unlikely star-in-waiting the drum 'n' bass scene as thrown up.

There was a look of horror on his face when the photographer turned up and he muttered ``I didn't realise, I would have shaved otherwise.'' And it's not only his humble demeanour. A vegetarian, Lincoln doesn't drink, smoke or take drugs.

``I took each one in turn and made a decision. I'm quite a rational person and I think things through.

``Primarily, I don't enjoy any of them. Also there are broader social and political reasons behind it.

``Alcohol is the biggest used drug in this country. …

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