His early ventures to scout Miami bands after his life-changing move led Barbacci to discover that his slowed-down acoustic/folk sound might not cut it with Miami's thrill-seeking audiences.
"I went to a show with Las Nubes, Zeta, and Palomino Blond at Gramps," Barbacci remembers. "That's where I went, 'Oh shit! This is the scene. This is what I want to do.'"
Barbacci's fresh life in the Magic City mutated his music into a heavier, quicker, and darker sound. He created Mold, a psychedelic noise-rock outfit that has since released an EP and played shows all around town.
With two years of songs up his sleeve, Barbacci has been working a 9-to-5 gig for the past ten months, only to invest every dime into recording and mastering Mold's first full-length album, No Silence! engineered and mixed by Ryan Haft, who has worked with notable bands such as Torche, Jacuzzi Boys, Donzii, Jaialai, and Holly Hunt, and mastered by Dave Cooley, who has been credited on albums by J Dilla, Paramore, and Silversun Pickups.
Funding and managing the band on his own, Barbacci found his life and finances twisted into chaos.
"I'm on my own, and I think I did pretty well for one dude, but to be honest, I had many moments where I thought: Am I insane? I'm spending thousands and thousands of dollars on this," he concedes.
After nearly sacrificing his sanity to finish the album, which is set to release in August, Barbacci is ready to quit his day job to be a musician full-time again and focus his energy on making sure as many ears as possible hear the record.
"It's a very misleading single," admits Barbacci, who purchased a Fender Jaguar guitar to evoke the fuzzy shoegaze sound that pervades No Silence! "The music is very happy and nostalgic, but the rest of the album is darker. "
Barbacci screams out the lyrics, "We keep running away, but there's nowhere to go," almost sounding like a spoiled child who's pissed at life. The song's lyrics echo Barbacci's difficult decision to upend his life in Peru and the hardships that followed.
"It's a protest to the shit you go through in life, the things that make you struggle," he explains.
Dropping alongside the single (which is already available for preorder) will be a music video directed by local musician and creative Gabriel Duque. The video stars a clown who befriends a normal human ostracized and challenged by other clowns who disapprove of the unconventional friendship, leading to a full-on brawl.
For Barbacci, the visual elements are as important as the music. The single's title, for instance, which is stylized in all caps and ends with an exclamation point. (All the tracks on the album, along with the album's title, follow this style.) Influenced by the propaganda text from John Carpenter's film They Live (which also inspired Shepard Fairey's "Obey" street art), Barbacci intentionally curated the typography to convey an urgent and intense feeling to match the album's pace and mood.
Now that Barbacci is fully vaccinated, he's ready resume his high-energy, loud-as-hell live performances. His next show is a bill alongside local acts Ben Katzman's DeGreaser, the Creature Cage, and Seafoam Walls at the Black Market at the Anderson.
"I'm excited because for the first time we're going to play a live show as a four-piece with a synth player, bass player, drummer, and me on guitar and vocals — all the members are new," he says.
Joining Barbacci on stage are bassist Julian Beltran, drummer Carlos De Armas, and Jake Lara on synth.
"We're going to play a show that will actually feel like old times — though I still recommend people to mask up even if they're vaccinated," Barbacci hastens to add. "Let's have some safe fun."
The Black Market. With Mold, Ben Katzman's DeGreaser, Seafoam Walls, and the Creature Cage. 5 p.m. Saturday, May 29, at the Anderson, 709 NE 79th St., Miami; theandersonmiami.com. Tickets cost $10 via eventbrite.com.