Artist in Residence // Oct 9 – Oct 13

Erin K. Barnes is a writer living in Denver with her Velvet Elvis painting, husband, 20,000 vintage dresses, daughter, son, champagne flutes she never uses, asymmetrically-whiskered cat, twenty packages of backup coffee, and a really old dog, in no particular order.

She was once told by a neurologist that she has a “really strange brain.” In her case, this means sensory processing issues, ASMR and synesthesia.

During Erin’s writing residency, she worked on her music-fueled memoirs and sat down with the Musician’s Help Desk Podcast to talk about ASMR and synesthesia.

From Erin:

“I spent a glorious five days exploring my synesthesia at the Fort Collins music incubator The Music District. Typically their artists-in-residency are musicians, but since my teenage memoirs feature a lot of music writing, I got in on a technicality. It was the first time in over five years I’ve sat in a room alone, just having my mind blown by music. I also tasted the finest coffee-flavored tequila at the pub across the street. Seriously, go take a tequila shot at the Colorado Room right now.

Erin and Alysia asked me discuss my synesthesia on a podcast, and it was so eye-opening, even for me. Despite being inside of my own head, I often don’t question the way my brain works. I take much of it for granted. For example, what do you think the color of wet is? I would assume that everyone would imagine silver when they feel the sensation of wetness. Similarly, I have the type of brain that knows that the correct time of year to listen to “The Killing Moon” by Echo and the Bunnymen is Fall. Or is it just me?

Erin and Alysia were surprised by how I experience sound, which can give me physical sensations, like pleasant tingles up my spine, crunching brain massages and even taking my breath away (in a good way).  We listened to music on the podcast, describing the shapes and colors each songs brought forward, and it quickly started to feel like we were tripping balls. We also discovered that Lorde could mind-control me with her synesthetic music if she wanted to. It was an insanely good time, I actually couldn’t stop giggling. The podcast comes out October 29, and we’re hoping to host a synesthesia listening party sometime in the near future.

I made a playlist of songs that bring out the synesthesia in me, with a contribution from Alysia (the first song is hers, which gave her a full out-of-body experience). These are songs that are bright, crunchy, textured, strange and delicious. Check out my blog at the Music District when it comes out to learn how you can harness your inner synesthesia to become a creative weirdo like me.

SYNESTHESIA PLAYLIST