BIOGRAPHIES

As Shrink the Giant began working on their second record Faceless, it was clear they were headed in a new direction. As they were leaving behind their teenage lives, they faced the tragic death of a friend. These circumstances produced a mixture of solemnity and hopeful determination, wrapped in bitter-sweet emotion which spilled onto both lyric sheets and guitar frets. Songs like “Crash” and the title track “Faceless” tell the story of loss and mourning. But, as Dixie Sun News noted, “tracks like ‘Southwalk,’ ‘Lovely Lucy’ and ‘Sly’ show Shrink the Giant has matured in an odd way: by having more fun.” Whether the song is about life or death -- inspired by the keys to your first apartment, or driving home from a funeral -- Faceless is unabashedly honest. It is proof that art is not created after the bills are paid and the house is cleaned... Art is often borne out of the fires of adversity, and subsequently, our lives are forged by art.

 

Faceless begins with a deceptive low-tech 808-esque beat and clunky guitar riff, which then explodes into an unexpectedly exuberant cascading polyphony of alternative pop rock. "Southwalk," in all its paradoxical, sarcastic glory, is the perfect opener for Faceless, an album full of both lyrical and musical contrast. As the album manipulates sounds with an impressive array of diverse instrumentation, it purposefully travels through genres, while the songs and stories dictate polarized styles and moods. Despite the album’s musical mélange, Stefania Barr’s brash but confessional vocals bring cohesion and purpose. Multi-part harmonies, thickly layered, even theatrical production, and plenty of sonic treats make Faceless, as Filmbuzz puts it, “the culmination of six dedicated musicians, supportive fans, one producer, and a love of music in a back room studio.” In other words, it’s great. Well, it’s not bad. It could be worse… You decide.

 

Shrink the Giant was born in 2010, when front-woman Stefania Barr was only fifteen years old. They immediately began writing and recording their first record without having yet stepped on stage as a band. Despite their youth, and lack of live experience, their 2012 self-titled album and live emergence was met with immense success. They won alternative rock station X96’s Battle of the Bands, and played with groups such as Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, Grouplove, Awolnation, the Wombats, and the Used. The album garnered fans from around the world. In 2013, they toured the California coast. And in 2014, Shrink the Giant won Best Alternative Band at the Utah Music Awards, and kicked off the summer with another California tour. The success of the past few years has been wildly encouraging, and the band is hoping to continue forward in exponential success in the years to come.

 

They just released a music video and acoustic session of their single, “Fast and Far.”

 

 

 

 

STEFANIA BARR

Stefania (lead singer, keys, guitars, bells, etc.) started classical piano training when she was five years old. As a child, she regularly performed around her home state of Utah. At eleven years old, she picked up the French horn. The guitar came next. Since then, she’s learned over a dozen musical instruments. Composition and improvisation were a huge part of her musical training. She’s composed and orchestrated numerous pieces, been a member of wind symphonies, orchestras, ensembles, and choirs, and has even directed some of them.

 

She never really pursued her own voice as an instrument until creating Shrink the Giant at the age of fifteen. The band became an outlet for wild expression. She’s known for her ebullient stage presence and explosive amounts of energy. She has so much fun on stage that it’s hard not have fun when you watch her.

 

When the band started recording in their bedroom studio, she took an interest in sound engineering and stepped up as one of the lead engineers on the album. She pursued further training, taking classes at UVU, and attending the Audio Engineering Society’s 2014 conference in Los Angeles. Since then, Stefania has worked in several recording studios across the state, and is the head engineer for all things Shrink the Giant.

 

Besides work as an audio engineer, Stefania has several other successful careers. She is an accomplished actress, having appeared in over 30 films, commercials, internet spots, and more, including work for the Disney Channel and Sundance Institute. She will be appearing in the 2017 thriller Small Town Crime. She has worked as a session singer, a model, a photographer, and cinematographer. Her directorial-debut film Stone Cold will premiere this spring.

AARON HURT

Aaron is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist. He picked up the bass guitar in his early teens, and would practice in the middle school band room. He played bass in a number of groups before starting to write and record his own songs on the guitar. He joined Stefania in the fall of 2010 to create Shrink the Giant as a duo. They tracked the whole first album together. And while he is the guitarist, he wrote most of the drum parts for both records. Aaron is the rhythm master. Even his guitar riffs are characterized by their rhythmic qualities.

 

In his spare time he plays in one of the best-paid drum-lines in the United States—the Green Man Group (not to be confused with the Blue Man Group). He is also an active vlogger, and parody musician.

 

SEBASTIAN BARR

Sebastian, Stefania’s younger brother, was known from a young age as a melody maker, constantly humming a tune or singing a made-up jingle. It was a relief to everyone in his family when he picked up the violin at ten years old and channeled his creativity to the instrument. He practiced diligently every day, for sometimes eight or ten hours. He took it very seriously.

 

He was only thirteen years old when Stefania asked him to join the band. He was already an impressive violinist and vocalist, and with his acting experience, stage performance came easily to him. Plus, with his big smile and baby blues, he’s proven to be a heartthrob.

 

Sebastian came as the total package. His high energy, and vocal compatibility with his sister quickly took him from the back of the stage to the front. He is now considered the second front man of the band, and his violin melodies often take the place of the traditional lead guitar.

 

Off stage, Sebastian is the quirky little brother of the band. He has a contagious laugh, and a love for life that competes with the happiest of children. In social situations he is the unabashed icebreaker, and the life of the party; and in private he is a focused and hard worker. His musical ability and friendly personality have helped him find huge success and many friends in Russia, where he is currently touring, performing violin, and doing volunteer work.

 

MARISA WILDE

If the word "prodigy" applied to anyone in the band, it would be Marisa. When she isn’t playing with us, she is playing as a professional jazz bassist with whoever can afford to hire her. Marisa has played all over the country, including the prestigious Carnegie Hall. With as much skill and energy Marisa puts into a performance, it might be hard to believe that she used to be the most timid band member. Hard work and hundreds of performances have turned this shy girl into one of the most exuberant and talented members of the band.

 

Marisa is a musician, through and through. She is pursuing a degree in Commercial Music at Utah Valley University, and plays more instruments than you could count on your fingers and toes. In addition to the bass and backup vocals she contributes to Shrink the Giant, she is a stellar pianist and trumpetist. She also plays the flute, saxophone, tuba, baritone, trombone, guitar, ukulele, drums, marimba… well… Let’s be honest. She can play pretty much everything. She is currently performing trumpet with the Nauvoo Brass Band in Illinois, USA.

 

OAKLEY HILL

Oakley joined the band in January of 2015, shortly after the release of Faceless. Our former drummer recommended Oakley as a replacement. We had played a show with one of Oakley's other bands several months earlier. It’s hard to forget Oakley once you’ve seen him perform. His big smiles, stick tricks, and high-energy draw attention to the back of the stage.

 

Oakley was a sponsored snowboarder and was planning on pursuing it professionally before breaking his neck in a trampoline accident. He is partially bionic due the the metal plates in his neck.

 

Oakley has played the drums for a majority of his life. He’s played in numerous bands, drumlines, and other groups.

 

Oakley still performs with the bands he was in before joining Shrink. He tours the western-US with post-rock band 20storiesfalling, and occasionally plays with pop-punk band Summer Lasts Forever. In his spare time Oakley is a public speaker, an author, and a student. He will soon graduate from Utah Valley University with an Integrated Studies degree in Ethics and Peace Studies.

 

 

JEAN-CHRISTIAN BARR

Jean-Christian became a full-time member of the band in 2014 after spending two years in Paris, France. (He had previously contributed to a few musical ideas on the first album, before leaving for Paris). He is the oldest of the Barr siblings, and like the others, has played music since childhood. Jean-Christian was a concert pianist by the age of six, and by the age of eight had already written his first three-movement sonata. Jean-Christian adds a lot to the band. His fingers fly across the keyboard, and his electronic treats flavor Shrink the Giant’s live persona.

 

When he’s not performing with the band, Jean-Christian is likely learning new classical pieces, or teaching piano students. He’s currently a senior at the University of Utah and will graduate in the spring of 2017 with a degree in Business Marketing. His knowledge of marketing has been incredibly valuable to the band, and his creative ideas continually help Shrink the Giant reach new audiences.

 

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