Jeremy Barnes (born September 18, 1976) is an American musician. He was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the son of a local businessman. In 1995 he moved to Chicago to attend DePaul University but left school in January 1996 to tour with the band Neutral Milk Hotel, which was a part of the Athens, Georgia-based Elephant 6 music collective. Neutral Milk Hotel disbanded in 1998 and Barnes spent time traveling in Europe and working as a postman. He also played with Broadcast, The Gerbils and Bablicon.
Barnes cites his initial introduction to Eastern European music as having been in 1999 while on tour. After being introduced to Bulgarian music, he lived in a predominantly Ukrainian Chicago neighborhood and developed an interest in Romanian music.
"I was kind of at a dead end in what I was listening to, and it just opened up a whole new world for me," he said in a 2011 interview with Noise Narcs. "That was in 1999. For a while it affected the way I looked at my music, but I was still playing drums in bands, and it didn’t seem like something I should pursue. You go through these fads or trends as a listener, where you’re really into something for a month and then it changes. But with this music, it’s been now twelve years or more, and it gradually seeped into everything that I do."
In 2001 he formed A Hawk and a Hacksaw, in France. In 2005 he met Heather Trost, who performs with him in A Hawk and A Hacksaw. Both Barnes and Trost contributed to the debut album by Beirut, Gulag Orkestar. In an interview, Zach Condon of Beirut was asked who was the most influential person in his career, and he replied: "I'd say probably one of the most important people I've met, as far as my career and just giving it to me straight, would be Jeremy Barnes... he taught me some of the tricks of the music industry, he all-around took me under his wing..." A Hawk and A Hacksaw's recording and touring line-up over the years has included Hungarian, Romanian, and English musicians, notably Fanfare Cioclaria, Ferenc Kovacs, Balász Unger, Chris Hladowski, and Kalman Balogh. One recent touring iteration included Chicagoans Samuel Johnson, trumpet, and George Lawler, doumbek. Barnes and Trost are now married and live in Atrisco, New Mexico.
Barnes and Trost created the label L.M. Dupli-cation to release their own recordings as well as music by other folk-related groups. Barnes has said he intends to release contemporary music as well as earlier music that is no longer available. They have released home recordings by John Jacob Niles, an album of Turkish wedding music by Cüneyt Sepetçi and Orchestra Dolapdere, and a compilation of music from the Caucasus Mountains, called Mountains of Tongues.
In Neutral Milk Hotel, Barnes plays a four piece C&C drum kit (24 inch bass drum) Paiste Giant Beat and Istanbul Agop Cymbals, and a Wurlitzer MLM organ. In A Hawk and A Hacksaw, he plays vintage Da Vinci, Dallape and Weltmeister Supita Accordions and the Iranian santur.