Carl Barat, Interview

30 June 2011

Interview with Carl Barat

Interview with Carl Barat

Carl Barat is best known as the co-frontman of The Libertines, the band he formed with the infamous Pete Doherty. He was also the frontman and lead guitarist of 'Dirty Pretty Things,' and has turned his hand to modelling, acting, and mentoring in the V Festival's 'Road to V' competition. Barat is currently working on solo material and is an ambassador for Phillips' 'Obsessed with Sound' campaign.

Hi Carl, what are you up to today?
I've just got interviews all day and I'm DJing later. I got whisked away for a night down in Brighton for my birthday a few nights ago, and it was pretty heavy. In fact I'm still suffering from it a bit.

You played a one-off 'invite-only' gig in London on the 22 June. What was the thinking behind that and who was invited?
It's in conjunction with Philips to mark the release of their new iPod dock and it was held at Paramount club at the top of CentrePoint in London. Me and my band had been looking forward to it, and it was a great night!

You're an ambassador for Philips. What does that entail?
I'm told that the quality of the sound for their products is better for the studio and it has a more live sound. So . yeah. I guess it does the job.

You've been in a number of bands. How does it feel to now be solo?
I'm having a great time although it is nerve wracking, I guess because it's more risky doing it on your own. I am lucky though because I have a really good band playing with me - my girlfriend sometimes joins us, and at the moment my brother plays with me. It's a bit of a gang really; good fun.

Any key gigs as a solo artist?
The European tour was great. I'm getting a lot more comfortable performing on my own now - interacting with the crowd and having a bit of banter with them. I used to be quite scared of talking down the microphone, it always felt a bit awkward. I do enjoy playing now a lot more, it's a lot of fun and there's less drama than when you're in a band.

Did you see the recent documentary on The Libertines shown at the East London film festival?
I did go and see it because a friend of mine made it - Roger Sargent - and it's difficult for me to be objective but people seemed to enjoy it. It did bring back a lot of memories, some of them quite emotional ones.

You're performed at the South Bank recently in a re-creation of a pop show?
I did, yes. A friend of mine knows Ray Davies and my name came up to take part, and it was an honour to have been invited. The premise of the show is they're bringing back the 60's TV show 'Ready, Steady, Go' which supported a lot acts back in the day such as The Kinks for example. I'm really excited to be involved.

You worked with Andrew Wyatt and Neil Hannon on your solo record. What do you think they brought to the record and what made you choose them?
I've done the same kind of thing for a lot of years and so one of the great things about being solo is that I no longer have to follow in the trail of any of my old band mates. I've worked with people who are excellent in their field and also who have a very different background musically to what I have. Andy Wyatt has a real electronic background but we did find a common ground as they're both keen on stuff I've done in the past. It's quite an awkward thing to go and write with someone you don't know but I've really enjoyed making the record.

You've got four new tracks coming out too .
I do. One of which was actually going to be on the album but it was too different sounding to the rest of the songs on there - it's a lot darker. Then there's a ballad which is quite powerful, and a recording of a Libertines song which we never put out and a cover.

What would you change about your career if you could go back in time?
There's been some great moments which have been balanced out with the bad but I don't really have any regrets - everything happens for a reason.

You're obviously very passionate about music and write songs for the love of it. How does this affect your songwriting?
If the songs weren't sincere there would be no point in writing them in the first place. If I don't like something I do tend to get quite miserable. I enjoy the creative process and it's cathartic for me to write songs. It allows me to move on from things and let the past be the past.

Has becoming a father effected your lyrics and the way you write in any way?
Well, I've yet write any nauseating 'dad ' songs - I don't think people really want to hear that. But generally, becoming a father has opened my eyes and made me actually want to write more. I see the world as a bigger place now.

What's your most heartfelt song?
Probably So Long My Lover off of the last album. It tells a story, making the past the past - it sums everything up really.

What do you think of the UK music scene at the moment? Who do you respect and particulary enjoy?
I respect everyone who's doing what they're doing but nothing is really getting me going at the minute. I think we're waiting for something, something which will capture hearts and minds. I think it'll happen quite soon.

Any festivals coming up?
A few - Latitude and some other international ones and then it'll be time to finish off my next record.

What's you view on things like Twitter?
I recognise the relevance and importance of it to some people but I'm not very good at it. I need to spend a day working it all out!

Kay Smith

Carl is supporting the Philips 'Obsessed with Sound' campaign for further details visit Philip's facebook page.

Carl's Official Site -

Philip's Facebook -


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