Carl BarÃƒ¢t, former front-man of one of the most iconic bands of the last decade The Libertines, Arcadian dreamer, ex-Dirty Pretty Thing and now solo artist speaks to Hit the Floor Magazine about closure of The Libertines, a possible Dirty Pretty Things‘ reunion and his involvement with the Phillips ‘Obsessed in Sound Campaign’.
The ‘Obsessed in Sound Campaign’ is making people aware that they should settle for nothing less than detailed, refined and high-quality sound at home – no matter how loud the music is played and with Carl’s guitar skills, impressively emotive vocals and captivating live performances Carl is a well-suited frontman for the campaign and is the proof point of the ultimate live music experience.
Philips is introducing four new docking speakers to its ‘Obsessed with Sound’ Fidelio range this May. Each product enhances sound performance and radiates sound quality, while the premium design looks stylish in any home so you can recreate the live music experience in your living room.
Hit the Floor met up with the a rather dapper looking BarÃƒ¢t (new hair cut and all) at Holborn Studios for a general chit chat about the past, present and future.
HTF: You have been asked to front The Philips ‘Obsessed with Sound’ campaign which is encouraging music enthusiasts to settle for nothing less than the live gig experience when tuning into their favourite tracks at home. Can explain why you decided to become involved in this campaign?
CB: There is nothing like performing live in front of a crowd – the buzz for an artist is immense as you can see how people relate to your song. I want people to experience that same kind of passion when listening to music at home.
HTF: You will also be playing a secret gig in London on Wednesday 22 June in conjunction with The Philips ‘Obsessed with Sound’ campaign. Can you tell us more about this?
CB: The intimate gig is to be held at a secret location, and three competition winners from Hit the Floor will be invited to come along to the gig to see me play tracks from my new album and also my new single.
HTF: Oh so do you prefer playing the smaller intimate shows or larger venues and festivals?
CB: Well I guess I couldn’t do one without the other really. If I just did tiny intimate ones it’s chaos and bedlam, so it is nice to have a big crowd and venue or festival yeah but I like to do a bit of both, I don’t like just doing big ones because you can feel too detached.
HTF: So what festivals are you playing this summer?
CB: Latitude, Hop Farm, maybe Glastonbury but not sure yet and a festival in Leighton Buzzard called Close Up. I am also playing a couple abroad.
HTF: You have a new EP coming out soon. Do you know when it’s going to be released?
CB: It is coming out on either the 27th June or 4th July.
HTF: Any stand out tracks?
CB: Well there is only four tracks on it but yeah there is a cover on there Of Death Fires Burn At Night by The Langley Sisters and there is an old Libertines’ song that I did with Pete years ago on there called the Ballad Of Grimaldi.
HTF: Oh, it was never released with The Libertines then?
CB: No and that’s the beauty of it!
HTF: So do you have any plans for future collaborations with The Langley Sisters?
CB: Well they join me on stage, but I couldn’t say at this point. It’s going to be hard because they keep having babies!! Be a while before anything happens.
HTF: I just wanted to ask you about There are No Innocent Bystanders [Roger Sargent’s film about The Libertines] which recently premiered. Obviously it was very emotional for you to watch, do you think this is closure for you and The Libertines and can you move on with a clean slate?
CB: I would definitely say it is for that period, it helped me wrap it all up; finished that got a new hair cut see what I’m saying. Ha ha ha.
HTF: Did you enjoy watching it?
CB: I found it a bit nerve racking, I had seen it the week before so yeah and there was a lot of drink going around, so that helped a bit.
HTF: Will it also be released on DVD for those Lib fans that were unable to make it to the premier?
CB: Yeah there is no date set and hopefully it will be coming out at cinemas to.
HTF: Everyone always talks about The Libertines’ reunion but what we want to know is, when are Dirty Pretty Things getting it back together?
CB: Actually it is not out of the question, I tried to get a gig together for the Tsunami thing but not everyone was too forthcoming with that one so it sort of evaporated; we might at some point.
HTF: You were a very sexy band we thought …
CB: That said we’ll definitely have to get back together!
HTF: You often do DJ sets, what are the top 5 tracks on your playlist?
CB: Um well I always play Do you love me by The Commodores that’s the song that I usually find myself dancing to, I don’t know, its takes me a lot to dance really.
Waiting for the Man by Velvet Underground.
Umm who else ….The Libertines, ha ha ha.
Hey bulldog by The Beatles, that’s quite a rare one, it’s much edger than a lot of them, it’s off Yellow Submarine.
M.I.A, I like the Paper Planes tune that makes everyone go mental for some reason.
HTF: Maybe someone more current?
CB: Yeah ok what else is more current? Maybe something like The Vaccines …
HTF: Oh do you like The Vaccines?
CB: No (ha ha ha) I couldn’t name a tune!
And Jackson 5 Rocking Robin, you’ve got to educate them instead of this Vaccines’ shit.
HTF: You are known for your pretty tasty guitar playing; can you play any other instruments?
CB: Well I can make an elephant noise on a trumpet, and I can also play the piano but it’s more like boxing the piano!
HTF: You studied performing arts at Brunel University, you have acted in a couple of films and also hit the stage with Sadie Frost in the play Fool for Love, is acting something you will be doing more of?
CB: Yeah I think I’m going to do very kind of quiet stuff, I mean I need to get back up to speed and learn my craft a bit better.
HTF: You have also written an auto-biography Threepenny Memoir: The Lives Of A Libertine, [an autobiography documenting his years in The Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things]. Did you actually write it yourself or did you have a ghost writer?
CB: No I wrote it but I had an editor who I worked closely with.
HTF: Why did you feel it was a good time to write this book when you did, as you are only in your early 30s?
CB: It is called a ‘Memoir’ as opposed to a definitive memoir it’s not like my life it is a memoir of that time which means that I can clear everything up in my head.
HTF: So is it mainly about your time in The Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things?
CB: Yeah its more about drawing a line really and understanding the past and writing an account to understand what had gone on because I’m a bit confused with everyone else’s different versions of events.
HTF: And there are so many different versions of events?
CB: Exactly, so I thought I would just sit down and work it out for myself really.
HTF: Do you find it bewildering that people still go on and on about The Libertines?
CB: It does get a bit boring, I keep doing what I do and eventually I’ll get there. I don’t blame people for keep asking the questions.
HTF: When you made your latest album did you really try and move away from the whole guitar sound of The Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things?
CB: Pretty much, yeah, it wasn’t a difficult thing to do. I wanted to write differently and I kind of did; a lot of people give you stick for changing but further down the line people appreciate what you do.
HTF: So what is next for Carl Barat?
CB: Well, I guess I can write a new record now and let the past be the past and instead of working out what the past is work out what the future is.
Interviewer: Julie Elford & Nikki Grahame