The Barratts have been building and building their reputation and repertoire since their debut single of 2015, and with new single ‘The Garrison’ the Northampton quintet have taken another step forward. The pure rock’n’roll anthem is undeniable, and matched with June single ‘Satellites’ is showing them having a vintage year. New Boots asked singer James Faulkner a few questions, naturally.
For those that don’t know, take us back to 2014 beginnings. How did the band form?
Famously, quiet suburbs in this country don’t provide a lot of inspiring opportunities for schoolkids, hence why you don’t leave your bike outside the shop when you go to stock up on Ice Poles. As the original lineup, we all fell in together one by one on the school field, finally finding something urgent, unbridled, and meaningful – somehow profound in a way that schoolmasters would never understand, and yet raucous in a way that carried more substance than any form of rebellion we’d ever been presented with.
What were the main musical influences in forging the band idea?
We began with such a wide array of sounds, and slowly culled them into what we have now, for better or worse. We snatched the feel of sinister Jack White-esque riffs and of eloquent jangly surf, and reworked them with mawkish poetry and the surging beat of modern indie.
In 2016 you made waves with a stunning debut EP and big show at The Roadmender. Was that love expected, or a bit of a surprise? It set high standards to follow, certainly.
Well, we booked the room and then had no choice really, but we were never expecting it to actually happen. Northampton has always been flatteringly kind to us in showing their affections, and we hope it goes on as it has. We may be back, who knows…
You had a bit of a recording break and then returned earlier this year with ‘Satellites’. What did you do during these 2 years? What did the time away teach you?
We had to learn to manage ourselves, along with navigating the travel without a van, and to be the judge of our own music, rather than have a valuable critic in the room all the time. It was really a matter of having to take things on the chin rather than flounder and drop the torch – hence why we spent most of the time gigging, as we could manage to do that, whereas recording just isn’t affordable on unskilled 19 year old wages. We were itching to get back into it, and we’re finally here. We have been listening to so much stuff together over all this time, and we’re really excited with the way guitar music is going in this country.
Tell us everything about ‘The Garrison’.
‘The Garrison’ was recorded at The Lodge in good old Northampton, and we’re really happy with the end result; the gents in there are really easy to work with, and give you none of the music industry farcical jargon. It was written just over a year ago because we took it to Poitiers, France as something of a newborn, and there we decided that it would be accompanying us into the studio when possible. The sleeve artwork is in fact a house party in Poitiers – a Barratts Where’s Wally. It actually came up first of all when we were jamming the building intro to a really old number of ours and came across a new groove for it. It feels good to raise the dead, they’re often wiser.
How do you view the Northamptonshire music scene at the moment?
There seems to be plenty of great shows going on, but all in a somewhat scattershot fashion, since there is no central flagship venue to flock to. If there was somewhere which was undisputedly the place to go, dedicated to live music, then the crowds could be better on your average gig, even on weeknights. We have a certain melancholy faith in the town and her people, as you have hopefully picked up from our songs – we just need some businessmen to put their trust in them. There are so many bands and people offstage putting the hours in.
What has been your favourite band moment so far this year?
We are going to have to say playing This Feeling’s Barn stage at Truck Festival. It was such a buzz to be playing our first major festival. The crowd were affectionate, the lineup was remarkable, and we had the best time both onstage and off. It also a felt like a bit of a victorious moment, given the troubles we’ve overcome this year, to have actually got there and played to an attentive audience.
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
We’re very impressed with The Blinders’ album, it’s not very often a young indie band attempts a concept album nowadays, let alone pulls it off. We think It may well wake a good few people up to what’s going on in the sweaty cellars in a town near them. The last one any of us bought was actually the Matt Hollywood & The Bad Feelings album after their recent gig at The Lab. Immersive, to say the least.
What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans can you share?
All we want is to get out there and play as much as we can, we have a couple of singles coming up and when they’re out we may press CD’s of all four and celebrate with a big old show.