Q&A: Carl Barat on The Libertines, The Jackals, Pete Doherty and what 2017 has in store

Ahead of a special one-off London charity gig for child refugees, Carlos talks to NME about the future of The Libertines, the new Jackals' album, his work as a producer, what he's been listening to and what 2017 has in store...

How was it playing in South America with The Libertines?

“It’s a bit of an untouched continent for us really. The fans were mental. We had [people playing] guitars outside the hotel and just a little festival. It was great.”

What do you think it is about the music of The Libertines that translates well into another culture?


“I don’t know really. There’s a sense of loyalty and they just love the fact that we’ve put the effort in. It’s deeper than that, though. There’s definitely some kind of resonance. Just passion.”

What are you working on now that you’re off the road?

“I’ve got The Jackals, so I’m getting back together with the boys. We had a bit of a reunion the other night, laid our cards out on the table. We want to get something recorded and get something out while Pete’s off doing his thing in South America.”

The first Jackals album, ‘Let It Reign’, was a pretty rocky affair. Will you be continuing with that kind of sound?

“With The Jackals, I can get a lot heavier stuff under the radar than with The Libertines. I look for that, to do something different. There’s no point having the same band twice with one of them little and one of them massive – like a penny farthing. There’s a different chemistry and the boys are from a heavier music background so it’s great to let rip a little. We’ve toyed with different directions but we want to keep it organic and free.”

Do you listen to much rock?


“I grew up on Rage Against The Machine and Iron Maiden, if you go far enough back. I would listen to Megadeth, Metallica and that kind of stuff. I was a Kerrang and Metal Hammer reader. Then more stuff like Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age – I’ve always had a soft spot for that. Angst never lies.”

Have you had any thoughts new Libertines materials or are you just focusing on Jackals right for now?

“We’re looking to bed in together. We want to get our own place, which is a bit of a long and convoluted project. There’s a lot of planning and maybes which I can’t say too much about, but we’re looking at getting our own factory. If we don’t have something by next year, then my name’s not Donald Clinton.”

There was a decade’s wait for 2015’s ‘Anthems For Doomed Youth’. Is the pressure amped up as high as it was then?

“I think we’re in a position now where the pressure is always up. It always has been. The pressure is on just to make the best record we can. I’m excited and confident that we’ve got something to say and write about as always and all that chemistry can come out true to form.”

What’s been inspiring you as of late?

“The things we write about are kind of life-long themes – it’s part of the vocabulary really. I certainly think its good to explore new ideas and write about other things but our voices are our voices and that’s not changing.”

So we can expect more ‘classic Libs’?

“I guess so. That’s a nice way of looking at it. We’ll just be rolling up our sleeves and the hard work will pay off. Arbeit macht frei.”

So you’ll be playing a special London charity gig for the benefit of child refugees with Ed Harcourt next month. Is that a cause that’s close to your heart?

“Being a father, that absolutely tears me up. To think what those kids are going through, and their parents. It’s horrendous. It’s terrifying that we don’t really have the voice or system of democracy to stop that kind of shit from happening in the first place. It’s something that strikes pain into any decent human’s heart.”

How would you describe your relationship with Ed?

“He’s sort of my brother in law, so we spend a lot of time together with family. I have a lot of respect for him and he’s played with The Libertines a few times. His latest ‘Furnaces’ is a fine album.”

What else have you been listening to lately?

“‘Djangology’ by Django Reinhardt, as always. Black Waters. my sister’s band The Au Revoirs – they’ve got a new single out on Friday. I’ve been doing a lot of production at the moment with people like Barns Courtney from America.”

Carl Barat is set to play a charity gig with Ed Harcourt, Charlotte Church, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Magic Numbers, Lock and comedian Simon Munnery performs with backing from the Dirty Pretty Strings quartet later this month.