Carl Barat on The Libertines’ new album progress and how ‘landfill indie’ is “a cruel term”

Landfill indie? "It was a halcyon era, a golden time,” says Barat

Carl Barat has shared an update on progress on The Libertines‘ new album, as well as speaking out against the term “landfill indie”.

Barat was speaking to NME while giving us the tour and lowdown of their new hotel, bar, restaurant and studio The Albion Rooms in Margate – which he said they wanted “to be an engine for art and artistry”. As well as finally opening the doors to the public, the band have also been using The Albion Rooms to work on their long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s ‘Anthems For Doomed Youth‘.

“It’s been going well, but it’s been difficult with COVID,” Barat told NME. “We started writing here, and that was going really well but John [Hassall, bass] is in Denmark and Pete [Doherty] is in France. It’s been a fucker to travel. We’re just waiting to get back on it, really. We’re all writing and it’s all positive. We’re just waiting to get back and lay stuff down, it’s just a matter of when. It would be nice if we could do it here. That would make a lot of sense. We’ve never been readier. We just need to get together and do it.”

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Last year, bandmate Pete Doherty told NME that the band’s fourth album featured “freestyle rap” and had a diversity of styles akin to The Clash’s divisive ‘Sandinista‘.

“It started off as ‘Sandinista’, and the reason we said that was so that everyone could bring everything in without anyone controlling it, then at the end we’d choose the best ones,” Barat responded. “I don’t know if it was very representative soundwise, but then we’ve all got different influences and we’re trying to bring it all together. It’s a bit of an odyssey every time we make a Libertines record.”

Asked about if he heavily considered the band’s influence and what they ought to sound like in the musical landscape of 2020, Barat replied: “I do pay mind to it, I paid too much mind to it to the point where we had to stop and start again. If you’re predicting or worrying about how you want your record to sound then you’ve overthought it.

“It should be something guttural that flows out. You’ve just got to wait for it to be ripe. I think we’ve hit that now. I’m just waiting to be able to commit that to tape.”

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Meanwhile, the band’s name was recently brought up in an online debate on “landfill indie” – a term used when remembering and celebrating the prevailing guitar indie scene of the ’00s. Barat told NME that The Libertines “did their very best to not be lumped in with Britpop” when they first formed in ’90s, and didn’t feel part of a scene from thereon.

“Landfill indie is a very cruel term! It’s so harsh to a lot of my dear friends, brothers and sisters from over the years,” he said. “I don’t understand it. It was a halcyon era, a golden time.”

Peaky Blinders
(L-R) Gary Powell of the Libertines, Anna Calvi, Harry Kirton and Carl Barat at the NME Awards 2020. Credit: Dean Chalkley

The Albion Rooms is open now, and is located at 31 Eastern Esplanade Margate, CT9 2HL. Visit here for more information. 

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