Garage Funk Jammers Little Barrie are a decade and a half into their career, yet May 27th will see the release of just their fourth LP, Shadow… Although that can fairly be chalked up to mainmain Barrie Cadogan’s gig stomping alongside Bobby Gillespie on guitar in Primal Scream (not to mention playing with the likes of Edwyn Collins and Paul Weller and working with bands like Spiritualized and The Chemical Brothers) in addition to rhythm section Lewis Wharton (bass) and Virgil Howe (drums) working in various facets of the fine arts (and automotives…) The new album is the band’s most epic, yet most raw. It also has them delving into slightly more menacing and morbid depths. About two and a half years ago Little Barrie played one of the most explosive Rock N’ Roll spectacles Kung Fu Necktie has seen since it opened its doors and in just two weeks the English outfit will return to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection to kick out their jams at the equally intimate Ortlieb’s on Wednesday, May 7th. Mr. Cadogan recently took some time to catch me up on what the trio has been up to since their last trip stateside and what you can expect of their upcoming sounds.
Izzy Cihak: You’re going to be releasing your fourth LP, Shadow, in the near future. How do you feel like the album compares to previous releases?
Barrie Cadogan: The album’s darker in its sound. We wanted to create a different mood this time, but still capture the spirit of the band onstage. The band has grown a lot dynamically between making our last album and this one because of all the gigs we’ve done. We wanted to capture that performance element in the recordings as well, working with different sounds and approaches to the songs. This album took the least time to make out of all four of them. This was partly down to the fact we didn’t have the luxury of a lot of time in the studio, but also because we rehearsed a lot before we went into the studio, so we had had it pretty much all worked out.
Izzy: Is there a track you’re most fond of, whether it’s because you’re most proud of it, or it’s just especially fun to play live? “Sworn In” is one of my favorite things I’ve heard this year.
Barrie: We hadn’t played all of these songs out live before we cut them in the studio. So some of them will be heard for the first time on this tour, which we’re really looking forward to. My mind changes a lot but, at the moment, I’m into “Pauline,” “Eyes Were Young,” and “Sworn In.”
Izzy: What would you consider to be the album’s most significant influences?
Barrie: There were many influences in this record. Everything from music we’re into, like The 13th Floor Elevators, Silver Apples, and Can to the MC5, Spacemen 3, and seeing the dynamic stage presence of people like Charles Bradley, who we toured with a few years ago.
Izzy: You’ve described the sound of Shadow as being a little “soundtrack-y,” so I’m curious if there are any soundtracks you find especially cool and inspiring. Or, for that matter, are there any films that you consider to be significant inspirations?
Barrie: We’ve been in the idea of doing music for a film for some time. To be honest, my knowledge of film is minimal, almost non-existent. But the soundtrack that first really made me pay attention was what Ry Cooder did for Paris, Texas. I really love the Can album Soundtracks, from 1970, which was comprised of music they’d made for various German films. That got the idea going. Lewis was into The Ipcress File soundtrack. We like the production on the Ennio Morricone spaghetti westerns and the bits of film scores by Lalo Schifrin. I’m also into early psych records and ’50s sci-fi sounds and stuff like Joe Meek produced. Those things influenced the sound. The Idea with Shadow was to put a sequence of songs together as if was a score to a film, but performed by a garage band. My favourite film is Duel. I’ve watched it so many times. I’d like to be able make music that makes you feel like how the car driver, David Mann, does in that movie when he sees the truck in his wing mirror.
Izzy: You’re playing a run of US shows next month. I’m curious, how do you like playing gigs in the states, which tend to be far more intimate than shows in Europe? Do you like the chance to get to play in dive bars, which are so much more Rock ‘N Roll in so many ways?
Barrie: We play small shows in Europe too sometimes. I really like doing gigs in small venues. As long as the sound gets across. They can be more spirited and you can get more interaction with people. It can be really intense in a good way. Big gigs are great, but sometimes you can feel a little detached from the audience.
Izzy: What do you have planned for the rest of 2014 after the band finishes touring? I know you do a handful of things outside of the world of music, as well.
Barrie: We want to play this album out as much as possible and get together to work on new things whenever we can. I’m still writing and have been producing an artist called Gil De Ray with Virgil engineering. I’ve also been developing a few guitar designs that I’m working on. Lewis also works as an illustrator and is a motorbike enthusiast. He has an Exhibition of his work running in June at Bolt, the motorcycle shop and gallery in London. Virgil DJ’s and makes his own electronic based music. We’re all into lots of different things.