Barrie Cadogan may not be a household name, but there’s a good chance you’re familiar with some of his work. The UK-based musician is currently a member of Primal Scream and has toured as a guitarist for Morrissey, Paul Weller, and Saint Etienne, in addition to studio work with Spiritualized, The Chemical Brothers, and The Proclaimers. However, it is Little Barrie, his power trio, who kick out jams that could be described as swaggery, slurry, jammy, soulful, funky garage rock (In other words, if you’re a fan of any of the aforementioned acts, you’ll probably like this one as well.) Last year the band’s third album, King of the Waves, was released stateside. And while they’re not exactly stars on this side of the pond, in Great Britain and Japan they’re quite huge. The band has a short string of upcoming US dates (far more intimate than their usual gig), including a stop this Monday, August 20th, at Kung Fu Necktie. I recently got a chance to chat with Barrie and drummer Virgil Howe, the band’s latest addition, about their latest release and how its promotion has been going in the past year and a half.
Izzy Cihak: You took a bit of time between releasing your last album, Stand Your Ground, and your latest, King of the Waves. How do you feel as though your sound has evolved in that time?
Barrie Cadogan: King of the Waves has a more moody, darker sound and more explosive energy than Stand Your Ground, which definitely had a more direct soul and rhythm ‘n’ blues influence. We really wanted to capture more of the spirit of how the band sounds live, which was something we felt we hadn’t always achieved in the past. We’re also more powerful and direct now as performers.
Virgil Howe: I’m really enjoying the direction of the band since I joined, almost five-years ago now. I think we’re getting a lot darker, but without losing the energy.
IC: What do you consider to be, currently, your biggest influences, whether musical or otherwise?
BC: There’re many influences that contribute to the music we make. In terms of current musical influences, right now I really like the 13th Floor Elevators, Can, Howlin’ Wolf, Spacemen 3, The Creation, MC5, Link Wray, Lalo Schifrin, to name a few. Other things influence us too. The desire to create things, evolve, and reach as far with our music as possible.
VH: For me, musically, it’s still trying to recreate those heavy teen-beat drum sounds that still get people dancing every weekend.
IC: You’re quite renowned in the UK and, I understand, worshipped in Japan. How do you feel about the states, where you’re a little more of a niche, indie act? How do you compare your time spent here, touring, compared to places like the UK and Japan?
VH: Touring in the U.S is the ultimate road-trip. It must be from all the movies, but nothing feels quite like traveling across America. I’d love to travel ‘round Japan a bit more too. I’ve only got to see Osaka and Tokyo so far.
BC: We’re only just starting out in the US this year with touring, so it’s early days. Before that we’d only ever done the odd show in New York and LA. The first time we toured the states we opened for Charles Bradley, as we were a very different sounding band, I wasn’t sure how we’d go down to Charles’ audience, but the response was great. Audiences here are maybe less precious than UK crowds, where some people are a bit scared to let themselves go in case people don’t think they’re being cool. Japanese audiences are incredibly polite, will cheer and Scream for a second and then wait patiently for the next song. We’re better known in some cities in the UK and Japan, as we’ve played there more, so some venues are larger, but we’ve had some amazing gigs here so far, like in New York, Chicago, Fort Worth, and LA. We just want to build from that. Other big differences are the distances travelled in Japan, and especially the US, are much longer, but with amazing scenery.
IC: What can US fans expect of your upcoming live dates?
BC: We always want to give our all at our live shows. Explosive beat, driven guitar music.
IC: What have been your highlights of 2012 thus far and what are your plans for the rest of the year?
VH: Def the support tour we did for Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires back in February. The man is so humble and plays every gig like it’s his last. A true inspiration. Tommy and the band were great to hang with too. A few late nights were had.
BC: Highlights so far… touring Charles Bradley on the east coast and mid-west. Charles and his band are some of the nicest people we’ve ever met – And incredible performers, we hung out together a lot. Charles even invited us all round to his house and cooked dinner for everyone after the tour – a truly beautiful person… Driving down the I5 on the west coast from Seattle to San Diego, playing gigs along the way… Opening for the Stone Roses with Primal Scream at Heaton Park in June, and seeing their London show in a small club a few days ago and meeting Jimmy Page… I saw the Brian Jonestown Massacre in London a month ago. They were incredible and the atmosphere was great in the audience. We’re really looking forward to returning to the US for the third time this year. We’ve also started working on new songs, which has been really cool. We’ll continue with that when we return from the states. I also have some festival gigs with Primal Scream in September and possibly a tour in December.
IC: Barrie, you’ve collaborated with quite a few notable acts from Primal Scream to Moz to Paul Weller. Are there any artists that you’re crossing your fingers that you’ll get to work with in the future… whether entirely realistic or not (Although, once you’ve played with Steven Patrick, it would seem as though anything is possible.)?
BC: There’s so many artists I’d love to work with, I’m hoping to do some more playing in the studio with Pete Molinari later this year, I’d love to do a soundtrack for a film one day. In an ideal world, work with people such as Scott Asheton (He jammed with the Scream once and it was amazing) or Kevin Shields, Edgar Jones, AD Rock and Mike D, R.I.P. MCA.