An Interview with... Carl Barât & The Jackals

September 02, 2016

An Interview with... Carl Barât & The Jackals


Image copyright of Simon Sarin

Nice to have you here Jackals. Firstly, congrats on releasing your debut album Let It Reign last year, we’ve been big fans here at R&E HQ! We imagine this past year has been a bit of a whirlwind for you guys, what’s been some of your highlights?
Jay: The last couple of years have been a whole world of new experience. Billy and I had barely left the country before joining the band, so for us the idea of travelling all over the world was a huge novelty to all of us Jackals. I have a few personal highlights - SXSW is up there. It's been a lifelong ambition of mine to play that festival and we really made the most of being in Texas. We went to loads of shows, met some amazing bands and new friends, I drank enough tequila to never want to so much as smell it again. We drunkenly swam in the motel pool at 5am in the stormy rain, went to all night house parties complete with red plastic cups, danced to silent discos and played some of my favourite shows ever. I was very sad to leave!
Adam: I'm going to say the entire Baltic Tour, visiting Moscow was a game changer, the people there were incredible, the atmosphere was mind blowing and the vodka was, well, horseraddishy…!  Long story. We made a home video of that one. 
Any memorable moments on tour?
Billy: Probably the train from Moscow to St Petersburg. I'm sure Jay can fill you in on this, haha. I lost my St Christopher necklace that night as well, and a little bit of my mind the next morning. I wrote a song actually 'I Lost My Mind in St Petersburg'. (Ha ha)
Jay: No Comment (ha ha)


Adam wears: Jungle Field Jacket in Green; Jay wears: Contrast Sleeve Jacket in Green.

We heard you headed out to LA to record – how was that and did the West-coast setting have an impact on the final sound of the album?
Carl: I got all the boys to read 1984… all those who hadn’t already that is. And I think that provided a colour pallet for the album, really. That kind of Brave New World versus 1984 dystopia. I don’t want to make it a sixth form issue but these are very interesting times. The music industry for example, no one really has a clue. But it’s a time of great freedom and panic and it’s an interesting time to live in. So, I think some kind of candid reflection of that at first. Joby J Ford (The Bronx) Lives in LA and we wanted  him to to do his magic with the guitars, he’s got a deep understanding, good lineage, good pedigree. His studio was full of old dusty amps that have been loved and all have their own identity.
The video for Glory Days places the band in the battlefield – what was the inspiration behind the video? Does Britain’s military history hold an interest for the band?
Carl: The idea of Glory Days came about that you can do one thing and ruin your whole life, its kinda bleak but, that’s what the lyrics are about, someone who made a mistake and ended up in prison (not sure what that mistake was ha ha). Then we felt that ‘Glory’ in the sort of centenary of the First World War and the way that word has been kind of manipulated, it gives you idea about King and country and people being manipulated into these situations. I have a deep empathy for the 306 people who were shot at dawn, its probably the greatest miscarriages of justice and tragedies and how their lives were destroyed unnecessarily and kinda linked it in with the same sort of feeling really, kind of like being at the hands of fate…

The video was shot by the very talented Roger Sargent.


Billy wears: British-Made Military Crew in Green

What else inspires the ‘Jackals’ sound?
Billy: We're all very lucky to have such varied tastes in music. We're always recommending each other of new groups or old records. From the very start we were able to bond over a mutual love of a particular artist or band which has helped us along the way in forming a relaxed foundation to create together.  A track in particular 'The Gears' was written in almost an instance. I had a riff I'd been playing around with at the time which Jay and the boys took a liking to. We all wrote the lyrics together, I think it was recorded in about 20 minutes. It's this like minded, rapid ability and chemistry that plays a major part whilst writing together.
Adam: Over the last couple of years we’ve become a tight unit, almost family like, we know what makes each other tick and when to give space. Like Bill said, When we are together we’re always sharing stories, music, films and creating memories that all inspire us in some way or another and I think that’s coming out in our music. Its tragic that we have lost so many of our musical heroes recently, some really inspirational figures have made their way to them pearly gates in the sky.
Are there any plans for album number two on the cards at this stage? Are you guys writing at the moment? 
Adam: The writing process has started for our second album and we have started whittling down and picking out the best songs at the moment, however we are continuing to write as it’s always the latest song your working on that becomes your favourite. We all bring ideas to the table, whether it’s a riff, bass line, lyric or poem.


Adam wears: Jungle Field Jacket in Green; Jay wears: Contrast Sleeve Jacket in Green.

We’re always interested, how do you go about choosing your tour wardrobe for long stints on the road?
Billy: We've seemingly adopted an all black attire, unintentionally.. A uniform that totally works for us ie. leather jacket/DMs. There's a certain gang ethos about us, that akin to bands such as The Clash or BRMC. It's such a vital part of being in a band - to look as good as you sound. I read something Paul Simonon (The Clash) said the other day, "why is an audience going to listen to what you've got to say if they're better dressed than you?". 
Finally, can we be so bold to ask you to make a recommendation for a favourite piece?
Adam: I’m a huge fan of the Realm and Empire brand and own rather a lot of threads from you but my favourite out of the new collection is my khaki Artisan Overshirt, I literally wear it everyday. Another favourite is my new LRDG Scorpions “Ridin' the Storm” tee shirt.


Visit Carl Barât and the Jackals here >>

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