The Libertines’ Carl Barat exclusive: ‘I’ve been asked to write with Charli XCX’

The Libertines singer tells Loaded he and Pete Doherty are writing ‘all the time’

Can't Stand Me Now hitmakers The Libertines
XCX marks the spot Pete Doherty reacts to news of Carl Barat potentially writing with Charli XCX.

The Libertines singer Carl Barat has told Loaded that he might be writing with Charli XCX.

The two singers share the same management, and Barat said he’s interested in working with musicians from a non-rock background.

Barat revealed: “Charli XCX’s manager was on about me writing with her. We’ve got the same manager, and I’m sure that’ll happen further down the line.

“It’s really interesting for me to write for people from completely different musical places that I’d never expect to get to.”

The Libertines are currently touring in Europe, having finished their first British headline arena tour since reforming in 2014.

Barat has already been writing with hotly-tipped new singers Rat Boy and Barnes Courtney, and said the rest of the band are also writing with other musicians. He explained: “We’re all enjoying branching out. We’re writing with people we’d always been too busy, too scared or too fucked-up to write with in the past.”

The Libertines members Gary Powell, John Hassall, Carl Barat and Pete Doherty
Squaring up The Libertines try to get away with one joint passport photo.

But the 37-year-old added that he and Pete Doherty have been continuing to write on The Libertines’ tour.

Barat said: “We’re writing all the time. We exchange thoughts about things like old movies. It’s part of our relationship – we have our own language, and we use that to share things that inspire us.”

He went on to say that he and Doherty had maintained their explosive friendship on the tour. “Touring always has its drama,” he admitted. “But Pete and I have managed to keep the drama where it belongs – on stage. Our friendship is always intense, but we’re learning better how to handle it properly.

“And it’s better to be intense than to have no relationship, which was obviously the case for a while. We really do appreciate our relationship now.”

Bassist John Hassall said The Libertines had grown up as a result of headlining arenas. He stated: “We feel like an arena band now. We took to playing them quite well – the shows were enjoyable and the dressing rooms were much better than we’re used to.

Sucker singer Charli XCX
Carl and Charli? Image Picture Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

“There’ll always be drama and conflict in a rock & roll band, but it’s all in a better context now. There are definitely plans for new songs, and we’re hopefully doing a new album soon.”

Barat joked that last year’s album Anthems For Doomed Youth, their first for 11 years, had given them more confidence to be experimental when The Libertines do make another album.

He said: “We’re really glad we found a new sound. It only took us 15 years!

“But we’re never going to be a well-oiled machine. I don’t know if we’d ever want to be, really. I saw Lou Reed in concert shortly before he died and I thought ‘With his attitude, does he really want to sing in tune?’ That side of things didn’t matter to Lou Reed – it’s what made him beautiful.”

Barat, who revealed he intends making a second album with his other band The Jackals, concluded by saying he’s proud that The Libertines didn’t change their attitude for their recent tour.

“The beautiful thing about the arena shows is that we did exactly what we’ve always done,” he laughed. “We didn’t get dancing girls, lasers and a lightshow just because it was arenas. We got a couple of women from Hooters around the corner to join us to bring some fags on. That’s how we work and I was happy with that.”

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Loaded’s deputy editor John Earls has covered entertainment and sport across a range of national newspapers, plus several football and music magazines, since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at @EarlsJohn

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