What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
One of the first bands I ever saw live was the Foo Fighters playing an acoustic warm-up gig in a tiny theatre in Ipswich called The Regent and that was very inspiring. I remember watching the way Dave Grohl spoke to the crowd and really just feeling that fire in your gut.
I Saw Cage The Elephant in Florida and that guy Matt Schultz is just such a phenomenal frontman, he really blew me away - he just constantly moves, he is very akin to that teenager who just locks himself in his rooms and plays his favourite music at max volume and thrashes around his bedroom, it’s really something.
If you could be on the line up with any two bands in history?
Led Zeppelin just because they are a phenomenal, unstoppable force, I would have loved to of seen John Bonham play drums in the flesh and Robert Plant do his thing as a young man. And as much as this is quite a boring answer I’m going to say The Beatles, just because they’re a legendary outfit, the likes of which the world have never seen before and may never see again. I would love to speak to John Lennon about his songwriting process and see the four of them do their thing too.
Which subcultures have influenced you?
When I was a kid, sort of 15,16,17 I was massively into the Emo movement - I loved it, everything about it. and I loved all that Victorian influence that had such a hold over bands at the time too, from Panic! At The Disco to The Fratellis. Even The Libertines had a touch of it, in the way that they spoke and held themselves, and some of their lyrics, I don’t even know what you would call that subculture but there were a lot of bands around that time in top hats or traditional British military jackets and I always thought that was really cool.
If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
Maybe Alexander The Great. Or I’d quite like to know some of the contents of the Library Of Alexandria before it burnt down. Every time a ship landed in port they would take the books and copy them so it was this huge hub of knowledge for the ancient world, so just imagine what they would have known then about their ancient past as well...
Of all the venues you’ve played, which is your favourite?
I’ve played some great ones, an arena in Dubai supporting Blur, Wembley with The Who but I’ve got to say my favourite venues are the ones that are sweaty, packed and just chaotic. I think if I’m honest my favourite venue I’ve ever played is probably The Troubadour in Los Angeles. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is about that place but when you step on that stage there is something notably different about it to any other arena or stadium or floorboards at any other place.
A lot of people underestimate the importance of the crowd in crafting a good show, it’s just as much about the audience as it is the singer - you’re throwing energy from the stage to the crowd and back again, and if the audience is up for a good show, if the audience doesn’t want to sweat, and sing and dance then it doesn’t matter how good you are or what you do you can't create that atmosphere alone, it’s got to be communal.
Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
I always thought the band Late Of The Pier never got enough credit, I thought they delivered a phenomenal album. 2008’s 'Fantasy Black Channel’, which I think for its time had some really really intriguing sounds and was very experimental and interesting. I always thought it was a shame that they descended into anonymity. They were 16 when they wrote that record, it’s crazy, I think sometimes when it comes to albums and records and even in film as well, you get people who are incredible innovators who really break down boundaries and create something fantastic and new. but then when you look back on it there have been so many things like it that followed it almost looks extraordinarily unoriginal.
Ipswich born singer-songwriter Barns Courtney released his debut album 'The Attractions Of Youth' in September 2017 and his latest single 'Sinners' is also out now. Barns will headline London Scala on March 22nd, find out more at www.barnscourtney.com