Thailand for Heroes: An Interview with The Libertines
Miracles do happen. In the second half of 2015, the third album The Libertines will be released.
Kevin Perry looked behind the screen of rehearsals in Thailand that “pumped fresh blood into the band,” says Pete Doherty.
There is a saying in Thailand, just in case of absolutely unbelievable events: residents say “Châat nâa dton-bàai”, which means “Everything will happen one evening, in your next reincarnation.” In England they would say “When hell freezes” or “When The Libertines record a new album.”
And somehow, one of the most incredible days has come. At the end of 2014, for the first time in a decade, Pete Doherty and Karl Barat sat face to face and wrote new songs together. Next, they recorded them with bass player John Hassal and drummer Gary Powell for five weeks at Thai Karma Sound Studios. This is what everyone on Foggy Albion has been waiting for.
“Yes, people will like it,” Pete says. “The fact that everything worked out so well is a percentage of magic. We are all very proud.”
“It’s just unbelievable,” Karl exclaims, already in London. “It’s amazing that we’ve come to the inevitable moment of releasing the damn The Libertines new disc. Are you kidding me? Honestly, I still don’t believe it. Is this really happening? It’s completely insane, but it seems to be real.”
The story of album number 3 started on September 28 last year at Alexandra Palace. At the last of three completely sold out concerts, Pete made a small announcement: “Now we are leaving to play concerts in Europe. But next time we will play in England, we will probably play new songs.”
In the same November, Karl flew to Thailand to Doherty, where five new compositions were written. However, at that time, both songwriters expected the new album to be created based on existing demos.
But in the end, from the old recordings, there was only one song, “You’re My Waterloo”. Pete and Karl both agreed that she was too good to leave her lying in a drawer.
“You know, I would call it the original plan,” Pete admitted. “I suppose there was a fear that we won’t be able to extract anything useful from the old demos. However, we were lucky. We were inspired and waited for Gary and John to join in to write new music.”
According to Gary, it was essential for the whole group to make a new album, including with the aim of proving its relevance:
“I would be very upset and angry if we recorded a new disc full of old things. It would happen if we were lazy people. But I am not like that, and I hate working with loafers.”
On December 5, 2014, on the Thai island of Koh Sichang, The Libertines signed a contract to release through Virgin EMI the third studio album that was not yet written at that time.
“The same label as the Sex Pistols,” Karl said.
After signing the contract, all attention was directed to who produced the record. According to Barat, Noel Gallagher would be a great choice. Steven Street, who worked with Babyshambles and Doherty’s solo project, and The Stone Roses producer John Lekey were also among the favorites. In the end, the group made a very unusual choice in the person of Jake Gosling, a Grammy nominee for working with Ed Sheeran.
Initially, there were some worries about whether the producer was too pop-oriented?
“We were a little worried, we never worked with Jake, we thought he would come in and ask them to think about singles for the radio. We were afraid that people would say,“ Hey, he turned The Libertines into One Direction! ”Therefore, we immediately warned Jake, what will it be this album will be dirty, because this is a fucking rock and roll album! ” He said, “Okay, wonderful!” He was never embarrassed. We, in turn, simply made sure that everyone understood each other correctly. And in the end, partly turned out really dirty and bold rock, but not 100%. ”
For Gary, the choice of such a producer was the conscious decision to break with the past and record a modern album:
“The last thing I wanted was for us to sound like in 2004. We needed someone with a fresh mind who would bring us to the new decade. Well, selfishness also played a role: why should we work with a producer who is more suitable for Arctic Monkeys, if there weren’t any Arctic Monkeys without The Libertines ?! We don’t imitate those guys. ”
The group united not only to return to its former glory.
“You are mistaken if you think that we are repeating ourselves from 2004,” says Karl. “We are definitely moving forward. For a long time, I thought the album would need a horror show. All these fast guitars … But we were not in the right rhythm then. There are some hints at that, but if we are not in the right rhythm, why push yourself “I think everything that worked out is right. We did not try to do anything through force.”
Gosling, sound engineer Guy Massey and the four The Libertines met at Karma Sound Studios on April 18 to begin recording. They literally lived in the studio until May 20, testing more than one recording room and turning the basement into a working den.