Saturday, August 6, 2016

Courtney Barnett / This much I know / ‘When I go into a house I have to look in all the cupboards’

Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett: ‘When I go into a house I have to look in all the cupboards’

My girlfriend has probably saved my life: Courtney Barnett

This much I know

The singer, 28, on her compulsive tendencies, impatience, celery stick diet and wild-ride relationship

Candice Pires
Saturday 6 August 2016 14.00 BST

Music is a strange business with no solid lines. You never really know what anything means, or what level of selling out is really selling out. I’ve never worked with major labels, but the idea is that you don’t sacrifice too much. You make and release music in a way that suits your morals.
Coming out to myself was a bit of a process. I was dating a girl in high school and I was like: “I’m not gay, I’m just happy to be in love with this girl.” I don’t know if that was denial. I was just figuring out what I was feeling. Coming out to others was a bit of a non-event. They’d worked it out.

Courtney Barnett

When you’re Australian, you’re forever being told it’s a pipe dream to have any sort of career in music or the arts. That whole breaking-it-overseas idea seems so hard, so it’s great to have success anywhere.
I take bits of lots of different people. I’m a big Patti Smith fan, but also Neil Young,Bob DylanJoni Mitchell. Some people say I’m inspired by Liz Phair, which might be totally spot on. But I’ve not had the chance to listen to her music yet so it’s an incorrect comparison.
Courtney Barnett

I’d like to see Australia become more open-minded. Our government is so backwards on things like marriage equality, and equality in general. White Australia is young, I guess, compared to everywhere else. But that’s not an excuse for treating people terribly sometimes.
My biggest downfall is not having patience. I can be pretty lazy. For example, I’m not a great cook, I just eat whatever is available. I would happily live off celery sticks and hummus forever.
Everything feels extravagant to me. As a kid my grandma told me I was lucky to have things other people don’t. In the early days of touring, four of us used to share a bed, so having my own room now feels extravagant. I don’t buy much stuff – I bought a car once but I’ve even sold that.
I’ve got my dad’s short temper and my mum’s compulsive tendencies. I check doors are locked five times. When I go into a house I have to look in all the rooms and cupboards. It’s getting worse with age.

Courtney Barnett

My girlfriend [Jen Cloher] has probably saved my life in moments. Our relationship has been a wild ride. We began dating before I started touring – before stuff got crazy.
I can recite every scene in GreaseI’ve watched that and Pulp Fiction more than any other film. My favourite character is Rizzo – I didn’t really like her as a kid, but now I think she’s really cool.
I’m not always totally comfortable writing about myself. But I suppose that’s the point – it’s part of what I do. There’s a lot of joy and a lot of frustration in being a musician. Just having an opinion is a form of being political. It’s my thoughts and my life, what I see and how I see it. All of that is political.
I feel like I live in a constant state of being scared. I’ve been trying to learn how to meditate and calm down, but I’m not very good.
Courtney Barnett’s new single, “Elevator Operator”, is released on 12 August (2016) on Marathon


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