Life On The Pedestal: A Conversation With Courtney Barnett
    • WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2015

    • Posted by: Don Saas

    Few performers in 2015 had a bigger impact than Courtney Barnett. Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit was one of the most critically acclaimed records of the year. Courtney Barnett won four ARIA awards in her native Australia, and she was nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys. She's toured the world in support of her music and had a key opening slot for Blur at the Hollywood Bowl and Madison Square Garden. For an artist that had to borrow money from her grandmother to help finance production of her record, Courtney Barnett suddenly has the world by the horns.

    "It has been really busy and exciting and full of...I don't know, it's like new experiences and it's been hectic."

    As Courtney Barnett describes her 2015 amidst serious coughs from a cold that had forced us to delay the interview a couple days, it's clear that words like "busy" and "hectic" are understatements. Although Courtney Barnett still found time to laugh after that statement so it's obvious that the hard work has paid off and isn't taking a complete toll on her at the end of the year.

    Courtney Barnett speaks in half-formed sentences and the occasional non-sequitur which isn't all that surprising if you've had the chance to hear Sometimes I Sit And Think. One of the most consistently lauded elements of the record was Courtney's storytelling which vacillates from melancholic musings on existentialism to humorous anecdotes about every day life (with plenty of simmering emotion hiding beneath even the humor).

    "That's kinda why I make music, to figure those things out. To kind of attack those ideas. The process, those ideas to figure out how I feel. So, yeah. I feel kinda lucky to have that platform to do it."

    And if you're into good old fashioned rock and roll as we are, you've probably fallen in love with the way Courtney Barnett plays the guitar. It's the Pixies via Jack White -- a metaphor that solidified in my mind when Courtney Barnett recorded a 7" vinyl this year at Jack White's Third Man Records. And although it may seem like Courtney Barnett already has a fully formed guitar sound, she was quick to point out that she's still learning her way around the instrument.

    "I'm still learning so much about guitar and everything's part of the writing process for me. I kinda do what comes naturally and try to simplify it or take it back to its most simple form. I don't know...I just kind of play around with it."

    We didn't have long to chat with Courtney. Because of her illness, a lot of interviews were being squeezed into a very short period of time. But before our conversation came to an end, Courtney assured us that we'd see some more touring from her next year as well as some songwriting although she wasn't sure if she'd be recording any new music in 2016. Whatever comes, we can't wait to see what's next.

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