Known For Creating the BETTER CALL SAUL Theme Song, The Alternative Band LITTLE BARRIE Chat With All Access About The Show And Much More!
Posted On 22 Jun 2015
Tag: Ad Rock, All Access Music Group, AMC, Andy Hackett, Artist Interview, Barrie Cadogan, BBC, Beck, Bernie Worrell, Better Call Saul, Bonneville Ride, Breaking Bad, Charles Bradley, Dinosaur Jr., Eddie Hazel, Edgar Jones, Edwyn Collins, England, Ennio Morricone, Eyes Were Young, Fred Sonic Smith, Gene Clarke, Gil De Ray, Glastonbury, Hasil Adkins, Howlin' Wolf, Hubert Sumlin, I.5.C.A., J Mascis, Jaki Leibezeit, Jimi Hendrix, Kasabian, King Of The Waves, Lalo Schifrin, Lewis Wharton, Little Barrie, Mark Ronson, MC5, Micheal Karoli, Mike D, Morrissey, Neil Young, Nick Cave, Nottingham, Olympics, Pet Weapons, Primal Scream, Realise, Rimmel, Shadow, Skip James, Spiritualized, Steve Howe, The Beastie Boys, The Cobra Lamps, The Cramps, The Dirty Feel, The Park, The Rockingbirds, The Royal Festival Hall, The Stone Roses, Thomas Golubic, TY Segall, Virgil Howe, Wayne Kramer
If you watched any of the first season of Better Call Saul, then you’ve heard the music of Little Barrie. That’s right, these guys wrote and performed the drama’s theme song!
According to frontman Barrie Cadogan (who fans may recognize from his work as Primal Scream‘s guitarist), the band wrote 17 potential themes for the show before doubling that amount in a three-day writing session.
Little Barrie consists of guitarist/vocalist Barrie Cadogan, bassist Lewis Wharton and drummer Virgil Howe. They have released four critically acclaimed albums and their riffs and grooves have been featured in major commercial campaigns for Rimmel to the BBC‘s coverage of the Olympics. They’ve shared the stage with internationally renowned acts like Dinosaur Jr, The Stone Roses, and Kasabian while Barrie himself has performed with Mark Ronson, Morrissey, Spiritualized, and many others.
Learn more about Little Barrie in the following All Access interview:
How did your band first come together? How did you three meet each other and how did you decide on your band name?
Hi there! Here’s a short version! . . . The band started in 1999 in Nottingham, England. It began as a solo project. I made a demo that a small London label wanted to release as a 7″ vinyl. Shortly after that, I met our first drummer and we began writing together. We relocated to London and met Lewis who was running a record department in a clothing shop. The 7″ vinyl was now out and Lewis had heard it and offered to audition as bass player. We then had a band and started gigging around London. A few years later we met Edwyn Collins who offered to produce an album for us in his studio which was a massive help. From those sessions we got a deal and began touring. We had a few drummers come and go until Virgil joined in 2007. Lewis had seen him play with his band The Dirty Feel and was really impressed. Virgil turned up in the audience at one of our gigs and we hung out after. A month or so later were looking for a drummer again, we asked him if he’d be interested in helping out for a few gigs and he’s been stuck with us ever since.
The reason the band is called Little Barrie is that was the intended name for the solo project before it became a band. It was a nickname I had as a teenager.
In the four albums that you have released, how do you think your music has grown through the years?
The sound has changed, I guess it’s bound to. You get into different things. When the band started there was much more of a direct influence from Soul and Funk, that went through to the first album too. By the second album we were still had those influences but had got more into Rockabilly, R&B and also things like The Cramps and Neil Young. Our third album was harder sonically, we wanted a tougher sound that was more like how the band had become live. There were more garage rock and surf sounds in that record. Our fourth album “Shadow” is definitely darker and more cinematic, with more of a soundtrack and psych influence.
Ok, let’s get to Better Call Saul. How did you guys first get involved with creating that theme song? What was it about that particular tune that Better Call Saul creators thought fit the show? I read that you sent them 17 potential themes!
We were approached by Thomas Golubic who was the music director for the show. He liked the band and had all of our albums, he asked us if we’d be interested in writing a short theme for the intro that would be cut after 15 seconds. We said yes, Thomas referenced a few of our songs as a direction of the kind of thing he was after. I initially wrote 17 different guitar intro themes in two days which we then recorded and sent to him in LA. He really like them but asked for some more. In the end they picked Number 7 out of a total of 29 intros . I guess you’d have to ask Thomas and the shows creators to know exactly what they liked about number 7 so much, but they were after something that represented the nature and fortunes of Saul’s character.
Were you guys fans of the show? What about Breaking Bad? I bet you are fans of them both now!
I have to ‘fess up and be honest – I never saw Breaking Bad. I think Lewis and Virgil have seen it though as have the rest of the world! I looked up some clips of Saul in action to try and get a sense of what kind of character he was. Thomas also gave me a crash course on Saul and Breaking Bad.
What was it like touring with Morrissey? Do you have any other memorable touring experiences?
I did ten gigs with Morrissey in 2004. It was an amazing experience, but rather nerve wracking at first. I had three days to learn over 20 songs before the first night at The Royal Festival Hall in London. I’d never played to audiences of that size before and was really nervous. I had a music stand onstage with some notes on to help me remember the arrangements. Our second gig was a festival in Bologna, Italy. Halfway through the set the wind picked up and blew all my notes away, I just had to wing it after that. Glastonbury was part of that tour, we played to 70,000 that day. I’d played to no more than 200 people before then.
I’ve been fortunate to have travelled a lot since and have been part of some really special gigs. We were also one of the first bands to play Japan after the Tsunami. I’ll never forget the reaction from the audience, It was amazing. They’d been through so much and just wanted to have a good time. We’ve also opened for some of my favourite people, artists like The Stone Roses, Blues guitar legend Hubert Sumlin, Dinosaur Jr and Charles Bradley. I’ve had some really cool gigs with Primal Scream too, from a packed alleyway in Austin Texas to T in The Park in Scotland and joining members of the MC5 onstage in London.
Are you excited to tour Japan and Vietnam? Have you been there before? What has been your reception in Asia so far? Any upcoming plans to come to the US anytime soon?
I can’t wait to get back to Japan and Vietnam again. We’ve been to Vietnam once before but this is probably my fifteenth visit to Japan. It’s a great place with great people. It’s like the band’s second home now and it means a lot to us. We’re not sure how the band started to get interest out there, but it’s been really good for us and also cool we’re going back to Vietnam. Hopefully we can get to play more of Asia in the future.
We’d love to get back to the US again as soon as we can. There’s talk of coming back in October, I really hope it happens.
What are some standout tracks on your last album, “Shadow”?
It’s my favourite album that the band has done so far. My fav tracks are “Bonneville Ride”, “Realise” and “Eyes Were Young”.
What was it like working with Edwyn Collins? How did that relationship come to be?
Edwyn Collins has had a huge influence on us and our survival as a band. He saved our necks a few times, made sure our records sounded good and that we had fun making them. We met him through a friend of ours named Andy Hackett who plays guitar for Edwyn and also has is own band called The Rockingbirds. I was having beer with Andy once and I mentioned how much I liked the the sound of Edwyn’s records and he told me he was his guitar player. He brought me to an Edwyn gig and introduced us. I’d already heard that Edwyn had his own studio full of old gear which was part of the reason his records sounded so good. I gave Edwyn one of our early 45’s that night and mentioned to him that we were looking to do a new single. He liked the 45 and offered us a few days recording. It went really well and from that he helped us make our debut album when we had no money and that album got us a deal. We went back to Edwyns to make our third album “King Of The Waves” as we missed working with him and his engineer Seb and missed the sound. When we wanted to record “Shadow” we knew what we wanted to do and that it had to be with Edwyn and Seb again.
Living or dead, who would you love to work and why?
I can think of so many, But all of these people as they’re fascinating artists and it would be different to anything I’ve done before
Living – Nick Cave, Mike D and/or Ad Rock from The Beastie Boys, TY Segall, Edgar Jones, Beck, Neil Young, Wayne Kramer, Lalo Schifrin, Ennio Morricone, Bernie Worrell, J Mascis, Jaki Leibezeit.
No longer with us – Skip James, Howlin‘ Wolf and Hubert Sumlin, Hasil Adkins, Jimi Hendrix, Fred Sonic Smith, Gene Clarke, Eddie Hazel, Micheal Karoli.
Would you like to share anything else about the band or your music with our readers?
We’re working on a new Little Barrie single called “I.5.C.A.” which we’re gonna play live on the Japan / Vietnam tour and release later this year.
I have recorded an EP with my side project The Cobra Lamps.I have also written an album with Gil De Ray under the name Pet Weapons that we plan to record later this year.