Each musician was very conscious of the talent in the New Silver Cornet Band, and clearly delighted to work with such experienced people. Of his performance with them, Brett Anderson, who is poised to release his third solo album, Slow Attack, in November, said: “You’ve got to approach these things with the right attitude – it would be stupid of me to tell them to play it more like the record because the whole point of it is it’s not supposed to be like the record.” It was also Brett who suggested the three men cover the Velvet Underground’s ‘Venus in Furs’ for the show’s finale, as “it’s a classic song and everyone loves it”. “You can’t be into leftfield rock music without being a fan of the Velvet Underground, because they pretty much invented it.”
One thing Brett was keen to put across was how little he depends on the media to feel confident in his work. “To be honest, I’m sort of beyond worrying about what journalists think of my music,” he said at one point. “I’ve noticed, it’s an interesting thing going from a successful band to a solo artist, because I think a lot of people see it as an opportunity to give you a kick because you don’t have the armour of being in a band around you.” “I seem to polarise people,” he added. For Brett, who found commercial success with Suede, being a solo artist means moving away from his former band in many ways. “I’m not making commercial music anymore,” he said, while fiddling with his wedding ring. “I think I’m doing something commendable, I’ve stepped out of the machinery of being in a band, I’ve had the bravery and perspective to walk away from that when it would have been easy to stay in the band, and I’m doing something creative and different and I think that’s something that should be applauded, I really do.” Brett was also keen to state that a Suede reunion is not on the cards any time soon. “I can’t tell you whether that’s true or not, to be honest,” he said when asked if the band would ever get back together. “I never thought I’d do lots of things, and ended up doing them, ‘cos I never really see beyond my next project.” He’s still in contact with the band members, and said “there’s no bad blood” between them.
Carl Barat has experienced something similar to Brett, in that he too has gone down the solo path, and loves it. “I’m making a record, that’s my main thing. It’s a whole new departure for me,” he said. “It is a departure because it’s partly influenced by what I’m listening to, and doing things I haven’t done before. Not hiding my voice behind guitars and that sort of thing.” Although he admitted to being “lazy”, he’s certainly keeping himself busy at the moment, working on a theatre production as well as his music. With his solo pursuits, he said he’s influenced by artists he’s recently started getting into, such as Tom Waits and Bonnie Prince Billy. He has also been learning from those more experienced than him, such as Neil Hannon, whom he visited here in Ireland recently. “I’m just learning a bit about how people do things really,” he said, adding that he’s interested in writing songs in a narrative style. He also spoke about the pressure The Libertines were under when they started to get attention from mainstream media outlets: “We didn’t want to be on the cover of the NME, but they said, ‘well it’s a newspaper so we’ll print it anyway’, so that was really scary, it was like a baptism of fire.” Now that he’s gone solo however, he feels “liberated, it’s great!”