These New Puritans - Going Through The Emotions - The Mind Map
By Ellis Toner

These New Puritans – Going Through The Emotions

Jack of These New Puritans, talks music, cheese and life advice.

Published 03/02/2020
Life can only be understood backwards but must be lived forwards, as a wise person once said.

As These New Puritans, brothers Jack and George Barnett have made their sound impossible to pin down since releasing their debut as teens.

What in your childhood contributed to your becoming a musician?

My parents were encouraging but didn’t put any pressure on us.

Then I had a few months of guitar lessons at school and that got me started.

These are quite unremarkable, ordinary things but without them I couldn’t be doing this sort of thing.

Our older brother was into music and did the legwork for us music-discovery wise!

Do you think there is a split between art and life? 

Yes, art is a little utopia while you’re doing it.

Why do you think people are so curious about the working methods of artists? Do you think it is a preference for gossip over content? Does this add pressure to your thought process when you are thinking up answers?

Everything seems to need a story now – the thing itself isn’t enough!

I suppose social media is to blame.

Which album would you rescue in a fire before even your own life?

‘Rock Bottom’ by Robert Wyatt.

I’m a sucker for eating tinned spaghetti when I’m run down. Do you have any particular scoff that elevates your soul?

Stilton – the excrement of the gods (as the Aztecs called gold.)

Have you watched or read anything of late that you are certain is a modern classic that will make you feel great every time – without fail – you experience it?

I have re-listened to all of ‘Athletico Mince’ recently, the podcast.

I reckon it’s the best bit of culture from the last few years!

A whole joyously hysterical,  parallel world.

I have only ever seen the film ‘The Master’ once at the flicks. I don’t ever want to mar that stunning first viewing sensation. Do you get that as well? If so, can you describe that special feeling?

No, I tend to obsessively re-watch and re-listen.

I still get the same feeling from music I loved when I was 10 or 11.

Some of it is music I wouldn’t like if I heard it for the first time now!

I have a funny thing where I can still remember songs I wrote when I was eight or nine.

It gives me this weird access to my eight year-old self and how I felt.

You are programmed to play a one-off event at the Barbican on 23 February. What is it with the one-off spectacles that appeals to your head-state?

Me and George are told we’re perfectionists, which helps for these kind of shows!

Although it looks like a big spectacle, it’s quite DIY.

I seem to remember seeing a documentary once with Francis Rossi of Status Quo doing yoga and/or peddling an exercise bike before a gig. Do you practice any form of exercise or meditation?

Swimming is great. I do it once or twice a week.

It’s a great source of momentum and clears your head.

Stopping is very underrated but the best ideas come when you stop.

It’s just comforting to think that you’ve worked every moment possible, to treat yourself like a machine, but it’s a false economy.

What advice would you give your 15 year old self and five year old self?

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about this, and can’t think of anything remotely useful!

Life can only be understood backwards but must be lived forwards, as a wise person once said.

These New Puritans bring their one-off stage show ‘The Blue Door’ to London’s Barbican on 23 February 2020. Tickets are available now.