Coffee with a Creative: Feat. Courtney Barnett

For our second instalment of the Coffee with a Creative blog series, we caught up with Melbourne musical legend, Courtney Barnett. 

Having recently finished recording her new album, due out in November 2021, it was the perfect time to have a chat over a cup of coffee and talk creativity, life during lockdown and trash pandas...

Courtney Barnett on Coffee with a creative presented by Noskin

You can watch the full interview below, read the summary of our chat, or if audio is more your thing, you can listen on the audio player, or head over to wherever you listen to your Podcasts and search for 'Coffee with a Creative'.

 

When do you feel most creative? 

"I think it always changes. I don't have a time of the day where I'm more creative or productive.

But probably - I think, when I'm right in the middle of making something is when I feel most creative. Like, I feel like I'm one of those people that spends a lot of time making lists and like talking about creating things and thinking about it and not actually doing it.

You walked in today with some canvasses. Do you think you feel more creative when you're in the painting sphere? Or when you're creating music or lyrics?

The thing with painting is that it's kind of new. For me, I've always drawn and worked with mostly just whatever I have, like pencils and pens and ink and painting is like such an unknown.

Like, I don't know what I'm doing. So I, I find myself stuck for hours, not stuck, but just kind of working for hours without realising how long the time is going - because I'm kind of learning and figuring stuff out and that's exciting. 

What is the last thing that you learnt? 

I guess I'm learning how to cook this last year, which is kinda nice. But I am kind of setting up a little home studio in my spare room, because again, we couldn't go to studios for a while. So that's like an ongoing lesson, just kind of fun.

The stuff I've done lately, was in a studio. Like a proper studio in Sydney, but then I was doing lots of demoing and just ideas and then additional recording for that, that stuff that I did.

And so I've always had the most basic knowledge and set up of recording. And this year, especially the last few months has just been honing in on it a little bit more so I can like actually go the little step further. So normally I learned the basics of how a machine works and then move on.

And this time I'm like trying to get a bit deeper, like reading the manual.

How do you define success in the creative field? 

I like these questions, because they're that like the kind of things that we should continually be asking ourself and like changing the parameters as time goes on.

Success is just like keeping on trying, I think for me, keeping on learning and trying to like do things. Things that interest me and kind of push my boundaries of what's comfortable. Instead of kind of doing the same thing that I feel comfortable and experienced doing. Up the ante a little bit.

If you were an animal, what animal would you be? 

I dunno. I've been obsessed with greyhounds recently. I want to get a greyhound. They seem really calm and peaceful. I've seen them getting around in the cutest jumpers lately.

 

Courtney Barnett on Coffee with a creative presented by Noskin

 

What would be the name of your autobiography? 

Well, the first thing that just came to my head is 'Things take time'. But that's going to be the title of my album. 

What's happening for you in the next six months?

Well I've finished an album so that'll just start all the things that go along with an album coming out, I guess.
I have shows tentatively booked for the end of the year,  so hopefully it all happens. I think I've got such a new found kind of appreciation for being able to perform.

I think back to, you know, all the times you're really tired and you're traveling or something, and you're like, "oh, can't believe I have to do this." so I just feel so grateful to be able to do that.

So, yeah, I'll probably just be doing stuff like that this year. Doing a bit more painting. A friend gave me some watercolours last year at the start of the lockdown. And so that was a new found kind of joy.

Courtney's new album 'Things take time' is out November 2021. 

www.courtneybarnett.com.au