A Radio 1 DJ and a member of one of the UK’s best-loved bands visited the University of Northampton recently – and Journalism student, Jade Williams, was there on reporting duties.
Jade, who has created the Northampton Notes magazine and website as part of her final year project, attended the talks by Radio 1 Rock Show presenter Daniel P Carter and Libertines drummer, Gary Powell.
Both were on campus as part of Changing Futures Week – a five-day University wide showcase of industry speakers.
Jade’s reports from Northampton Notes are reproduced below.
Daniel P Carter report
Radio 1 Rock Show’s Daniel P Carter, who has recently returned from a trip to Iceland, told students what it feels like to be a DJ on such a well-known station.
He said: “The idea of talking on the radio to a tonne of people is still terrifying. I have done it for over a decade now, which is nuts. Since I have been doing Radio 1 I have had lots of opportunities. Creating a show about Metallica was so cool, for instance. I was obsessed with them as a kid.”
Carter was honest about his output. He explained: “There are bands that need to be played and get an audience, whether I like it or not. If it is not for me, then it would be so out of order for me to not play it on the radio for that reason.”
Alongside his radio role, Daniel P Carter also plays in a number of bands including A, Hexes and Bloodhound Gang. He was part of a song-writing team too, who wrote material for the likes of McFly and Matt Willis. He described this venture as “a really liberating thing”.
Daniel was keen to talk about the where the music industry currently is. He said: “In the past few years there has been a great scene for British bands. It used to feel like there was a load of back-biting going on. Everyone scrabbling for the same thing. I am sure that still happens, but it just feels like recently, with stuff like pop-punk, there have been some really strong British bands coming through. The discovery of this new talent is often due to bands helping other bands out. Neck Deep were doing well, for instance, and would bring their mates along and wear their shirts in their photoshoots to spread the word. Everyone wants each other to get to a certain level. It is so important for everyone to have that camaraderie.”
He also explained his views on bands who don’t change their sound, after a student questioned him about it. He said: “I don’t see anything wrong with a band sounding like themselves. A band that is so individual to the point where you can hear any of their songs and recognise them is a great thing. I have not got a problem if a band has not changed their sound between albums.”
Popular Music students were gripped to every word as Carter gave a speech about his general feelings towards music. He said: “Music can change your life. It sounds cheesy but there are certain songs that you hear that bring moments back. It is magical. I do not mean a bunch of flowers or ‘rabbit out of a hat’ magic. You can alter the way someone can feel with a song. It is so important and special.”
Gary Powell report
Gary Powell is the drummer for several successful bands including The Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things, New York Dolls and The Specials. He quickly admitted that he likes to talk a lot and indeed he veered off from one topic to another quite often. The talk lasted for one hour 30 minutes and this was only including three questions from the audience, as there was barely any time to squeeze them in! Gary appeared very passionate about a range of talking points from the music industry nowadays, the bands he is a part of and his desire to look for new talent.
He explained how it is harder for artists to break through now, compared to when The Libertines arrived on the scene in 2002: ”Your listening patterns have been coloured by the industry. I watch The Voice every weekend at the moment with my six-year-old and eight-year-old sons and at first I could not stand it. This is because the contestants were trying to find an easy way into the industry. But then you think about how the industry is now. It is harder to become an Ed Sheeran these days. If we are to compare it to football, then it is easier to become a Jack Wilshere when taking the traditional industry route. Which is ridiculous.”
The Libertines saw a lot of success in the noughties, including their single ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ reaching the #2 spot in 2004, plus its accompanying album reaching the top spot. However, their music was often overshadowed by the press that the group would receive. Powell explained: “The press would constantly talk about us taking drugs. They also misconstrued the reason we stopped touring. The papers said that we fell out, but there was no falling out at all.”
The band had a large gap of not releasing any new material, as members concentrated on side-projects (such as Babyshambles and Dirty Pretty Things), however, The Libertines staged a successful comeback in 2015 with their Anthems for Doomed Youth album. It reached #3 in the UK charts. But what have the group been up to since? Powell said: “We are a little bit mental. We are about to go to Australia. We have also bought a hotel in Margate, which was ranked amongst the top five worst establishments in the country on Tripadvisor! It is a fully-functional building that we welcome people who either do or do not like our music to come to. You can say you hate The Liberties, you don’t need to like the music that I do, but you do need to be a nice person. Even if you don’t like the music, you could have a great sense of humour or be the most intellectual person ever. So I could still learn something from you. People can come along and have a drink, create something… whatever. It is a hub. Carl [Barât, vocals/guitar player for The Liberties] came up with the idea! The studio in it is nearly finished now.