Syd Barrett Kraus Interview

Back to 'About Kraus'

In 1971 M. Watts of Melody Maker magazine conducted an interview with Syd Barrett. Here are my answers to the questions he asked.

MW - What have you been doing since you left The Floyd, apart from making your two albums?
K - Started a stamp collection.

MW - What would you sooner be - a painter or a musician?
K - A musician obviously, I am a terrible painter.

MW - Do you see the last two years as a process of getting yourself together again?
K - Yes.

MW - There were stories you were going to go back to college, or get a job in a factory.
K - No I have done both of those things, I don't want to do that again. I really like having all my spare time.

MW - Tell me about The Floyd - how did they start?
K - I don't know. Probably I'm not the best person to ask. They did some good songs though, I like "Have a Cigar". And the guitar solo on "Time" is one of my favourites.

MW - Your writing has always been concerned purely with songs rather than long instrumental pieces like the rest of The Floyd, hasn't it?
K - Yes, I would say so. Obviously you can do anything you want, and that freedom can be horrible. It's confusing - you don't know where to start. I admire the verse-chorus-bridge structure. It is well worked out and succinct. It holds your attention, which is important. I think rock music lost something when that was abandoned. So I generally limit myself to 3 minutes. You shouldn't leave people wanting less.

MW - Did you like what they were doing - the fact that the music was gradually moving away from songs like See Emily Play?
K - Not really. But having said that my use of the pop format is incredibly loose. I mean you could score all my songs John Cage-style by saying: "Do something for three minutes". If it gets boring in the middle, do something else for a bit (that's the "bridge").

MW - Was it only you who wanted to make singles?
K - A ha ha, no, I bet there are other people, don't you think? I would be surprised if I was the only one.

MW - Why did you leave them?
K - Leave them...who? The Futurians? I left Dunedin, that's all.

MW - Do you think the glamour went to your head at all?
K - I think it should be obvious that it didn't.

MW - There were stories you had left because you had been freaked out by acid trips.
K - Right. That's not true.

MW - Were you not at all involved in acid, then, during its heyday among rock bands?
K - No.

MW - Are you trying to create a mood in your songs, rather than tell a story?
K - I suppose so. But that's not the most important thing for me, mostly I just try to do something that is not boring. Can you tell a story with instrumental music? Not really. I did do one piece that I consider programme music, which is "Washing Dishes", on "The Facts" cassette. It's not telling a story, but it is supposed to represent or express the acts of washing dishes and vacuuming.

MW - Don't you think that people still remember you?
K - I don't think so. Why would they?

MW - Then why don't you get some musicians, go on the road and do some gigs?
K - Right, so that people would remember me.

MW - Don't you fancy playing live again after two years?
K - I guess it could be done, people sometimes ask me to play. I am not sure about it at this stage.

MW - What's the hang-up then? Is it getting the right musicians around you?
K - No, the main hang-up is all my many hang-ups.

MW - What would be of primary importance - whether they were brilliant musicians or whether you could get on with them?
K - Of primary importance would be that they liked my music. They could be terrible musicians.

MW - Would you say, therefore, you were a difficult person to get on with?
K - Fairly difficult, yes. I am just a normal, uninteresting shy nerd. I am getting better slowly.

MW - Why don't you go out on your own playing acoustic? I think you might be very successful.
K - I'm sure you would be in a minority thinking that.

MW - What records do you listen to?
K - I don't listen to very much music, except what people send me. I heard an incredible tape by Tomutonttu. I got some great stuff lately from Dolphins into the Future, JD Emmanuel, Pumice, Altar of Flies, Witcyst. Have you heard the Armpit live album?

MW - Are you going into the blues, then, in your writing?
K - Yeah, like Armpit!

MW - Will there be a third solo album?
K - I am working on an album for Ultra Eczema right now, it is going to be pretty good I think. Really a rock album, all guitars and drums.

02 January 2008.

TOP OF PAGE
Back to 'About Kraus'