TwentyFirstCenturyBrand's Neil Barrie on indie rock, disappointing The National—and drummer baggage
Neil Barrie is global CEO of TwentyFirstCenturyBrand, the consultancy that has worked with brands including Pinterest, Headspace and Uber Eats. He also spent his younger years as a guitarist and songwriter for the indie bands Romeo Trading Co. and Billy Liar.
Inspired by watching Radiohead sound check in a small-town hall before they blew up, he and a friend resolved to start a band. They played small clubs in London and Paris and lived a life of extreme dichotomies.
After a gig with a Turkish singer in Pigalle during Paris Fashion Week, he was elated. "It felt like exactly how the dream was supposed to be," Barrie says. "But then I drove the band all the way home in a really crap Citroen Xantia and got on a car ferry. And reversed into a bollard in Paris and had to do some insurance claims."
The shine didn't last forever. "I remember being 23 and I felt so old. Because in indie band terms you were already on a death spiral."
Barrie also weighs in on the time he disappointed The National's Matt Berninger and why drummer's always have so much baggage.