by Andy Morris Contributor | Photos by Wenn

Daniel Radcliffe on Pete Doherty and Pixies

The star of Horns and Harry Potter tells Gigwise about the music he loves


Daniel Radcliffe on Pete Doherty and Pixies Photo: Wenn

Waiting in London's Soho Hotel for an interview to discuss new horror film Horns, T4 Music’s 'Celebrity Rich List' plays on a TV in the corner. At our allotted time, we take our eyes off the screen, proceed directly to room 208 and catch No.2 on the list, a 25 year old worth an estimated £63.56m, trying to wave his cigarette smoke out of the window.

Erstwhile, boy wizard Daniel Radcliffe has now played a beat poet, an equine abuser and morphine addled Russian doctor - but nothing can prepare you for watching him as tormented DJ Ig Perrish. The plot of Horns focuses on Perrish waking up one morning to discover that not only is he the prime suspect in the killing of his girfriend (played by Juno Temple) but more worryingly that he can both read minds and has a pair of horns growing out of his forehead.

The film certainly has its grisly charms, and both leads are terrific - but what really excites Gigwise is the soundtrack, replete with tracks by David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Eels and Radcliffe’s own pick The Shivers. To mark the release of Horns in cinemas, Gigwise chatted to the actor about taking inspiration from Megadeth, owning Pete Doherty’s blood paintings and why he desperately wants to see BB King perform live.

Gigwise: You’ve said listening to Megadeth helped get you into character: what track in particular?
Daniel Radcliffe: ‘Sweating Bullets’, specifically for the lines ‘Hello me, It’s me again / You can subdue but never tame me” and “A dark black past is my / Most valued possession”. It’s an insane song and it sounds like a pyschopath talking to himself… and that was very helpful.

You also had A Place To Bury Strangers on repeat...
It’s a hard one to recommend to people. It borders on unlistenable sometimes, but the chaos of it I felt was really how the inside of Ig’s head sounded at the beginning of the film. Before I did the scenes I’d just be trying to deafen myself with A Place to Bury Strangers. Even though Ig is listening to Bowie [on a stereo] in that first scene, he’s looking for any way of cutting that sound out.

Your recommendation of Perfume Genius also meant he made his first ever appearance on Mail Online...
That's impressive! All those Daily Mail readers are going to love the video for ‘Hood’ where he’s being held in the arms of that guy. There was quite a lot I listened to from his second album: 'Rusty Chains’, ‘Dirge’ and ‘Take Me Home’. Those were the standouts but pretty much the whole of Put Your Back N 2 It. It has that really haunted quality, at the same time as being very beautiful. There’s a sense of longing with it - the whole film is basically about Ig grieving in some way, so it seemed really appropriate. I’d love to see Perfume Genius live - apparently its amazing.

Who are the best band you’ve seen recently?
Man, I haven’t seen live music in a shockingly long time. In theory, I absolutely can go and I used to a lot but I just haven’t for so long. The best band I ever saw was at Reading - I saw Pixies when they reformed. That was just amazing... because it was before they had all their new material! It was a greatest hits set and it was fantastic. I just want Kim Deal to be related to me somehow as she seems so cool - they all do.

The dynamic within Pixies seems ‘interesting’ - obviously they might come back together at some point...
I found it really funny when the Stone Roses got back together. I remember Ian Brown being interviewed by somebody who asked him [about reuniting]. He said "Not in your lifetime mate!" So that changed! That was definitely in the past ten years or so. The thing I was gutted I missed of course was the Libertines because I wasn’t here this summer.

You once met your hero Pete Doherty in a Eurostar lounge. Has he kept in touch?
Not at all! He probably doesn’t know this but I have some of his blood paintings. A friend of a friend had them and said “I'm not really in love with these. I don’t know why I have them as I’m not really a big Pete Doherty fan”. I said ‘I’ll have them! How did you ever come to be in possession of them if you’re not into them?” If you’re reading this Pete, I hope this doesn’t freak you out. 

He was just such an icon in my teenage years and still is to me. I’m so glad he’s alive. I really am - there was a long time there where it looked like he might not be. He’s so fucking talented, lyrical and brilliant - I’m very very glad he’s still with us as it would have been too sad.

You've mentioned on KCRW that the 'Time For Heroes' line "There’s fewer more distressing sights than that of an English man in a baseball cap" resonates with you - what topic would you like the Libertines to tackle next?
If the Libertines could write a song about why it’s ok for an Englishman to love the NFL that would be great. I’m an oddly "secret American" now. I love being there and I think there’s something "American" about me - I’m incredibly enthusiastic and energised most of the time and that’s something we often take the piss out of Americans for. I think I fit in.

With the Libertines, I’m just glad there will be another album: I’m so excited for the prospect of that. I would love Pete to record on an album another version of 'East Of Eden' - but still pared down. I found a version years ago that was the most perfect sweet version of the song and I do not know where it is. It was when I was doing a lot of Limewire illegally downloading things and I do not know where it went. So re-record that Pete and Carl!

What music trend needs to die out?
I’m not a fan of the big electronic sound that is in music now. I like a bit of it, I don't mind it coming in, that’s fine. But when it’s all the time it’s exhausting… and just soulless. Weirdly I’ve become a lot less of a music snob: there’s a lot of stuff I still would just never listen to but I feel I used to really judge people for listening to things.

I have learned life is too short to pretend pop music is going to go away one day. And in the last few year’s I’ve had to concede there has been some amazing pop songs: 'Happy' is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. You cannot hear it without becoming happy instantly. I’ve definitely become a lot less precious I think.

Who do you want to see that you haven’t seen yet?
BB King. He’s 89 now and until recently he was giging as often as he did when he was 18. He’s been touring all the time. I would really like to see him: I’ve just started learning guitar and my teacher is a die hard BB King fan. So I’ve been listening to a lot of him and when I'm in America next if he's playing anywhere near me I'm going to try and get to him.

Finally, you expressed an interest in playing Iggy Pop. Did he contact you?
No, he hasn’t been in contact at all. I doubt he will be! I’m sure he has other designs on who would play him. But I’m just saying... I will go further then he thinks I will.

Horns is out in the UK on 29 October.


Andy Morris


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