Getting To Know... Barton Hartshorn

After following up his much-loved 2022 album 'Manchester Sun' with a string of impactful offerings in the years since, British artist Barton Hartshorn is now back once again to deliver his vibrant new single 'The King Of My Undoing'.

Lifted from his newly announced new EP 'Everything...', which is set to land on the 31st May, 'The King Of My Undoing' makes for a warm and passionate return from the frontman. Brimming with rich and kinetic textures from start to finish, he continues his ascent as one of the more heartwarming names doing the rounds right now.

So with the new single available to stream now, we sat down with him to find out more about his origins and what has been inspiring him most lately.


What was the first instrument you fell in love with?

That would be a Metallic-blue Tokai Strat. I think I took it to bed with me on a couple of occasions. It was the first proper instrument I’d owned after starting on an old classical guitar and progressing to an almost unplayable Kay catalogue SG copy which was good for posing in-front of the mirror with and not much else. I wish I hadn’t sold that Strat… Foolishly traded it for Ibanez custom job which weighed a tonne and wouldn’t stay in tune.

What kind of music did you love when you were younger?

I grew up listening to all sorts. My parents weren’t musicians but there was an eclectic mix of jazz, folk and pop in the vinyl rack. Plus my mum’s French so there were all these classic French albums that influenced my songwriting immeasurably, particularly the lyrics and the importance of telling a story to draw the listener in. I found the same aspect in English folk from Fairport to Jake Thackray and then tried to marry it to the melodic sensibilities I heard in the Beatles, Squeeze, Elvis Costello, XTC and the whole new wave scene.

What was the first album you remember owning?

That would be the first Beatles album (I would just like to point out that this would be twenty years after it was released!) I still remember seeing it on the rack in Woolworths - when they still existed AND sold music! - for 99p (99p!!!!!) and picking it up straight away. I love a bargain…

What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?

That’s a tough one. I think my answer would change every week. This week it’s Ooh la la by the Faces. I’ve always been fascinated by deceptively simple songs. 2 chord masterpieces that manage to evolve in a way the contradicts the simplicity at the heart of them. For me, if you can write a killer verse and then a killer chorus over the same chord sequence you’ve attained the perfection of your art.

Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?

Does procrastination count? I walk a lot. I have to move to write. If I’m stuck I’ll walk round the block and lean on peoples’ fences and cars to fill in lines in my lyric book. As for the music it tends to come while I’m asleep and I wake up having just dreamt melodies and complete arrangements. It wreaks havoc with my sleep cycle so I suppose that’s less of a ritual than a condition…

Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?

Ren (Chalk Outlines is amazing), Alice Phoebe Lou, Corinne Bailey Rae’s (Black Rainbows is startling to say the least) Christian Lee Hutson, The Dears, Tom Waits, Merz…

If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?

Also a tough one. Talk Talk, Colour of Spring period. Elvis Costello, any period, Ani di Franco (we’re on the same American label so who knows!)

What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?

I know all songwriters will tell you the same thing but the moment a line or a melody comes into being, fully formed, springing into existence from nowhere will always be a rush. Hearing a playback in the studio of a song when you know you’ve absolutely nailed it is also up there. Doesn’t always happen, but you know when it does…

And what is the most frustrating part?

Following on from the previous question, that would be hearing a playback and knowing you haven’t quite got it, that the song’s potential has been missed somewhere along the way, but you’ve just got to move on to the next thing. That’s hard to do and accept, but I think you have to if you don’t want to lose your mind or get stuck artistically.

And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?

I don’t remember. Which would seem to suggest I don’t listen to advice. It’s been noted…


Barton Hartshorn's new single 'The King Of My Undoing' is available to stream now. Watch the new video for it in the player below.