Courtney Barnett: When I enter a house I look in all the cupboards

The singer, 28, on her compulsive tendencies, impatience, celery stick diet and wild-ride relationship

Music is a strange business with no solid lines. You never really know what anything means, or what level of selling out is really selling out. Ive never worked with major labels, but the idea is that you dont sacrifice too much. You make and release music in a way that suits your morals.

Coming out to myself was a bit of a process. I was dating a girl in high school and I was like: Im not gay, Im just happy to be in love with this girl. I dont know if that was denial. I was just figuring out what I was feeling. Coming out to others was a bit of a non-event. Theyd worked it out.

When youre Australian, youre forever being told its a pipe dream to have any sort of career in music or the arts. That whole breaking-it-overseas idea seems so hard, so its great to have success anywhere.

I take bits of lots of different people. Im a big Patti Smith fan, but also Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell. Some people say Im inspired by Liz Phair, which might be totally spot on. But Ive not had the chance to listen to her music yet so its an incorrect comparison.

Id like to see Australia become more open-minded. Our government is so backwards on things like marriage equality, and equality in general. White Australia is young, I guess, compared to everywhere else. But thats not an excuse for treating people terribly sometimes.

My biggest downfall is not having patience. I can be pretty lazy. For example, Im not a great cook, I just eat whatever is available. I would happily live off celery sticks and hummus forever.

Everything feels extravagant to me. As a kid my grandma told me I was lucky to have things other people dont. In the early days of touring, four of us used to share a bed, so having my own room now feels extravagant. I dont buy much stuff I bought a car once but Ive even sold that.

Ive got my dads short temper and my mums compulsive tendencies. I check doors are locked five times. When I go into a house I have to look in all the rooms and cupboards. Its getting worse with age.

My girlfriend [Jen Cloher] has probably saved my life in moments. Our relationship has been a wild ride. We began dating before I started touring before stuff got crazy.

I can recite every scene in Grease. Ive watched that and Pulp Fiction more than any other film. My favourite character is Rizzo I didnt really like her as a kid, but now I think shes really cool.

Im not always totally comfortable writing about myself. But I suppose thats the point its part of what I do. Theres a lot of joy and a lot of frustration in being a musician. Just having an opinion is a form of being political. Its my thoughts and my life, what I see and how I see it. All of that is political.

I feel like I live in a constant state of being scared. Ive been trying to learn how to meditate and calm down, but Im not very good.

Courtney Barnetts new single, Elevator Operator, is released on 12 August on Marathon

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