Hey Katie! How did you go about choosing the songs?
I’ve taken this really quite seriously. If I’m on this island forever, and I only have eight songs to listen to for the rest of my life, the main priority is that I can’t get annoyed with the songs I’ve picked. I need songs that can transport me somewhere else, and some which give me something to think about as I stare out at the never ending ocean… On this basis, I have picked – for the most part – songs that are slightly older, and that I’ve listened to for a good couple of years and I still like. I am so damned prepared.
You’re leaving us next year for Vienna – with a penchant for German rap, have you heard much that excites you about the Austrian music scene?
So far, I haven’t found any Austrian rap that rivals the mastery of their German neighbours. For the most part, die Österreiche seem to have refrained from producing too many groups of white lads trying to fit case logic into raps and rhymes. The one notable exception is Trackshittaz, Austria’s 2012 entry to the Eurovision Song contest. Their affront to humanity, ‘Woki mit deim Popo’ sounds like the backing track to the final shrieks of Western Civilisation. You can just tell it’s offensive, even though it’s sung in such a strong Austrian dialect, I can understand precisely none of it. A decade learning German well spent.
I am quite keen on a band called Bilderbuch who also come from Austria. They’re indie-rock, with the odd bit of funk thrown in on some of their slower songs. There’s just enough rock that the German doesn’t sound really out of place, as it can do on softer, Mumford and Sons wannabes. They also look spectacularly awkward in all of their music videos. Echte Klasse.
What are the first three songs you’d take to your island?
The Smiths – “This Charming Man” (The Smiths, 1984)
I’d love to be more original, but there’s a reason this is one of The Smith’s most well-known songs. It’s flawless. Johnny Marr’s riffs are probably the most perfectly played piece of music ever. Claim. Even Morrissey doesn’t grate. His depressive lyrics and moany vocals are just right on this occasion and should match my own deserted despair pretty closely.
Kraftwerk – “Computer Love” (Computer World, 1981)
German song number one on my list, but to be fair, it’s sung in English, so it hardly counts. With the chorus sampled by Coldplay in “Talk”, “Computer Love” is an exceptionally serene piece of Krautrock. It’s seriously atmospheric, and the lyrics are even pretty human-orientated, which is unusual from the Menschmaschine.
Jackson 5 – I Want You Back (Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5, 1969)
This is for moments of light relief, which may well be needed as I come to terms with the trauma of being abandoned on a small strip of sand. It’s a song that no one can dislike and is therefore perfect to play in pretty much any occasion if you’re put in charge of the music. It’s served me well at many pre-drinks, so I’ll take it to the island.
What is the best band you’ve found through working at Exeposé Music?
This is really a no-brainer. A few months back a CD dropped through the door for us to review, and it quite honestly changed my life. I’d heard of him before, but suddenly I saw him in a different light. More mature, more swing, even more mystery. A love for Peter Andre’s craftsmanship has been awakened by Mysterious Swing and I’m proud of that. Although he’s a bit crap live if I’m honest.
How about your next few songs for the island?
Billy Bragg – “New England” (Life’s a Riot with Spy vs Spy, 1983)
I’m not a massive one for poetry and lyricism but you can’t not listen to the words Billy Bragg writes. He knows how to turn a phrase, and it’s concise enough that even I can understand what he’s getting at.
Cro – Meine Gang (Bang, Bang)” (Melodie, 2014)
A nice bit of German rap to act as mental stimulation. I can spend hours trying to work out what the hell they are saying and despairing at my embarrassing lack of foreign language skills. Also this song is about Cro’s ‘Crew’ so I can sit on the never ending sand and remember the concept of friendship to help alleviate the crippling loneliness.
Dave Brubeck – “Take Five” (Time Out, 1959)
The most suave piece of jazz, it instantly transports you to some smoke-filled room, with a load of creative people discussing the relative merits of Bauhaus and modern art – or maybe that’s just me…
How would you describe your music taste? Has it been influenced by Exeposé Music?
I’ve been shown a lot more punk than I had ever listened to before, but the love for math rock and the like hasn’t entirely rubbed off on me. Exeposé Music has, however, taught me to like Kendrick Lamar. To Pimp a Butterfly topped the Album of the Year chart, so I had to re-evaluate my dismissive, old-person reaction to it. Turns out everyone else was right. It really is pretty good. The lyrics are political and he’s considerably more talented than anyone else who performed at the Grammys this year.
What are the last two tracks you’d take with you?
Paul Simon – “The Sounds of Silence” (The Simon Songbook, 1965)
Music reflects what you’re feeling, so “The Sounds of Silence” should sum up my solitude pretty well. Also, this song is never not good, and the Paul Simon version is much more emotionally expressive and generally better than the one with Art harmonising away in the background.
New Order – “Restless” (Music Complete, 2015)
This one is definitely more recent, but I genuinely think Music Complete was the best album of the year, and is just as good as original New Order. They managed to update their electro, whilst still sounding like they did in the eighties. It’s fast paced and tuneful, all round brilliant.
You keep a bean blog… what exactly is a bean blog?
I have a blog about my anthropomorphised plants. Unfortunately, my interest in plants tends to come and go, which means that all of them died quite quickly. I swear the blog is more interesting than it sounds. Quite a lot happened to them over their short lives, and there are a lot of puns of really questionable quality. If you’re exceptionally bored, it contains words and pictures to look at…
What book would you take on the island with you?
Probably Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. Can’t beat a dystopian future, and it would make me feel a bit better about my own abandoned state.
What would your luxury item be?
Matches or something to produce fire with. I’m thinking practically, and fire is really necessary for any kind of civilisation.
What’s been your best bit of this last year? And what are you most looking forward to next year?
Next year I want to make the most of being in a different country, so I want to try and see some German bands, of course. My knowledge of German music has been built-up through weird songs my German teacher showed me and extensive Google-ing, so I’m hoping I’ll hear some newer stuff when I’m over there. I also have an ambition to see Kraftwerk one day, so I think I’ll aim to do that, so I can hear them in their full German artistry.
Finally, how have you found being an editor at Exeposé Music?
Exeposé Music is life. I have made the best of friends, learnt the best of knowledges and photoshopped the SABBs wearing Slipknot t-shirts. It’s been absolutely lovely.