Hey Jim, how did you go about choosing the songs?
I wish I could be cool and say that this was off the cuff, but alas, there was a strict system. My provisional list was 42 songs and every track that was culled from that cut like a dagger through the heart.
What are the first three you went for?
Sonic Youth – “Tunic (Song for Karen)” (Goo, 1990)
Kim Gordon is one of my heroes, and I love the way she takes on the character of Karen Carpenter in this song and discusses her struggles with anorexia and anxiety as if she’s singing through Carpenter. This song is so dark, haunting and beautiful and the song just blows me away every time I hear it. I sound like I’m writing a GCSE Music essay here but this is just a brilliant example of song-writing from one of the best bands of all time.
Martha – “So Sad (So Sad)” (Courting Strong, 2014)
This might be my number one song of all time? There aren’t any bands that make me wanna sing along like Martha do and this six-minute-long song about mental health has about a million hooks in it. I just can’t get enough of how infectious they are. I’ve listened to this record about a million times, yet I still can’t perfect the Durham accent.
Nirvana – “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” (MTV Unplugged in New York, 1994)
This is a cover of a Leadbelly song that Nirvana did at their MTV Unplugged concert at the end of 1993. That concert really shows what an incredible performer Kurt Cobain was and this song in particular demonstrates that as well as the beauty and power of his voice, especially on the last line of the song “I shiver the whole night through”.
What is the best band you’ve found through working at Exeposé Music?
We’ve been really fortunate to have one of the best current labels around at the moment, SideOneDummy, send us most of their releases in the post. My highlights of the ones they’ve sent are two awesome bands called The Spook School and another called Meat Wave.
What are the next few you want with you on the island?
Led Zeppelin – “Heartbreaker” (Led Zeppelin II, 1969)
This song is my favourite guitar song of all time. I’ve been playing guitar for about nine years and Jimmy Page was one of my biggest early influences in doing so. His style is just so unmistakable and the solo in this song is just mind-bogglingly good. Working it out on a desert island would keep me infinitely entertained.
Inside Out – “No Spiritual Surrender” (No Spiritual Surrender, 1990)
Inside Out was the singer of Rage Against The Machine’s old band before he joined them. They only released one E.P. and it’s one of the best hardcore releases ever because his vocals are so brutal and grating and it’d be great for listening to when those desert island days aren’t as bright as I’d hoped.
The Pogues – “Thousands Are Sailing” (If I Should Fall From Grace With God, 1988)
The Pogues were my dad’s favourite band and he introduced them to me when I was really young and I’ve been into them all throughout my life. A lot of people only know them for their Christmas hit but they have so many incredible songs, this one being one of them. It’s a song about the millions of people who emigrated from Ireland to America during the Great Famine and is a prime example of the beauty of Shane MacGowan’s lyrics. I’ve been to Ireland more than any other country in my life and I’ve always been in love with its history, culture and music, and this song is a brilliant representation of all of those things.
How would you describe your music taste?
I don’t wanna sound flaky with this answer, but I guess it’s pretty eclectic. I like music that’s authentic and not trying to be something it’s not.
And what are the final two songs you’ll take with you?
The White Stripes – “Icky Thump” (Icky Thump, 2007)
The White Stripes are just incredible. The power, delivery, craft etc. of their music, considering they were a two-piece, is mind-boggling. They’re such an exciting band to listen to on so many levels because of the way they challenge the senses with the aforementioned factors. I’ve chosen “Icky Thump” out of all of their songs because it displays their fantastic song writing and features some of the best Jack White lyrics.
Title Fight – “Secret Society” (Floral Green, 2012)
This song is as close to a perfect punk rock song as I can think of because it’s just so blood-pumping. It also has one of the best music videos ever too, it’s creepy as hell. It’s got an incredible hook, is played with passion and uses bass chords, which are one of my favourite things ever.
You’re also involved with Splitsville and No Seatbelt DIY, can you tell us a little about them?
Splitsville is a band that I play bass in with my three best mates. It’s just something to get us all out of the house really!
We all also run a promotions company that puts on gigs in Exeter called No Seatbelt DIY. Sometimes we do gigs at the Cavern but in the last six months we’ve been doing them in this small room at the University. We’ve done about seven now and they’ve all been great and fun in their own way. We put on our most ambitious show in there last time and door frame got ripped off the wall during the headline band! Luckily, our DIY skills don’t end at music and we managed to attach it back onto the door. We’re also gonna start putting out bands as a label in the next month too which is well exciting. We’ve lined up our first couple of releases from some of our favourite small bands and we can’t wait to put them out.
What book would you take on the island with you?
I’d take a compendium of this comic called Y: The Last Man, that’s totally a book, right? It’s about a world where all male humans and animals die except for one man and his monkey, and the series is about his life in a world of women and what would happen in this dystopian world where all men die.
What would your luxury item be?
A lovely guitar. Or just a jar of Biscoff spread that never ever runs out no matter how many spoonfuls you have.
What was your best bit of the last year?/ What are you most looking forward to next year?
The Cavern 25th Anniversary in February/ March was the best month and a bit ever. I went to all but one of the gigs and they were all great. Particular highlights of that were Walter Schreiffels playing United By Fate by Rival Schools in its entirety and telling loads of hilarious anecdotes between songs, J. Robbins playing a mind-blowing set accompanied by Daria, Frank Turner playing my favourite Million Dead song, seeing loads of great Exeter bands play to big crowds and Splitsville getting to support Gnarwolves.
I was working at the Cavern selling tickets the evening we announced Frank Turner and it was one of the most mental things ever. People were queuing around the whole of Gandy Street trying to get tickets and the phone didn’t stop ringing for about seven hours! I’m looking forward to lots of things next year. Splitsville are currently booking a tour for the summer which will be really fun because hopefully we’ll get to go to lots of new places and meets loads of cool people.
And finally, how have you found your editorship at Exeposé Music?
It’s been swell. My personal highlight was definitely putting on Bangers in Freshers’ Week and selling out the Cavern two times over.