Ep20: Jim Bob (Carter U.S.M.) on not knowing how things *should* work – and doing them anyway

Ep20: Jim Bob (Carter U.S.M.) on not knowing how things *should* work – and doing them anyway

Podcast

Thank you for visiting – I’m delighted to share my conversation with Jim Bob aka J.B. Morrison, recorded on 28th August 2020.

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform, and scroll down for links to Jim Bob’s work and his recommendations.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • how to make an album when you think you’ve lost the ability to write songs
  • why Jim Bob only works with people he likes
  • the benefits of aiming higher than you should as an unschooled musician and novelist
  • what it feels like to get in the pop charts in 2020, after having a number 1 album with Carter in 1992
  • how to live a creative life after peaking early
  • how the fun has gone out of Twitter
  • how writing novels is (even more) brutal than writing songs
  • what it was like playing to 14 people on a bill with Ed Sheeran

Explore Jim Bob’s work:

Find out more by visiting Jim Bob’s website and following him on Twitter.



Jim Bob recommends: the new Bright Eyes album “Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was“, the music of Phoebe Bridgers, “Songs For The General Public” by Lemon Twigs. And he loves The Jam.


About Jim Bob

As singer with Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, Jim Bob had 14 top 40 singles, 4 top ten albums (including a number one), sold over a million records, toured the world and headlined Glastonbury. In 2007, ten years after initially splitting, Carter USM reformed for a series of huge, sold out shows until they called it a day again in 2014. 

Outside of Carter, Jim Bob has had a long and varied career as a solo artist and writer. He has released eleven solo albums, two autobiographies and six novels (several under the name J.B. Morrison). His latest album, “Pop Up Jim Bob” came out in August 2020 and went to number 26 in the pop charts, and his fifth and sixth novels, “A Godawful Small Affair” and “Harvey King Unboxes His Family” were published in one volume in March.

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Ep19: Lemn Sissay MBE on the importance of kindness in a longlasting career

Ep19: Lemn Sissay MBE on the importance of kindness in a longlasting career

Podcast

Thank you for visiting – I’m very pleased to share this conversation with Lemn Sissay MBE, recorded on 26th August 2020.

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • the difference between poetry and song lyrics – is there one?
  • how bad school experiences can ruin poetry for us normal people
  • what not to write on your Tinder profile
  • staying away from unproductive negativity – how to take better care of ourselves
  • the importance of kindness in a longlasting career

Explore Lemn’s work:


Google the name “Lemn Sissay” and all the returning hits will be about him because there is only one Lemn Sissay in the world. Lemn Sissay is a BAFTA nominated award winning writer, international poet, performer playwright, artist and broadcaster. He has read on stage throughout the world: from The Library of Congress in The United States to The University of Addis Ababa, from Singapore to Sri Lanka, Bangalore to Dubai, from Bali to Greenland AND Wigan library.

He was awarded an MBE for services to literature by The Queen of England. Along with Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie and Margaret Atwood he won a Pen Pinter Prize in 2019. He is Chancellor of The University of Manchester and an Honorary Doctor from The Universities of Huddersfield, Manchester, Kent and Brunei. He is Dr Dr Dr Dr Lemn Sissay. He was the first poet commissioned to write for the London Olympics and poet of the FA Cup.

Photo credit: Slater King.


This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every Thursday – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer”are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

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Have a lovely day xo

Ep18: Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff) on how Covid-19 stopped him from quitting the music business

Ep18: Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff) on how Covid-19 stopped him from quitting the music business

Podcast

Thank you for visiting – I’m very pleased to share this conversation with Miles Hunt, recorded on 27th August 2020.

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • how Covid-19 dashed his hopes of leaving the music business and becoming a truck driver (and why he wanted to quit in the first place)
  • should we just turn the internet off?
  • why he hates the D chord
  • has digital music ruined the chance for an album to change your life?
  • when writing songs, is the songwriter just a conduit?
  • person vs persona – who is the real Miles Hunt?
  • what does he really think of streaming?
  • how writing your autobiography can help mend relationships that went bad

Explore Miles’ work:


Miles Recommends:

Deja Vega, “Made Of Rain” by The Psychedelic Furs and The Comsat Angels.


Miles Hunt has been the singer, rhythm guitarist and principal songwriter for The Wonder Stuff since 1986. Hailing from the British Midlands the band are now nine albums deep and continue to record and tour to this day. Hunt also fronts Vent 414, a three-piece band that includes Morgan Nicholls (Senseless Things / The Streets / Gorillaz / Muse) on bass guitar and Peter Howard (EAT / Queen Adreena / The Clash) on drums. He has also released a number of solo albums, written for children’s TV, been a presenter on MTV Europe and has a lifelong ambition of becoming a truck driver.


This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every Thursday – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer” are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

Ep17: Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney) on finding your own power

Ep17: Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney) on finding your own power

Podcast

Attention Engineer is back, and I’m delighted to be launching the second series with a very special conversation with Corin Tucker, recorded on 18th September 2020. Hooray!

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • the importance of art in helping us make sense of the massive world events we’re all living through
  • finding your own power through your voice
  • the magic of collaboration – writing songs with REM’s Peter Buck
  • why you should always watch your support bands
  • the importance of finding your purpose – are you really helping your community?
  • connection as a marker of true success
  • the effect of COVID-19 on Sleater-Kinney’s tour plans

Explore Corin’s work:


Corin Recommends:

“Saint Cloud” by Waxahatchee, the music of Khruangbin and Chicano Batman and “Jaime” by Brittany Howard.


Corin Tucker is a singer, songwriter and guitarist, best known for her work with rock band Sleater-Kinney. She started her career playing in influential early 90s band Heavens to Betsy, has released solo music as The Corin Tucker Band and collaborates with REM’s Peter Buck in Filthy Friends.


This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every Thursday – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer”are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

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Have a lovely day xo

FREE DOWNLOAD – Attention Engineer S01 Nuggets available now

FREE DOWNLOAD – Attention Engineer S01 Nuggets available now

Homepage Feature Letterbox Podcast

Something different from me this Bandcamp Friday – a present for you from the first series of my creativity podcast Attention Engineer. Sixteen quotes from brilliant artists to provoke, inspire and encourage.

Series 2 starts next Wednesday 7th October with a very special guest from Portland!

Click to subscribe on your favourite podcast platform.



Ep16: Nova Twins on creativity, craft and commitment

Ep16: Nova Twins on creativity, craft and commitment

Podcast

Hello there, and welcome to my conversation with Nova Twins, recorded on 28th July 2020. Keep scrolling down for links to everything we discussed in this episode and make sure you pick up their debut album “Who Are The Girls?” – visit their website for more.

[Content warning: occasional friendly swears.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • life in lockdown – finding new ways to connect with your audience when all your gigs have been cancelled
  • the importance of knowing your goals
  • how the landmark of releasing their debut album set them on the path to creating more longform bodies of work
  • the benefits of being an independent band, developing your unique sound with no timetable
  • why they won’t tell you which guitar pedals they use
  • who do you want coming to your shows? How the Black Lives Matter movement inspired Nova Twins to use their platform to speak out about injustice and showed them who their allies are
  • creativity, craft and commitment – behind the scenes of Nova Twins’ powerful music videos

Explore Nova Twins’ work:



Nova Twins Recommend:


Other things we talked about:

Watch Nova Twins’ “Voices For The Unheard” Instagram shows here.

Guests so far have included Connie Constance, Sophie K, Shingai, Loathe, Fuck U Pay Us, Death Tour, Melanie Faye and Divinity Roxx.


About Nova Twins

Nova Twins are bassist Georgia South and guitarist and vocalist Amy Love.

Fast becoming trailblazers in their own right, Nova Twins use their platform to champion inclusivity and diversity with a high-octane, genre-warping approach; one that is present in every song they write and every performance they deliver. Turning heads in all of their endeavours, the duo creates a remarkable depth of sound via a myriad of bass and guitar pedals – a secret recipe they have tweaked and refined over the years, whilst dogmatically avoiding any synthesizers in the process. 

Innovative in not only their musical output but in every element of what they do as artists, from designing and making their own outfits for all photoshoots and stage-wear, to the art direction of their music videos. The band are above all, strong, independent and inspiring women of colour. Their modus operandi is to take socio-political experiences from their day-to-day and turn it into something their fans can get lost in.

Visit Nova Twins’ website for more and follow them on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.



This podcast is supported by Arts Council England and The National Lottery and powered by my Correspondent’s Club.

+ Get FREE music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every Thursday – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer”are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

Ep15: Estella Adeyeri (Big Joanie / Charmpit) on challenging assumptions and giving back to a supportive music scene

Ep15: Estella Adeyeri (Big Joanie / Charmpit) on challenging assumptions and giving back to a supportive music scene

Podcast

Oh hello there, and welcome to my conversation with Estella Adeyeri, recorded on 12th August 2020. Keep scrolling down for links to everything we discussed in this episode and make sure you check out Big Joanie’s new single, their cover of “Cranes In The Sky” by Solange.

[Content warning: very occasional frustrated but friendly swearing.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • the role of libraries in our discovery of new ideas and music that spoke to us while growing up
  • the benefits of being part of a supportive music scene when getting started in bands, and how to nurture and make space for others
  • activism and music making – how the two can work together
  • how a teen love of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Paramore led to playing in collaboration with others
  • the joy of getting to a place where you don’t feel you have to pretend you know everything
  • some of the stupid shit that sound engineers have said to us
  • why are bass amps usually so heavy? A love note to Fender

Explore Estella’s work:



Estella recommends:


Other things we talked about:

Estella talks about volunteering with Girls Rock London and Decolonise Fest. We talk about books that were big for us growing up and discovering new ideas; Estella mentions Bell Hooks and I mention “The Female Eunuch” by Germaine Greer and “The Women’s Room” by Marilyn French.

I mention finding Belly and Radiohead albums in the local library and having my life changed by them. Estella talks about her enduring love for Yeah Yeah Yeahs and growing up with Paramore.

Estella talks about DIY Space 4 London, a brilliant South London hub for music, art and activism. Shoutouts for Electric Voice microphones, Fender Rumble bass combos and cabs and York Fibbers, plus Sadie Dupuis of Sad13 and Speedy Ortiz, who was on this very podcast just last week!


About Estella

Estella Adeyeri is a performing musician and multi-instrumentalist. She plays bass guitar in Black feminist punk band Big Joanie, and lead guitar in anarcho-pop punk outfit Charmpit. She has performed at leading music events such as SXSW and Lollapalooza Berlin, and has featured with Big Joanie on radio stations such as BBC 6 Music and KEXP, and in publications such as Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. She has toured extensively and has shared stages with artists such as Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill and Gossip.

Estella is a member of the organising team behind Decolonise Fest, an annual London-based music festival run by punks of colour for punks of colour. She is also a board member of the Good Night Out Campaign, which seeks to create safer nightlife spaces. She has volunteered with Girls Rock London since 2017 as a band coach, instrument tutor, and year-round organiser.

Follow her on Twitter and Soundcloud.

This podcast is supported by Arts Council England and The National Lottery and powered by my Correspondent’s Club.

+ Get FREE music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every Thursday – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer”are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

Ep14: Sadie Dupuis (Sad13 / Speedy Ortiz) on going into a rabbithole

Ep14: Sadie Dupuis (Sad13 / Speedy Ortiz) on going into a rabbithole

Podcast

Welcome to my conversation with Sadie Dupuis, recorded on 29th July 2020. Keep scrolling down for links to everything we discussed in this episode and pre-order her new album “Haunted Painting” now.

[Content warning: friendly swearing present.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • producing and playing your own music – the adventure of going into a rabbithole as a one-person band and taking credit for your work
  • music or lyrics first? Is there a *right* way to write?
  • how to deal with chronic pain on the road for 10 months of the year
  • how nomadic childhoods have helped us both in our chosen careers
  • our thoughts on the future of live performances in the UK and the US
  • the importance of delegation – Sadie gives me some much-needed tips!
  • weight liftin’ for gear shiftin’ – how to stay healthy on tour in body and mind

Explore Sadie’s work:

>

Sadie Recommends: “Mustang” by Bartees Strange, Chicago band Ganser, new mixtape “Free I.H: This Is Not The One You’ve Been Waiting For” by Illuminati Hotties and rapper Backxwash.


Other things we talked about:

Sadie talks about the great work Girls Rock programmes do around the world. You can find your local camp via this handy website.

I mention the effect Cat Power’s album “What Would The Community Think?” had on me as a home recordist, and Sadie talks about getting into Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Mirah and Cat Power because of their lo fi recordings of awesome songs.

I mention the Pitchfork interview with Bjork where she opened up about being denied credit for her own music for a decade. Read it here.

Sadie mentions her friend Zoë Brecher’s music project Hush Puppy and talks about some great advice she got from Stephen Malkmus.

I reference Creative Pep Talk episode #283 featuring Jamie Drake (long, but highly recommended). I talk about the information-action ratio, which I first heard about when recording my podcast episode with Emma Pollock. Just recently I’ve been reading “Amusing Ourselves To Death” by Neil Postman which goes into this idea in more detail.

Sadie talks enthusiastically about her custom album tea blend, created by Philly-based Craft Tea. “Haunted Breakfast” is available now when you pre-order her new album.

At the end of the chat we talk about how great Computer Magic is.


About Sadie Dupuis

For nearly a decade, poet and multi-instrumentalist producer Sadie Dupuis has been celebrated for her literary lyrics, accomplished guitar playing, and embodied ethos of empowerment, whether with rock band Speedy Ortiz or the pop-oriented solo project Sad13, which debuted in 2016 with Lizzo co-feature “Basement Queens.”

Self-produced debut album “Slugger” was released that same year, and followup “Haunted Painting” will be released on 25th September 2020.

Sign up to Sadie’s mailing list here or follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

This podcast is supported by Arts Council England and The National Lottery and powered by my Correspondent’s Club.

+ Get FREE music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every Thursday – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer”are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

Ep13: J. Willgoose, Esq. (Public Service Broadcasting) on what to do when your band has already headlined Brixton Academy

Ep13: J. Willgoose, Esq. (Public Service Broadcasting) on what to do when your band has already headlined Brixton Academy

Podcast

Hello there! Welcome to my conversation with J. Willgoose, Esq. of Public Service Broadcasting, recorded on Wednesday 15th July 2020. Keep scrolling for links to everything we discussed in this episode, visit PSB’s website to explore their back catalogue and sign up to the newsletter and read J.W. (E)’s blog here.

[Content warning: a very small amount of friendly swearing.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • how an early encounter with Oasis and the realisation Paul Simon wasn’t the most talented musician on his stage spurred a young Willgoose on to a career in music
  • the importance of “putting a shift in” – showing up when creativity seems very far from hand
  • the challenge of redefining creative success when your band has already headlined Brixton Academy
  • how maintaining genuine peril at the heart of your live show makes for the possibility of a great gig
  • respecting your audience – choosing venues to play based on how comfortable they are for your fans
  • how to dial down the fanboy when collaborating with one of your all-time musical heroes
  • the concept of “the harder you practice the luckier you get”

The three songs J.W. (E) recommends from PSB’s back catalogue are: “Go”, “Spitfire” and “You + Me”. We also talked about PSB’s collaboration with James Dean Bradfield, “Turn No More”.



Willgoose Recommends:

Music: Juana Molina’s album “Halo” (particularly the song “Cosoco”), Tangerine Dream and the music of Kelly Lee Owens.

Books: “Reality is Not What it Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity” by Carlo Rovelli and “Economics: The User’s Guide” by Ha-Joon Chang.


Other things we talked about:

J.W, (E) quotes George Orwell, “our job is to make life worth living” – from his “Reflections on Gandhi”, published in January 1949, which you can read in full here courtesy of The Orwell Foundation.

I mention “flow state”, the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.

We discuss knotty thrillers “The Wire”, “Dark”, “Lost” and “Twin Peaks”. Damn good coffee.

I mention the PSB documentary “The Making Of “Every Valley” – watch here, plus I quiz J.W, (E) on his excellent Tedx talk “Live music should go wrong” – watch that here – and whether he named his dog after Fyodor Dostoevsky.

J.W, (E) reminds me I’ve only managed to read the first chapter of David Byrne’s “How Music Works” book. Byrne’s website is brilliant – look. He also bigs up The National, we both say how much we respect Elbow, and I give a shoutout to Frank Turner, who starred in episode 4 of this podcast.

I quote from “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl, which I highly recommend to anyone, and finally, Daniel Kahneman’s Desert Island Discs comes up, because the Nobel Prize winning psychologist commented that people who choose to work in the creative arts are most likely to be unhappy. Oops!


About Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting is the corduroy-clad brainchild of London-based J. Willgoose, Esq. who, along with drumming companion Wrigglesworth and multi instrumentalist JFAbraham, is on a quest to inform, educate and entertain audiences around the globe.

PSB’s uniquely spell-binding live AV transmissions see them weave samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material around live drums, guitar, banjo and electronics as they teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future – beaming our past back at us through vintage tv sets and state of the art modern video projection devices.

This podcast is supported by Arts Council England and The National Lottery and powered by my Correspondent’s Club.

+ Get FREE music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every Thursday – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer”are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

Ep12: Bright Light Bright Light on surviving as an independent artist in a genre full of gatekeepers

Ep12: Bright Light Bright Light on surviving as an independent artist in a genre full of gatekeepers

Podcast

Hello! Welcome to my conversation with Bright Light Bright Light, recorded on Monday 13th July 2020. Keep scrolling down for links to everything we discussed in this episode and visit his website to pre-order “Fun City”, released on 18th September 2020.

[Content warning: occasional swearing.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • Rod’s new album “Fun City”: a love letter to the LGBTQ+ community
  • how setting a mission for your music helps keep you focused on what matters
  • wearing your weird on your sleeve
  • surviving as an independent artist in a genre full of gatekeepers
  • record shopping with Elton John
  • dealing with rejection – how to keep getting back up again
  • tour practicalities – sprinting to the merch table in arenas
  • how to dance in your own music video

The three songs Rod recommends you listen to from his back catalogue are: “I Used To Be Cool”, “In Your Care” and “Symmetry Of Two Hearts”.

The artists he recommends are: Caveboy, Shea Diamond’s “I Am America” and Beth Hirsch.


About Bright Light Bright Light

Bright Light Bright Light is the moniker of Welsh-born, NYC living Rod Thomas, a singer, songwriter, producer, DJ and fully independent artist.

A pop culture geek, his songs are inspired by 80’s/90’s cinema (hence the name), video games, TV moments and dance sequences. He’s worked with Sir Elton John, Scissor Sisters, Alan Cumming and Erasure, and toured with Cher.

His forthcoming album “Fun City” is a love letter to the LGBTQ+ community and features a long list of incredible LGBTQ+ collaborators including Andy Bell, Jake Shears, Justin Vivian Bond and Madonna’s iconic backing singers Niki Haris and Donna De Lory.

Pre-order Bright Light Bright Light’s new album here.

This podcast is supported by Arts Council England and The National Lottery and powered by my Correspondent’s Club.

+ Get FREE music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every Thursday – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer”are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo