6 August 2011

Milestones: Paul Bridgewater

Milestones is a feature looking to gain an insight into the tastes of a particular character of the music 'industry'. We ask them a few questions and they kindly answer.

Live editor and sessions producer for The Line Of Best Fit, writer for Noisey, live shooter for The Fly and general music photographer extraordinaire, Paul Bridgewater is London based and bearded. Rather than semi-good at those three (shoot, film, and write about music) varying roles, Paul is one of those talented swines who is able to do them all to an annoyingly high level. And I still owe him a pint. Doesn't it make you sick? Find Paul's responses to the generic Milestones questions below.

The album that first got you into music:

From the age of around five I can remember being enchanted by music. Certain songs - Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill, PiL's Public Image, Talking Head's This Must Be The Place all stuck in my head as weird audio sketches as a child. I had no idea who was singing them or what they meant - something just resonated. I was a late bloomer with albums though; didn't really discover them until my teens.

Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill

Getting into new music always led me to seek what the bands I liked were listening to. The sense of discovery was (and is) part of the thrill of new music - tracing a path through history and seeing where that leads you. The blandest music is inevitably inspired by the most obvious influences I think - interesting stuff begats more interesting stuff.

Anyway, I would inevitably end up more into the influences than the influenced. So as a teenager raised on Shoegaze and Britpop, I ended up going backwards - to Bowie, The Byrds, The Clash, all that Nuggets stuff Lenny Kaye put together. Patti Smith too - the Horses record was a phenomenal part of my teenage years.

Public Enemy's first few records. 'Fear of a Black Planet' blew my mind in a massive way. Sad white boy that I am, I can recite every single line on that record. This is why I never go to karaoke. It would be too tempting to rip the nearest clock from the wall and put it round my neck on a chain....

Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet

It wasn't the album that really hooked me into music though - that was The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. I probably got to it via seeing Bowie in Labyrinth as a kid and Brett Anderson name checking him in interviews. Plus Bowie was always kinda just there throughout - releasing albums every few years when I was a kid, popping up at that fucking hideous Freddie Mercury tribute concert to recite the Lord's Prayer.

Fuck, I listened to that album so much - I know it inside out, every note, line, the sequence of songs. There's something so perfect about it. Even the B-sides from those sessions were incredible ('Sweet Head' & 'Velvet Goldmine' - hard to believe they weren't actually part of the record).

It's not my favourite Bowie album though - that would be either Low or Heroes, depending on my mood - although Let's Dance is getting more play these days. And I kinda like that All Saints collection of instrumentals that came out a few years back.

David Bowie - Sweet Head

The band that dominated your teenage years:

Again, I was out-of-time as a teenager. I didn't particularly like bonding with others over bands - it was very much a private relationship. I grew up largely around people who didn't see music as the saviour I did. While Bowie's record was on regular rotation, I was seeking out music by a long-split band who at that time weren't necessarily as revered as they are now.

The Smiths hadn't been the subject of any reissues at this point and so you couldn't even get hold of all of their records. The first time I heard 'How Soon Is Now' (I'd be maybe 13 or 14) it was like a bomb had exploded inside me. The fact that they'd split up left them unsullied, perfect. Like a time capsule discovered in the garden. I made it my mission to obsessively hunt down rare copies of The World Won't Listen and Louder Than Bombs - which were almost impossible to get in my small northern town - at record fairs or via the backpages of Record Collector magazine.

The Smiths - Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want

At that time Morrissey was pretty much hated by the music press - he'd just done that ridiculous flag-waving thing in Finsbury Park that had him branded a racist. I wasn't so much in to his stuff - I dislike almost everything he's done. He's a good lyricist. He's a good vocalist. But to me he's a mouthpiece for Marr's songs.

All in all, I think I listened to nothing but The Smiths for about four years solidly before the next band came along and they were forgotten for a bit.

The Smiths - Asleep

The album in your parents' collection that made a lasting impression:

Not for the music but for the cover - ELO's A New World Record. Gatefold vinyl. Dudes in the desert clutching some weird glowing ELO orb type thing. Of course the record is great too but I didn't really dig ELO until much later. Here's the front:

The album that has dominated your last 12 months listening:

Hard to answer - I'm not so much an album person anymore. I guess it's either Kanye or The Weeknd though. Let's go with Kanye.

It's really a proper album eh? With a concept that comes together lyrically and musically. It's got a beginning, middle and end, some kind of narrative thread and the entire package - artwork and songs - is cohesive. I think it's a brilliant pop record and I find it hard to see where he can go from here to top this.

Kanye West - Dark Fantasy

The most exciting new band you've heard recently:

I think I fall in love with a new band every two weeks. I've been this way since I first found music. I don't think there's anything wrong with that - although we have to acknowledge that the hyperbole and pomp we heap on these artistes with nary more than an MP3 or EP on import are wholly subjective judgements.

Music is about more than what's on the record though and when you have a new artist and little more than the artwork, the photographs, title and some minor biography, it can be very compelling - we create our own backstories or revel in the mystery of the unknown. And that's a good thing and I don't think it's a new thing. This whole idea that blogs are either the new A&R or blogs are killing music or blogs are being ridiculously over the top - I don't care about any of that. As a music fan, you react instinctively to what you like and sometimes you want to tell the world about it, even if two weeks later you're over it and onto the next thing. It's human nature.

I was absolutely head over heels with Keep Shelley in Athens for a while and fate transpired against me so I missed all of their London shows. We tried to get them for a session but everything came around too quickly and it never happened, which I'm sad about. We'll get them next time I hope. I still love them a lot - their first EP is a lovely, simple, geniune record. I'm excited to see what they do with an album.

Keep Shelly in Athens - Hauntin' Me by Keep Shelly in Athens

Right now though I'm kinda in love with I Break Horses, who are on Bella Union and about to release their debut Hearts record, which is this wonderful mash of disco beats, early shoegaze and glam rock. It's 9 tracks too, which I love. I think every record should be 9 tracks.

I Break Horses - Hearts by Bella Union

And the one song that best represents what it is that you do:

David Bowie - Always Crashing in the Same Car


Steal yourself an ace new desktop background from one of Paul's many excellent shots on his website, check out some of The Line Of Best Fit Sessions, or just follow the gent on Twitter. Maybe if you're kind enough he'll buy you a pint too?

No comments:

Post a Comment