For most people, music is one of the most important things in life. It can inspire you, fill you with joy or even make you cry. But different music affects us all in different ways. Each week, I interview one of our writers or editors about the impact music has had on their life. This week, I talk to Kettle writer Jamie Doherty about his life in music.
Describe your taste in music in three words.
I got a friend to answer for me – ‘nostalgic, fun, unpretentious’.
I think that’s complimentary?
What’s your musical genre of choice?
Oooh, everything really.
I grew up, like every teenager, listening to lots of punky stuff like The Distillers and The Bouncing Souls as well as the inevitable emo bands that were around at the time. Also had a period where I thought Rage Against The Machine were the best thing in the whole world, as you do. Since then I’ve moved on to enjoy everything from drum and bass to Carly Rae Jepson – which is quite a leap, going from ‘Killing In The Name Of’ to ‘Call Me Maybe’.
To be honest, with the proliferation of things like Spotify I think it’s become a lot more uncommon to define yourself by one genre just by how accessible music has become. It’s having quite a subtly widespread effect on artists too. No longer do bands emerge just having their parent’s old CD collection as influences but quite often as a mishmash of absolutely everything – making them horrendously hard to describe as I’m always finding when writing about artists in New Music Monday.
Your favourite band or artist?
I’ve put a lot of thought into this.
A lot of who becomes your favourite artist is about context: how you first heard them, what mood you were in at the time, who you knew was already a fan, whether or not you thought those people had any taste… Even after that your opinion can be coloured by events in your life or even if you just listen to it a bit too much.
What I’m trying to say is that my favourite band are, subjectively speaking, by no means the best and there are undoubtedly many more bands who are similar and yet I’m completely indifferent to simply because they didn’t arrive at the right time or someone I didn’t like was a fan (teenagers are fickle, aren’t they?)
So, to finally answer the question, my favourite band are Tokyo Police Club. They’ve produced three albums and an EP and each track is like an upbeat, quirky hot water bottle to my ears – probably because they’re from Canada and so there’s never been an annoying radio DJ to ruin them for me.
What was the first album you ever bought?
Buzz by Steps. Bought from a Woolworths in Macclesfield alongside some pick ‘n’ mix.
Teenage Jamie is the coolest kid on the block.. Ahem. Image credit: Jamie Doherty
First gig you went to?
Aged 13, decked out in one of those nylon green and black stripy jumpers that used to be sold in Affleck’s Palace, I went to see My Chemical Romance at the Manchester Apollo. Gerard Way walked on stage with his middle finger up before they opened with ‘Thank You For The Venom’ – I thought it was the coolest thing ever (I had so much to learn).
A few weeks prior to that I went to a ‘gig’ put on in a village hall for youth bands to play at. There I saw a five-piece band called Drive Like I Do cover Fall Out Boy and the Ghostbusters theme tune alongside some of their own songs that were mostly about SEGA games. Ten years later, with one less guitarist, they’re now called The 1975.
That’s a bit cooler than buying Steps from Woolies, right?
What was the last song you listened to?
Ha, ‘Better The Devil You Know’ by Steps.
Which musicians do you admire?
I’ve never met him, once had to stand in as his roadie whilst volunteering at a festival, but Mr. Scruff sounds amazing.
As well as being a DJ who puts on five hour sets comprising of virtually every genre under the Sun, he has his own range of cartoon egg-things that dance around on big screen behind his decks and a tea shop he takes with him on tour – as well as an actual tea shop in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Everything he does just seems to be done because he loves doing it; he loved music so he started playing it to lots of people in big rooms, loves tea so takes a shop with him on tour, loves doodling so incorporated egg-people into his set. All of which I just find really admirable – and I love tea.
What’s your opinion on music videos?
Considering that sound and vision are, in theory, two things that are very easy to combine, it’s surprisingly hard to think of good music videos.
I like Chairlift’s video for ‘Ch-Ching’, the dance moves bring out the beat quite a bit more, The 1975 have had a few good ones too but then they’re always banging on about how they want to be in a John Hughes movie so it’s kind of to be expected.
In your opinion, what’s the most annoying song of all time?
After spending twelve hours being driven around in a van and still being at least an hour from home, I was once subjected to ‘Scatman’ by Scatman John – I’ve never been less grateful for having ears.
Who do you think is the most overrated artist out there?
I’m sure he’s lovely but Ed Sheeran’s just beige.
Just went to see Julia Holter at Gorilla. She was delightful.
— Jamie Doherty (@JamieLDoherty) February 16, 2016
Where do you find new music?
Lots of blogs, namely When The Gramophone Rings, The Line of Best Fit, The 405, Noisey. The radio is actually still really good for finding new stuff, mostly because it has some of music’s biggest tastemakers in Zane Lowe, Huw Stephens, and Annie Mac.
Away from technology, there are still other human beings – just last week my friend dragged me out to see Julia Holter at Gorilla, someone I’d never heard of before and thought was fantastic.
What song will always cheer you up?
Tokyo Police Club – ‘Feel The Effect’.
Towards the end the song kind of comes to life and there’s a verse that goes;
‘I got a friend with a Mohawk,
He’s giving terrible advice to me,
He’s full of quick quips,
Has my future on his lips,
At least he is working on it working on it,
Working for me’
Always cheers me up.
What song always makes you cry?
Sparklehorse did a cover of ‘Wish You Were Here’ with Thom York that was featured in a particularly sad bit of the Lords of Dogtown movie – it’s a massive tearjerker.
What’s your musical guilty pleasure?
Funeral For A Friend were my top played artist on Spotify last year.
Maybe time to admit I actually like them?
Why are Funeral For A Friend my most played artist on Spotify? …Am I actually 13? https://t.co/rMTMFvwCJH
— Jamie Doherty (@JamieLDoherty) December 11, 2015
Tell us your best musical memory.
I saw the Foo Fighters at Old Trafford Cricket Ground when I was about 15 and they finished with ‘Everlong’ and it was just… words can’t even… bliss.
Brody Dalle, former singer of The Distillers, also toured a year or two ago which was massively nostalgic for me. She was touring a solo record but most of the set consisted of Distillers songs so I had a bit of a moment whilst watching on my own, a fresh-faced student wearing a baby blue hoody in a sea of old punks.
Another one, (I do realise ‘best musical memory’ is supposed to mean just one not three) my first proper introduction to drum and bass was when a friend of mine dragged me down to Brixton for one of Hospital Record’s annual events at the Academy. I was so overwhelmed by High Contrast and Netsky that I text all my friends at stupid early in the morning just saying ‘I LOVE DNB!’
What are your best musical memories? Tell us about your life in music in the comments below!