Welcome to a series where we ask some of bass music’s finest to choose five tunes from any era and in any genre that have inspired them, influenced them, and maybe even changed their lives.
I remember being in Berlin in some dingy back-street bar and we hijacked the sound system and were playing tunes and I stuck Dire Straits on and everyone went crazy!
Chemical Brothers “Hey Boy Hey Girl” (Freestyle Dust, 1999)
This, along with a few other tracks, were some of the first fully electronic tracks that got me completely hooked on electronic music over live bands. The whole album is full of experimental, weird analogue sounds mixed with a warehouse techno vibe which I hadn’t really heard before then. The dark sound of this tune still gets me now and the whole color and texture of it still has a big influence on the things I’m writing now.
Muse “Plug in Baby” (Mushroom, 2001)
I discovered this tune just around the time I was learning the bass guitar and playing in bands. I’m not sure where I first heard it but it instantly clicked for me. That guitar lick from the beginning had me hooked—it’s crazy complicated but really fluid at the same time. It’s still a wicked track today, but I remember listening to it over and over and feeling like I wanted to change certain parts of it. It was a key track for me because it made me question the arrangement of tracks and I guess that’s basically what I’m doing now, but with my own music.
Dire Straits “Sultans of Swing” (Vertigol, 1978)
This track is still in my top three favorite tracks of all time. I had it on a tape my dad had when I was younger and I used to listen through the track and rewind it and listen over and over again. Maybe I’m an old man at heart but it’s such a good piece of music that it’s impossible to hate. I remember being in Berlin in some dingy back-street bar and we hijacked the sound system and were playing tunes and I stuck this on and everyone went crazy! To this day it’s one of those tracks I’ll never get bored of.
Pendulum “Slam” (Breakbeat Kaos, 2005)
This is a bit of a cliché for me because I was a massive drum & bass head for years and I used to spend all my money on records and mix for hours and hours. This album was probably the biggest turning point for me as I remember hearing it round a friend’s house when it had only just come out and that was it—I was done with live bands and 100% on electronic music from then on. I was producing at that time and listening to loads of different things but this raised the bar in terms of production as I knew it. Pendulum had such a strong sound and it really opened my eyes to what made a good dance record: keeping it simple but also something that made you want to get up and go crazy. It was like I’d found what I had been looking for and all I wanted from then on was to find more. Drum and bass still has a massive piece of my heart, obviously.
The Prodigy “Breathe” (XL, 1996)
Easy choice. This was so fresh when it came out and still sounds wicked now. I remember finding this when I younger and I hadn’t heard anything else like it. It’s fucking angry and nuts but has that vibe you can shock out to. The Prodigy were a big influence on a lot of UK music and I still think no one has touched what they did back then. They had that punk and rock ‘n’ roll ethic, but brought it into pretty heady rave music for the time and it blew up. Play this one on any system, anywhere in the world, and it’ll get a reaction, even now.