Interview with…er…me

 DSC05795As the new year rolls on, I’ve been in a reflective mood. Cue some impromptu and handy discussions with some friends and, oddly, myself. Why do I write in such a way? Why do I like certain things? Why am I obsessed with food? Read on for more…

So, let’s start easy…Why do you only write good reviews?

That’s purely by coincidence. I do get bad albums to listen to, but because of the way I choose to frame my reviews – based on creativity rather than point-scoring – it often ends up that the better albums elicit a more creative response from me. Often my blogging is balanced against full-time work, freelance work and the rest of my life, so without some sort of filter system in place, I’d either go mad or never leave my keyboard. If an album doesn’t generate a creative and impassioned response from me, I won’t review it. I don’t like writing crap for the sake of it…

 And why isn’t the emphasis of your reviews…you know… the music?

I was once told that if people want to know what an album sounds like, they’ll buy the damned album. So there’s no point me describing it to them – I’d either be preaching to the converted, or to those who don’t care! If people are after a track-by-track walk-through of the main themes of each song on an album, I kindly refer them to the album’s sleeve notes (do sleeve notes still exist??)

I’m guessing that’s why you don’t use song names very often?

Correct. I think by focusing too readily on albums as a list of singles (or, dare I say, filler tracks) you take it out of context. An album takes you on a journey. It makes moves you through the emotional spectrum, and that’s (hopefully) what the whimsy of my reviews recreates. It’s like “best of…” albums, which I often find detract from the quality of the individual songs because they’re devoid of their original context – reviews should be natural, not simply a list of names to prove you’ve done your homework.

I see….You’re also a big fan of metaphors, I believe?

I am. Who can resist a metaphor? For whatever reason, music reviewers take themselves, and music in general, far too seriously. Perhaps the constant swelling of the blogoshpere, that ready-to-squeeze pimple on the face of music journalism (couldn’t resist) has put pressure on the old guard to assert their authority, which they do by removing all the fun from music. Instead they put their words onto a page, analysing and over-analysing songs just to prove their value. It’s as if they’re no longer fans. I try to be the opposite and have become a daft writer of bizarre reviews, but loving every second of it! Being my own editor also means I don’t have to satisfy others. I work to my own deadlines, write when it feels right, and most importantly… I blog for love, not money…

Okay, last one now… Where do you think your writing will take you next?

Oh, that’s a tough one! As a student I always wanted to write for Q. Oddly, though, it was for the same reasons I’ve listed above – they always commanded such stern brows and stiff upper lips in their magazine. Since taking on this blogging lark though, I think I’m best suited to magazines like Kerrang! because they’ve started to inject fun, folly and full-blown Twitter drama into music journalism, just like every magazine should. I think James McMahon (who used to lecture at my university) has done a top job there – he’s steadied the ship, united the editorial focus of his staff, and he so clearly loves music that you believe the words on his pages. Until the right job comes along, though, I’m quite content in the blogosphere…

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