Hi Jon great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
Hi, I have been a professional photographer since 2000, working in commercial and corporate areas. In 2010 I started the social history project ‘Cardiff before Cardiff’, which really kick started my imagination and drew me back into more artistic thought processes. My work revolves around the key themes developed when I was a student: memory, history and the devices we use to aid our understanding of the passage of time. Obviously these themes relate most readily to photography, but I also use painting, drawing, and moving image. Since 2010 I have exhibited throughout Wales (most notably in the Wales Millennium Centre with ‘Cardiff before Cardiff’), and in 2015 BBC Wales showed a documentary about one of my projects in ‘Forgotten Images of Valley Life’.
This chat is specifically about music and the role it has played in your personal and professional life. Firstly to start off what are you currently listening to?
Currently I’m listening to the remastered re-release of ‘A Northern Soul’ by The Verve. It’s an astonishing album that didn’t get enough praise at the time it was released (1995), mainly because the band split during the period. I remember hearing ‘History’ for the first time on Radio 1 in my friend’s Mini, and I bought the album on tape in Music Junction in Leamington Spa.
We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, so we want to ask you to list 5 records/albums which have personal resonance to you and why.
1 Dog Man Star by Suede
Suede have been a massive influence on me since 1993. I love their aesthetic, subject matter and outsider status. They made the London of the early 90’s (the subject of many of my paintings at the time) seem incredibly enticing, louche and exciting, to a 15 year old growing up on a farm in Warwickshire! There isn’t much I do creatively that isn’t reflected through the prism of Suede.
2 The Holy Bible by Manic Street Preachers
I didn’t buy this album until ’99 (it came out in ’94) for some reason. I knew the singles, particularly ‘Faster’, and already had ‘Everything Must Go’, which had been the soundtrack of learning to drive and moving to Cardiff in 1996. It’s a very dense album, lyrically and musically, an assault on the ears really. The song structures and concepts are disturbing and unapologetic, ranging from eating disorders to the Holocaust, but it really is a fascinating suite of music that prompts thought and research into the subjects raised.
3 Second Coming by The Stone Roses
I make no apologies for preferring this album to its much more famous predecessor. The band’s first album came out when I was 11 and I was a little too young for indie at that point. This album came out at the end of ’94 and I was completely onboard by then! Again I love the concepts in the many of the songs- the religious motifs that the band had played with in the first album take centre stage here, particularly in ‘Love Spreads’, which re-imagines the crucifixion of a Jesus who is a black woman.
4 Whatever by Oasis
It was around this time that you began to feel that what was underground was about the break out and become mainstream, like pressure that had to be released. It was an incredibly exciting time. The same couldn’t happen now, because the underground can stay where it is, on the internet. There is no TOTP, no NME. It’s a shame.
5.Adore Life Savages
Savages are an amazing band. Sonically, they are so exciting and visceral, in a time when I don’t hear much ‘rock’ music. They are really aggressive and ballsy, and confrontational. I think they are one of the only bands around at the moment doing something new with the tropes of rock ‘n roll.
Just to put you on the spot could you choose one track from the five listed above and tell us why you have chosen this?
1 We Are The Pigs, Suede– Just for the title, and it was released as a single, hilarious!
2 Faster Manic Street, Preachers A brilliant lyrical concept, turning self hate into cockiness.
3 Love Spreads, Stone Roses Best comeback single ever!
4 Whatever, Oasis Because the future seemed limitless
5 Adore Life, Savages The best song of 2016 for me
Many thanks for your time Jon