Tag Archives: Top Tunes

Top Tunes with Jonny Cotsen

Hi Jonny Great to meet you. Can you tell us about yourself?
Hello. Great to meet you too! I call myself a Consultant, Theatre Maker and Facilitator in the Arts. I like to make interesting things happen. I work with theatre/arts organisations and venues to develop their work to be more accessible to deaf audiences /members which gives me a lot of satisfaction.

As well as giving talks on access and running inclusive workshops, I am a facilitator. I work with people of all ages with different abilities,  exploring ways drama can be inclusive, accessible and more importantly … fun!

I am also a performer and I am just about to tour my solo show, ‘Louder is Not Always Clearer’, starting at Chapter Arts Centre in February and then on to other venues across Wales. The show is being produced and directed by the brilliant ‘Mr and Mrs Clark’.
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?
I am currently listening to ‘Royalties Overdue’ which is a compilation of songs from the record label Mo Wax. It’s a double sided compilation with various artists that have been assigned to the Mo Wax label founded by James Lavelle.

The album was released around 1994 when I was at Art School and I heard one of the artists DJ Krush collaborating with a jazz artist, Ronnie Jordan’ at a gig and I was blown away so I had to buy it. It was released around the time when Hip Hop was really starting to evolve into mainstream music; artists such as Massive Attack, Portishead, Morcheba etc were influential to the Mo Wax label. Although its been nearly 25 years since it was released, I still love listening to this album!

I am deaf and I’ve always struggled with music especially understanding lyrics but I think it’s the deep and slow beats that makes this album more accessible to me. It’s just the way I hear music. The last year or so, I sort of lost my way listening to music and even stopped attending gigs. This was partly because I am now more involved with theatre which is more accessible to me as I can watch interpreted or captioned performances. However, very recently I bought new hearing aids which are not only super-powerful but I can play music from my phone to my hearing aids via bluetooth. So I have the added advantage of not wearing headphones (which are such a pain when you are a hearing aid user!) but also the clarity of the songs is so much better through the hearing aids. It will never be perfect, nor can I listen to music like a hearing person but it is definitely making a difference!! Thanks to my new hearing aids, I have started to enjoy listening to music again. ‘Royalties Overdue’ was the first album I wanted to listen to with my new hearing aids and I have been stuck listening to it ever since! I just can’t stop listening to it!
We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, can you list 5 records/albums which have a personal resonance to you and why?
This is a difficult one as it changes every week! Here we go…
Duran Duran – Rio. This was the first album I ever bought. The lyrics were always printed on the back of the vinyl or in the in-lay sleeves which was brilliant as I was able to follow and learn the lyrics to all the songs quite clearly. This album has been my favourite of all the Duran Duran albums. I still enjoy singing ‘Save A Prayer’ tunelessly around the house much to the annoyance to my neighbours!

Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Under The Bridge. When I was at my lowest, this song reminds me how much I have achieved since then. I was in a dark place and this song was playing on the radio and I needed do something about it and I did. I saw RHCP live in Cardiff and I had a very emotional connection with the song when they played it.
Matisyahu – Live At Stubbs. I went with a friend to see this American guy who was a Rabbi with a huge beard and dressed in black. This Rabbi can sing and he was good!! Incredible voice and possibly the best gig that I have ever seen. People have compared him to Damian Marley and I think that is a huge compliment. Matisyahu can rap, sing and beat-box. I love listening to this album whenever I have a dead-end moment and it gives me a buzz. Matisyahu doesn’t have a beard anymore, or wear the black clothes but I still like him!

Beastie Boys – Check Your Head For the obvious reasons Beastie Boys are so much fun to listen to. My older cousin always used to play Beastie Boys stuff when I visited him. I never really got ‘rap’ as there was no way I could follow or understand the lyrics but this album uses a lot of instrumental stuff in the songs. Yes, I’ll admit I did steal the VW badge off a car and tried to wear it just to be as cool as the Beastie Boys.
James Taylor Quartet – Do Your Own Thing During my university days I listened to a lot of jazz, acid jazz, trip-hop and hip hop but JTQ were my favourite. They are a British four-piece jazz funk band, who were renowned for their live performances. Their live sets focus on accessible rhythm driven music which I have always enjoyed listening to. I think they set the standard for the coolest sounds in funky acid jazz and amongst all their brilliant albums, ’Do Your Own Thing’ is my favourite of all them.

Thanks Jonny, 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?

I am going to use my deaf card and pretend I did not hear the question as I am going to chose this song – Happy 70th Birthday Bob Marley – Could You Be Loved [Acapella Version 2015] #MARLEY70. The song consists of different individuals doing an acapella/beat-box version of ‘Could You Be Loved’. All vocal and no instruments. When my partner was pregnant with our daughter throughout the pregnancy we played this song to her belly. We played it a lot and we never got tired of it. A friend told us about it and we are forever grateful. We still play it every now and then; not sure if our daughter remembers it from in utero but wouldn’t be cool if she did.

Jonny and his family

Thanks for your time Jonny

Top Tunes with novelist and playwright Matthew David Scott

Matthew David Scott

 Photographic credit othercrowd.com 

Hi Matthew great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
Hello! My name is Matthew David Scott and I’m a novelist and playwright. I’m originally from Manchester and have now settled in South Wales after a stint in the USA. I’ve published two novels: Playing Mercy (Parthian 2005), which was listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize; and The Ground Remembers (Parthian 2009).

I’m also a founder member of Slung Low, a theatre company based in Leeds, and have written around a dozen shows with them that have been performed at The Barbican, The Liverpool Everyman, car parks, fields and whole city centres both nationally and internationally.

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?
At the moment I’m listening to some of my favourite records of 2017 so I can put together a ‘best of’ list that nobody will care about. Currently in the running is  Currently in the running is: Adios Senor Pusscat by Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band; New Energy by Four Tet; Peasant by Richard Dawson; Black Origami by JLin; Arca by Arca; Dust by Laurel Halo; and Drunk by Thundercat.  DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar is probably my most played in the car, which is always a good sign.

We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, can you list 5 records/albums which have a personal resonance to you and why?
This could be fifty albums long and change from week to week, so here goes:
1 Bob Marley & The Wailers – Legend: I’m sure fellow reggae snobs will turn their noses up at this but it’s a record I remember my dad playing all the time as a kid in the front room. One of his claims to fame is going to see Bob Marley live and telling Tony Wilson to sit down because he was stood on his chair ‘acting the goat’. I also drew a really terrible picture of the sleeve, of which I was very proud at the time but now recall looking a lot like an ill Howard Donald from late-period (first incarnation) Take That. Every time I hear Stir It Up I’m transported to that front room as a seven year old kid.

2 Hunky Dory – David Bowie: Bowie was also a big part of growing up and is one of the few artists whose death genuinely affected me. My mum’s younger siblings were a bit obsessed with him, and apparently my uncle once got caught stealing my aunty’s blouse to wear in the Bowie/Roxy room at a Manchester nightclub. This album, although not my favourite Bowie, holds special memories as it was the first of his I bought for myself. I got it in Tenby on a family holiday, the same day I picked up What’s Goin On by Marvin Gaye. It was an auspicious day for me and my Walkman.
3 Deep Heat 89: Fight The Flame – Various Artists: I think my obsession with dance music started with this fine double cassette. It has some absolute stormers on it including Voodoo Ray by A Guy Called Gerald (still in my all time top ten), Strings of Life, Stakker Humanoid, Promised Land… I’d like to say I was a regular at the Haçienda back then but I was ten. This was when, if you weren’t old enough to go clubbing or didn’t have an older brother or sister, the only way to hear this sort of music was the odd late night radio show; compilations like this; and the sincere hope that the specialist chart on ‘The Chart Show’ that week was The Dance Chart. I still remember seeing the video for Aftermath by Nightmares On Wax on that show and, shortly after a trip to John Menzies, my dad’s speakers were never quite the same again.

4 Definitely Maybe – Oasis: It was either this, Screamadelica, or the first Stone Roses album as representative of this period of my life but, if I’m being totally honest, Definitely Maybe has to be the one. It’s not the best of those records but being 15/16 when this came out made you feel like a king and walk like a fool. I saw them in ’94 at the Academy and it was life-changing (thanks for taking me, Aunty Paula), and their singles coming out were genuine events — the B-sides! Through them I discovered all those other bands they ripped off and for that, if nothing else, they deserve my undying love.

5 Tri Repeate – Autechre: On the personal statement in my Record of Achievement from school, it says my favourite bands are The Stone Roses and Autechre — just in case an employer wanted to know how incredibly cool I was in 1995. Autechre are brilliant. How they’ve developed and created a space totally their own over the last three (!) decades is an inspiration to any artist. There are records they’ve made that I’m still making sense of but this is their best and they are the DNA for many of the really great experimental electronic artists around today (the aforementioned Arca being one). I love them and imagine they have a sensational collection of outdoor wear.
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?
I’m going to pretend I misread the question and pick Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell because it was the first dance at my wedding and when Marvin goes ‘whoo!’ at 1min 39secs a bolt of sheer joy fizzes through me.

Top Tunes with Rhiannon White

Hi Rhiannon great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
So a bit of background – I’m a Cardiff born, Cardiff based theatre director. I mainly work with my theatre company Common Wealth but I also work on freelance stuff which has ranged from taking a circus to Gaza to making a show on a beach.


The work I make is socially engaged, often political and site specific – we find interesting places to stage our shows in the past we have made shows in houses,boxing gyms, courtrooms and now we’re making our new show in a huge industrial warehouse.
I grew up in Cardiff, St.Mellons – I’ve got a deep sense of love and pride for this city and the incredible people that I know here. I can’t imagine living anywhere else, this city gives me the fuel I need to spark and fuel my imagination. I love the magic of this city.
I think it was growing up in St.Mellons that got me into theatre. We didn’t have very much growing up but what we did have is loads of kids to play with. I spent my childhood playing in the street, dressing kids up in my mums old clothes and on plays on in the garden. I think that’s where my DIY spirit came from in those early lessons of making the most of what you’ve got.
My company Common Wealth grew out of those roots – we were a group of people that came together to make theatre. We started with nothing, making shows in large empty buildings, without funding and with the generosity of people who wanted to get involved.
Over the years Common Wealth has grown, we’ve made work in many different places, with incredible groups of people and are now working on shows in places like Chicago and Germany. Currently I am working on a new co-production with National Theatre Wales called We’re Still Here – I’m mega excited, it’s our first big show in Wales, staged in an epic former industrial warehouse and inspired by the incredible Save Our Steel Campaign.
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 Kojey Radical’s album 23winters – he’s a London spoken word, grime artist. I’m loving it because it’s so poignant and powerful it feels like a new genre, he’s also a visual artist so he’s fusing all these different forms together. He’s a powerful man, full of real energy and rooted in his truth. I respect that.

We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, can you list 5 records/albums which have a personal resonance to you and why?

The Holy Bible, Manic Street Preachers
This album changed my life, bit cheesy but it did. I discovered it when I was in school and it was one of those ones that spoke to me about who I was, it helped me make sense of the world. It’s genius, I’d go as far to say they’re some of the best lyrics ever written.

Drunken Lullabies. Flogging Molly
I love punk. I love how fierce it can be and that you can loose yourself dancing to it and let everything go. This song is particularly special to me, it’s a song me and my friends used to sing early hours of the morning as the sun was rising. It reminds me of a friend that passed away, Daniel Griffiths. It reminds me of the wild times.

The 4th Branch, Immortal Technique
I also love hip hop, especially it’s conscious, political and says things that we rarely hear. Immortal Technique is an independent rapper in America who refuses record deals, he holds his own. This song particularly resonates with me because it’s about the Palestinian struggle, it captures the situation in all it’s horrific truth. When I was travelling in Palestine this was a soundtrack for me, in a strange way it gave me hope that someone was writing music about it and that was reaching people that might not know.

Shame, Young Fathers
Young fathers live. Wow, I dont have the words. I saw these guys at Clwb Ifor Bach, I had no idea and instantly fell in love with their music, I’d never heard anything like it in my life. Shame – has had a massive influence on my work, I use it in most of my workshops, it’s urgency really inspires me. I LOVE the video too.

Let them Eat Chaos, Kate Tempest
Kate’s a force of nature an important artist of our times – she always pops up at the right time, she inspires the shit out of me and puts me back on track. She’s a friend of mine and I’ve loved seeing her grow and smash it over the years. She’s reminds me to be true to myself, the past and to not apologise.
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?
It would have to be Shame, it makes me feel alive and full of fire. It’s a song you can run, dance, scream and shout too. That’s important to me.

Many thanks for your time

Top Tunes with Gary Owen

Hi Gary great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
I’m a playwright. My family are from Pembrokeshire, I grew up in Bridgend, and I live in Cardiff. Mostly recently I’ve written Iphigenia in Splott for the Sherman Theatre, Violence and Son for the Royal Court, and Killology for both the Sherman and the Royal Court. Right now I’m working on a new version of Chekov’s classic comedy The Cherry Orchard, which relocates the play to Pembrokeshire in the very early 1980s. It’ll be on at the Sherman in October.

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?
I’ve actually got a playlist called “Just Great Songs!” – with the exclamation mark and everything – and I’m listening to that. Right now it’s playing “In Every Dream Home, A Heartache” by Roxy Music. A title I will almost certainly steal for a play one day. And now it’s playing “Glosh” by Cotton Wolf, from their amazing new album “Life in Analogue”.

We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, can you list 5 records/albums which have a personal resonance to you and why?
On any day it could be any of dozens of other records, but for today. I find it almost impossible to work in silence, but at the same time if I’m going to work to music it can’t be too engaging, or it’ll distract me. So I’ve got a whole load of records that are maybe not quite music, or just very low key music, that I put on when I need to work. The top one is Brian Eno’s “Music for Airports”, but I use a lot of his ambient albums, especially “Discreet Music” and “Neroli”.

And then there’s a brilliant album called “Electric Enigma”, which is field recordings some guy made by going out into the desert and sticking up a big antenna so he could record radio noise made by cosmic rays and the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetic field. It’s available for free from the Internet Archive and it’s very beautiful.
And I’ve got a CD-R called “Buildings”, which is two hours of recordings made by sticking contact mikes to buildings with lifts in them. So it’s two hours of lifts, going up and down buildings. Simon Proffitt gave it to me and I don’t know where he got it from. I worry he made it himself. Anyway it’s gorgeous.
“Bendith” by Bendith. Bendith are a Welsh folk supergroup made up of family trio Plu, together with Carwyn Ellis, mop-topped singer from psychedelic pop wonders Colorama.

They came together to make music mostly about Carwyn’s childhood in Carmarthenshire. There’s a lovely documentary show about the project on iPlayer which features live versions of the songs, and lots of pics of the villages and houses Carwyn’s family lived in, lots of elderly men in barns and sheds in the 1970s, and I’ve got a lot of very similar photos of my family in Pembrokeshire. And the music is so breathtakingly beautiful it stops me in my tracks every time I hear it. Not an album I can work to.

“Fantasia on a Theme from Thomas Tallis” by Vaughan Williams. Vaughan Williams is a deceptive composer in that he seems very catchy and undemanding and writes actual tunes (which is probably why I like him) but there’s a huge melancholy in much of his work (which is probably why I like him). “Fantasia…” was written in 1910 and it is, as its title suggests, a fifteen minute riff on a tune written in 1567 by the Elizabethan composer Thomas Tallis. Aside from being straightforwardly beautiful music, I love it because there is something glorious and heroic about these two men, collaborating across four centuries, together creating something neither could have made alone.

“Night Thoughts” by Suede. I have loved Suede since they and I were skinny indie boys in the 90s. Now they are chiselled indie men and I am a haggard old wreck, but I love them still. “Night Thoughts” is their latest album and I think it might be their best.
It’s nostalgic and sentimental and over-blown and glorious. They made a heart-breaking film to accompany the music that turns the album into what we now call a visual album. I was lucky enough to see a screening of it at Chapter, after which Brett and Mat did a q&a. I couldn’t ask them anything as I was too much of a sobbing mess.

“Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet” by Gavin Bryars. This is a 70 minute piece based around a loop of a homeless man singing a brief refrain, which Bryars recorded I believe in Elephant & Castle in 1971. And what Bryars did was to build up an accompaniment to the man’s voice – gradually he is joined by brass, strings, layers of harmony and eventually Tom Waits turns up and sings along with him. There’s something profoundly deceitful about it. No-one really took this man and lavished the care and attention and love he deserved on him, as they did on this snatched recording of his voice. So the piece is a comforting lie. And yet – it is irresistible. It is beautiful. I fall for it every time I hear it. In my guts I feel it is a wonderful tribute, even as I think it is a lie.

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?
“Music for Airports” because I need it to work. But then, it’s not proper music. I could just work next to a lift and have Bendith to listen to. Yes, I’ll probably do that.

Top Tunes with Emily Garside

Hi Emily great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
I’m a writer and researcher with a love for theatre. Having been an academic for several years while writing my PhD I’m now getting back to writing my own plays again too. Born and raised in Cardiff I came back after time in London and Canada and Nottingham and I love being home. I’m a first class nerd, which I take as an absolute compliment. My first theatrical love was musical theatre as I’m sure my music choices show!
I’ve recently written for Dirty Protest in their “Election Night” event as well as had pieces on at the Southwark Playhouse. My most recent work “Party Like it’s 1985” is being performed as part of Chippy Lane Productions 2017 scratch night on June 27th.


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?
We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, can you list 5 records/albums which have a personal resonance to you and why?
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 listening to; The Groundhog Day musical cast recording. Written by Tim Minchin it’s quite simply one of the best new musicals I’ve seen in the last 10 years. It’s also witty and catchy while also being a really quite emotional listen.

We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, can you list 5 records/albums which have a personal resonance to you and why?
Rent- Original Broadway Cast Recording. Quite simply I wouldn’t be who I am personally or professionally without this album. At 19 like many a musical theatre kid, I discovered Rent. I fell in love with the music and my love of that musical shaped my theatre-going life. It also shaped my professional life. From writing first my undergraduate dissertation on the musical, to Rent being a key part of what became my PhD. The music, and composer Jonathan Larson himself are some of the greatest influences on me. Personally, it was a gateway to so many things, including friends. One of my closest friends lives on the other side of the world, but we’re friends because of Rent. Last year we both stood on stage in a Broadway theatre with one of the original cast from Rent. This girl from Cardiff, who never was part of the theatre world, getting to stand on stage on Broadway, with a friend I’d never have, from the other side of the world, having written a PhD on something this actors was in, all because of this music. So Rent is pretty special to me.

Sister Act-Soundtrack. Choirs have played a big part in my life since I went to University, both giving me a creative outlet and allowing me to make some great friends and have some amazing experiences. Coincidentally both choirs I’ve been in over the last 10 years or so have taken the music of Sister Act as an inspiration. I think the message of the films, about the power of music and friendship has been integral to what makes my current choir so special, so the music of these films will always be special to me. (And in a couple of weeks I get to do my best impression of ‘little redhead Nun’ which my singing teacher always used to say was me- looks small and quiet but makes a lot of noise when pushed)

Company- Stephen Sondheim (2006 Broadway Cast recording). Because musicals have ended up a part of my professional life, and even if they weren’t forensic analysis of them is part of my personality as a fan, I can’t leave out a Sondheim musical from this list. Company I’ve chosen because firstly it’s one that in a lifetime of analysis I’d still find new things to uncover and talk about. Added to this, as I grow older and ‘grow into’ the story of Company it becomes more relatable and more emotional. The 2006 production, and recording and the combination of Raul Esparza’s Bobby- I find it hard to imagine any better interpretation of the role- and John Doyle’s re-imagining of the piece- for me will probably always remain the benchmark for this musical. It’s a rare and wonderful thing to have a recording that challenges you intellectually still but also has an emotional resonance that keeps growing.

Sarah McLachlan- Mirrorball. We all have an album that shaped our teenage years and this was mine. I was never cool enough to rebel and be a rocker, so some soft indie-rock was where I ended up. This album just sounds like being 18 again to me.

The Boy From Oz- Cast Recording. Even though I rarely listen to it any more this musical was a big part of my life when I first got it. The first musical I ever saw ‘live’ and part of the path that took me to being both a theatre lover and to my professional career as a researcher. It was my gateway to a world of theatre and musicals, and still remains one of the best theatrical memories I have- discovering musicals with my Mum who is still by my side for a lot of theatre. And it’s a musical that has ‘Wolverine’ (Hugh Jackman) dancing and singing in Hawaiian shirts and gold lame trousers- a guaranteed smile to the face memory!

Of these my ‘One track’ would be ‘Will I?’ from Rent. Not the most famous, or even perhaps the best piece on the recording. But for me it was both the moment I fell in love with the piece, the most emotional moment (actually in theatre ever) seeing it live, and my benchmark for a good production. Hearing that track takes me back to a time and place but also always reminds me a bit of who I am, what inspires me and why I do what I do.

Top Tunes with Matthew Bulgo

Photographs of Matthew by Jon Pountney


Hi Matthew great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
Hello! I’m Matthew Bulgo. I’m an actor, playwright and dramaturg based in Cardiff and I’m also an Associate Director of Dirty Protest, Wales’ guerrilla new writing theatre company. I grew up in Swansea, studied in London and stayed there for a chunk of time before settling in Cardiff.

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?

I’ve been a huge music fan ever since I hijacked my father’s vinyl collection when I was about 10. I listen to a lot of music. I listen to music when I work, when I’m making food, when I’m having an unwind, when I go running. It’s a really important part of my life. Currently, I’m listening to Hippo Campus, Froth, Ezra Furman, Angel Olsen, Yeasayer, Darwin Deez, Real Estate, Dick Diver, Lord Huron, Will Butler, Maximo Park, Hinds, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Soccer Mommy, Public Access TV…I’ve also rediscovered Blondie this week so I’ve been binge listening their entire back-catalogue at the moment.

We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, can you list 5 records/albums which have a personal resonance to you and why?

The Strokes – ‘Is This It?’ – I love the energy of this album. Once you get past the first track, it feels like a runaway train that’s threatening to derail itself. It just has this real sense of abandon. It’s up there for me as a modern classic. There’s not a single dud track on there.

Arcade Fire – ‘Funeral’ – Now, I’m not a fan of dancing but there are a few tracks on here that are just so galvanising that I just can’t help myself. Again, like The Strokes, this album has this really boundless energy.

The Beatles – ‘Abbey Road’ – This was the first ever vinyl that I bought with my own money when I was about 10. I think my dad had pretty much every other album by The Beatles but this one was missing from the collection. ‘Come Together’ was an immediate favourite, just such a cool riff.
When I started my first band when I was about 16, that song was top of the set-list. And then there’s the extraordinary B-side to the side to the album where all of the songs segue into each other. As you get to those final few tracks, you can sorta hear that it’s the last thing these four people are going to record together. They’re saying “this is it, and now we’re going to go out with something really spectacular”.

Belle and Sebastian – ‘If You’re Feeling Sinister’ – Now, this album reminds me of a really specific time in my life. I was into the music that no-one else really liked and I didn’t dress how people expected me to dress. I started to going to this club night in Swansea that played all the music I loved and I suddenly discovered all the outsiders who were into the same things as me. It was just as this album came out, so these songs felt like the soundtrack to that whole period.
The Smiths – ‘The Smiths’ – The Smiths are lyrically just exquisite. I loved how they were able to be cool and witty and pithy and fey all at the same time. I could have picked any of their albums really but this has one of my favourites, ‘Still Ill’ on it.

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?

Ooo, maybe ‘Last Night’ by The Strokes. Great song, super-cool video and a melody that is best shouted rather than sung.

You can purchase a range of the latest vinyl records and classics from Outpost Coffee and Vinyl Cardiff.
Many thanks for your time Matthew 

Top Tunes with Sam Bees

Hi Sam great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
I’m a playwright and actor-musician from the Rhondda Valley.
From the age of 13 I’ve been playing guitar and singing in bands.
I found my feet in 2010 when I met Elise Davison and joined Taking Flight Theatre Company. Their Shakespeare tours are always very music orientated.
I spend my summers as a sort of ‘wandering minstrel’, which is a joy. I am currently part of the cast of Taking Flights production of The Tempest which is currently touring Wales and England.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m currently listening to James Blake – The Colour in Everything.
Beautiful and virtuoso electronica and sublime songwriting. I urge you to give it a go if you haven’t done so already.

We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, can you list 5 records/albums which have a personal resonance to you and why?
To pick out just five albums is tricky, but here goes;
Radiohead – The Bends
One of the first albums I ever owned. Radiohead are and always have been pioneering and non-complacent with their songwriting, and have never stopped experimenting. This makes them one of the most exciting bands in the world to me.

 Reuben – Very Fast, Very Dangerous
Probably the best British band that never quite ‘made it’.
Bilious, angry tunes.
Stereophonics – Word Gets Around

Along with Radiohead, these were the band that got me into playing guitar. Every song is a classic, and even all these years later I still know it word for word.

Sufjan Stevens – Come on Feel the Illinoise.
It’s just superb. The man is a genius.
Nirvana- Nevermind.
I think this one is self explanatory. If not, you’re either too young or a troglodyte.

Thanks for your time Sam
Top Tunes is brought to you in collaboration with Outpost Coffe and Vinyl.
Photograph of Sam Bees and Chloe Phillips by Jorge Lizalde Cano

Top Tunes with Catherine Paskell

Hi Catherine great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself?
 Hi Guy, sure, I’m an independent theatre director. I’m from Cardiff and I run a new writing theatre company called Dirty Protest. We develop and produce new writing for performance, and that includes full length plays as well as our short play nights.

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?
I’m currently celebrating Janice Long coming back on the radio. I used to listen to her late night Radio 2 show and at the start of this year, the BBC made a mistake taking her original programme off air to broadcast repeats and playlists. I can’t believe they replaced her with repeats. But, Janice and her original programming is back! BBC Radio Wales has given her her own show and brilliantly, she is choosing her own music playlists rather than having to stick to what she’s told. I love her, and she loves music – I have discovered new bands through her playing upcoming artists on air, as well as music I already love. I’m so pleased she’s back – and broadcasting from Wales!
In terms of artists, at the moment every day I’m listening to Lady Leshurr’s “Mode” EP – it’s so catchy and I like the comedy mixed with social commentary and the production is great. She brings me joy. There’s a really catchy track called “Juice”.

Weirdly, I’m also watching the “OJ: Made in America” documentary right now, so the two seem to go together, I keep shouting “I got the juice!”
We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, can you list 5 records/albums which have a personal resonance to you and why?

McAlmont & Butler “The Sound of McAlmont & Butler”  This record came out when I was a teenager and it sums up that period of my life for me. I’m transported back to 1995 when I listen to it. But also, it’s a real album, in that I have to listen to it from start to finish, in song order. I don’t do that so much today because on a day-to-day level, I listen to Spotify and have thousands of songs I love playing on shuffle. I love the feeling of something I love coming on unexpectedly and I can have a boogie about. My culture of how I listen to music has changed. But this record for me sums up the artistry of the album as a long play listen. And David McAlmont has an incredible soaring voice.

The Mamas & The Papas “If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears” This was the first album I had. It was on cassette and I was in Primary School at Eglwys Newydd, Cardiff. I was enthralled with the sound they created and I went to Whitchurch Library and read a book all about hippies and 60s counterculture. I remember vividly the description of the drug-fuelled parties the Mamas and the Papas used to have and how they had a pool table covered in a drugs buffet. I imagined all the coloured pills and tabs, like very tiny pool balls. I think you’re always influenced by the music you grew up with and that was music my parents introduced me to, as well as contemporary musicians played on Radio 1. I feel lucky that I have a vast access to music, which my parents didn’t have when they were growing up – because I’ve got all the music that they listened to AND the music that’s created now. There’s just a much bigger treasure trove to dip into and discover. And I think this influenced my interests (I did an American Studies degree because I thought that was the most interesting way to become a theatre maker, by learning about the world and travelling to the States and training there). My favourite Mamas and Papas song is “Twelve Thirty”, it sums up what I love about them, it’s beautiful in its sadness and totally pure, with no cynicism.
“Now 30”  1995 was obviously a glorious year for music, well I think so! It was peak Britpop and we had loads of amazing albums that I still love, Pulp’s “Different Class” is one of my favourite albums of all time and came out that year.

Also, Oasis’ “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory”, “The Great Escape” by Blur, Supergrass’ “I Should Coco”, all of these big Britpop bands had landmark albums that year. But I’m picking “Now 30” because when I listen to it, I remember exactly what was happening to me and the world in that year. And also it’s a fantastic way to keep your nostalgia in check, when you remember that not all the music in 1995 was great. That’s the nature of a Now album. Which is a good thing I think. I’m wary of “oh things were better in my day” – that’s kind of what some people were voting for in Brexit. And we see things with these rose tinted specs. But “Now 30” reminds me that in the year we had such glories, we also had Sean Maguire turning his heel from EastEnders to pop singing and the Outhere Brothers releasing “Don’t Stop (Wiggle Wiggle)”.

Leonard Cohen “Songs of Love and Hate” When Leonard died last year, his was the artist death that really affected me. Leonard is my favourite artist of all time.
He’s been with me my whole life – apparently he was my birthing music! I saw him live and it was transcendental. I cried when he died and for weeks after. A few days after he had died, I went to an event in ITV Studios and whilst I was waiting, there was a huge wall of tellys tuned to ITV. And they had the news on. There was some sort of news piece about Leonard and I just sat there in the foyer weeping, when a production assistant came to collect me. Even now when I listen to his albums I have a tear. “Songs of Love and Hate” is another LP that benefits from listening from start to finish, to get the story Leonard is telling us.
“Diamonds in the Mine” is an extraordinary song. I love the quality of his singing and the words: a mix of comedy, drunken, angry growling, and a juxtaposition between grandiose and beautiful images, and the everyday. The last chorus makes me laugh and it’s quite shocking too: the way he sings the last “there are no chocolates in your boxes anymore” has such contempt to the way he spits it out. I think when people think of Leonard, they don’t think of that performative side to him. It sounds to me like the song sums up the end of the idealistic 60s. The album came out in 1971 when it was all crashing down. I think Leonard wrote it at a time when everything was also falling apart for him. And I kind of empathise with that sentiment. 10 years ago, it felt like there was a lot of hope. Now, with everything that’s going on in the world, and how the arts in Wales are developing, people feel caught between the natural optimism that artists have, wanting to imagine and create the world we want to live in, whilst we are caught in the reality of the way things are right now. Every time I listen to Leonard’s songs I discover something new, in the lyrics, in the cadence of his voice. All of his songs can morph to fit the time you are listening to them in. He’s always contemporary. I truly love him.
Erasure “Wild”  I am so excited that they are back with a new album. They are one of my favourite bands of all time, maybe because I listened to them when I was young and they have always been around making music that elevates me. I love Vince Clarke’s synths, I love Andy Bell’s voice. I love how when I went to Brazil to direct “Merchant of Venice” last year, the artists and producers also all loved Erasure, and we had a wonderful moment of all coming together through dancing to “Blue Savannah” from the “Wild” album. It’s soaring and uplifting and I love music for how it can bring people together in a shared experience, just like theatre.

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?
I’ve already pre-empted this by talking about some tracks already, haven’t I! “Yes” by McAlmont and Butler. Because whenever I put this on, it’s positive and uplifting. It’s about being strong, about recovery. I love how grandiose the production is, from the first soaring strings it makes my chest burst. Yet the lyrics are very low key, “Yes I do feel better, Yes I do I feel alright”. I love the contrast because that feels very human, to feel a heightened emotion but not have the words to match.

 Thanks Catherine. What’s next for Dirty Protest?
Our next short play night is coming up on 8th June and it’s happening here at Outpost Coffee & Vinyl. It’s happening on Election Night and it’s our response to the general election. The theme we have asked 8 writers to respond to is “Here We Go Again” and it’s going to be a great night.
We also have a lot of Welsh language short play events coming up: we are working with Tafwyl here in Cardiff, as well as the Eisteddfod and Galeri in Caernarfon to stage these around the country.
Then this summer, we are working with the amazing Paines Plough to produce our new play, Sugar Baby by Alan Harris in the Edinburgh Festival as part of their Roundabout programme. Then come September, we start our year of celebratory year of events to mark our 10 year anniversary! We are really looking forward to that, it’s going to be brilliant and everyone can get involved, so it should be a year-long party!


Top Tunes with Jon Pountney

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

Top Tunes with Mari Lowe

Portrait photographs by Jon Pountney

Top Tunes is a new feature for Get the Chance in collaboration with Outpost Coffee and Vinyl http://www.outpostrecords.co.uk
The Director of Get the Chance, Guy O’Donnell recently got the chance to chat to Mari Lowe.
Hi Mari great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
Hello. I’m from Bridgend and I work in heritage. Working in heritage basically means that I get paid to work on projects which explore the past, present and future of everyday people. Often this involves working with a museum or other cultural organisation.
I went to a school called Archbishop McGrath in Bridgend which has since moved to a bigger (and better!) site. It was a small, modest secondary school with teachers who were very caring. Thanks to their encouragement I applied and got into the University of Oxford to study Archaeology and Anthropology. Archaeology is all about the people and societies of the past and anthropology is all about the people and societies of the present. Before I went to University I didn’t know much about Anthropology but I had watched a lot of episodes of Time Team so I felt well-qualified to study Archaeology.
Going away to University was such an important time for me. I really enjoyed the course and I also met people who lived or worked in other countries. I have been lucky enough to visit Sarawak, Spain, Mexico, Singapore, Kenya and South Africa, all because of people I met at University.
After that I did my masters in Museum Studies at Manchester University and I’ve worked in various jobs in museums and heritage. It hasn’t been simple. I’ve done everything from dressing up as a Victorian lady to making films with a refugee charity. Like many careers in arts and culture, it’s not that easy to pursue.
For the last 8 years I’ve lived in Cardiff and I’m pretty happy here. I’ve worked for The Cardiff Story museum and Oasis Cardiff among other things. I’m currently working for Sherman Theatre on a project called Love, Cardiff: City Road Stories. My job is to find people with connections to City Road and record interviews with them. Those recordings will be used to create a performance and an exhibition. It’s quite an ambitious project – we want to reach out to a lot of people and we’re doing it in a relatively short space of time.

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? 
Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. I met him a couple of years ago and interviewed him. I can see why he has made it. His voice is very cool and he also comes across as a really genuine person. His first studio album is just about to be released but some of his tracks already exist on single and EP. Life in Her Yet is a beautiful song about his Gran.

Other than that the soundtrack to my life these days is actually BBC World Service. Obviously it’s the BBC so it’s very PC and from a British perspective but it helps to remind me each day that my country is not the centre of the Universe!
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) Different Light by The Bangles – this was the first record I singled out from my dad’s vinyl collection. I must have been very young but for some reason I liked it and would ask him to put it on the record player. It may have been because of the song September Girls – I was born in September. Looking back I was really lucky to live in a house with a real record collection. I grew up in a quiet, very ordinary home but there were always books, records and art materials around. I realise now what a positive influence that has had on me. When I got older, old enough to actually put the records on myself, I chose things like Paranoid by Black Sabbath, or Led Zeppelin II and another favourite was Eat to the Beat by Blondie – that one’s in my collection now.

2) Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins – I never bought a copy of this. I started listening to the Smashing Pumpkins because of my older brother. Anyone who has older brothers will know what a strong influence they have on you. We’re talking about 20 years ago – a new release would be up to £20 on CD. He would diligently save his pocket money or wait for Christmas to get the records he wanted. I started doing the same. The first album I chose and bought myself was 1977 by Ash. There was five years between me and my brother – I must have been so annoying trying to copy him and hang out with him. Sadly he passed away but I know that being an annoying little sister will always be part of who I am!

3) Cowboys from Hell – Pantera – this record is pretty silly but I still love it. In my mid-teens I got into metal. It was the era of bands like Deftones and System of a Down. Once I got into metal I started going to local gigs. Around that time there was a really fun and accessible music scene in Bridgend. I met a few people back then that have become friends for life. Actually, I hope they know this but they were the extended family I needed at a really hard time in my life. Listening to Pantera might not be everyone’s idea of sanctuary but it was for me.

4) Make Believe – self-titled EP– someone very special copied this EP onto a cassette tape for me along with some other related bands. That got me listening to the more thoughtful side of rock music and to honest I drifted away from the big noisy bands. I think that brand of American indie is also interesting because some of them had something to say about American life and the promise of the ‘American dream’. I travelled to the States on my own when I finished my degree at Oxford and I was surprised by how foreign it felt. I thought all the films I’d watched would be enough to make it feel familiar but it didn’t. It’s such a huge place you can go from one state top another and it feels like a different country – different landscape, different people, different values. And the inequality is so obvious. Just take the Greyhound.

5) Oh No Not My Baby – Maxine Brown – this is one of my favourite recordings from the ‘60s soul/Mowtown era. Her voice isn’t as big as some of the other soul divas but it has a kind of sweetness to it. I could listen to records from this era all day. Fantastic voices, but also I think the old-fashioned romance appeals to me too. My record collection in my teens and twenties was very male-dominated but since then I’ve made a conscious effort to listen to more female musicians and vocalists. It must have been tough for women going into the music industry back then. Now there are so many talented female musicians making it, but also promoters and producers. I hope that continues.
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?

I’d have to choose Siamese Dream, maybe the track Cherub Rock. It’s got a great 90s rock sound and I think without seeing the physical cassette tape and appreciating that as an album maybe I wouldn’t have gone out and bought my own records.
Many thanks for your time Mari.