Baxter Dury

Sharing some of the influences that shaped the sound and the attitude of his new album, enter the fascinating world of Baxter Dury

HEARTBREAK

“I was living in the countryside for a year with my girlfriend and we just kind of… it didn’t quite work out and she went. I’d started the new album as one thing and then, it’s a very clichéd set of circumstances, but by the time she went she definitely created a structure to sing about without me knowing. The only way you can transition from a person feeling pain is to make it into something useful. I thought I might as well, because I was no use to anyone else as a moping, tear-soaked idiot. That sort of shit, it was a self-counselling artistic process so I used it, and it was fun… I mean it wasn’t fun at all, but it was fun in that it achieved the results I wanted. So, that was good.”

ESCAPING FROM THE COUNTRY

“I was living in a place called Tring, Hertfordshire, faux countryside, a bit too far to be London and a bit not quite far enough. It had that glow of pre-Brexit confidence about it. When that was all in play it became a really ugly place. You could see these kind of Brexit zombies appearing, so I was like ‘Fuck this’, I had to get out of there. It was basically a village full of total cunts. The Asian family next to me got egged, not them, but their house. Such a weird, symbiotic, 70s act. Many worse things can happen, but at the same time I thought, ‘Oh, what a horrible thing to happen’. The horrible nature of some people. So anyway, we got out of there, but, as I say, misfortune can provide motivation, can’t it? My only real occupation is this, so you can use your misfortune to move forward. It was all executed quite well in a way. I got the team, I got the finances, I got the pain and I wrote it. Bosh!”

THE LINNDRUM

“I did everything on the album with this old 80s LinnDrum. It was like the first-ever proper drum machine, the first thing that ever used a real sample. So Prince used it and everyone used them. Loads of 80s bands and loads of hip hop people used them, but I wanted it to be reinterpreted back into a live thing.”

SERGE GAINSBOURG

“There is a bit of Serge in there. I’ve a following in France and people say there’s a kind of ‘Histoire De Melody Nelson’ thing going on – a bloke speaking and a lot of amazing strings going on. That wasn’t intentional but it does sound a bit like that. That particular album, with Jane Birkin, is beyond belief. It’s really fucked up and amazing By accident, there is a bit of that in there.”

QUINCY JONES

“I was thinking about 80s and late-70s music, well-constructed things that are obviously not apparent, but I wanted to steal them in my own clumsy way. You know, Michael Jackson-y kind of things. Who was the guy that produced Michael Jackson? Quincy Jones! I didn’t in any way have the skillset or experience to know how that was applied, or how they did that, but it is my own interpretation. Just the feeling of it, you know.”

MADNESS

“I listened to a lot of Madness, my dad related to them a lot. They sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me once in the Hammersmith Odeon, I was obsessed when I was young. I was about nine or 10 or something. More recently I’ve dissected a lot of it and I realised how brilliantly written it all was. There are loads of tricks that I learned – it’s really cleverly crafted. The music is all swimming around, beautiful deliveries, beautiful music, those quite monotone vocals are used really effectively. It’s really clever. They were very cheesy in one way, but really…”

SLEAFORD MODS

“Jason [Williamson] is a mate of mine. Someone sent me a song from years ago that he’d written and I featured in. I didn’t know whether it was in a positive or a negative way. It was a bit ambiguous. But apparently he was a real fan so then we got in touch and became mates. They were doing their album in the same studio that I was in, they were downstairs, so it’s all very connected. They’re really lovely people. They’re great aren’t they? He’s like a Russian ballet dancer from a lost era, contorted physically, he’s amazing. And actually the closer you get to it the more nerdy and impressive it is, their timing comes down to really tiny calculations. It’s not an impulsive act, it has structure to it. There are some very clever elements that control it.”

HIS DAD

“Lyrically I try not to have an influence, but I think you must sound like people. I must sound like my old man sometimes. It must just run through you.”

‘Prince Of Tears’ is released by Heavenly

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