Favourite Albums Of 2015

Blur – The Magic Whip

blur-the-magic-whipI’ll start with my favourite album of the year by a country mile, The Magic Whip by Blur. Coming out of the blue 12 years after their previous album it was one hell of a surprise to say the least, but it was well worth the wait. I’m a huge Blur fan and I’d been waiting so long for a new album from them, especially after Graham Coxon rejoined the band in 2009 and the three new songs released since 2010. And this year, 2015, we finally got it.

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FULL INTERVIEW: Dave Rowntree

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of interviewing Dave Rowntree from Blur and I asked him a number of things from his childhood, Blur, The Ailerons, politics and more. The interview was in two parts originally but here it is in full for your reading pleasure!

I’d like to start right at the beginning if I may. Your family was quite musical, so in many ways it was inevitable that you would get into music. But what made you want to play the drums?

There was a rule in my house that we had to learn an instrument, it didn’t matter which. In fact the rule originally said that we had to learn the piano, which I hated, so I complained long and hard until I was given the choice. Anyway, I thought I could subvert the rule and get out of music lessons altogether by picking the loudest and most obnoxious instrument there was, so I originally chose the bagpipes. However, I was only 10 and it takes adult lungs to inflate the bag, so I switched to the drums. I was hooked straight away, and played every spare moment from then on.

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INTERVIEW: Dave Rowntree (Part 2)

A week or so ago I posted Part 1 of my interview with Blur’s Dave Rowntree where we spoke about very specific parts of Blur’s career that the band don’t get asked about at all by mainstream journalists. Part 2 is a continuation of that in some areas but we also spoke about The Magic Whip, Blur’s new album.

I’d like to start right at the beginning if I may. Your family was quite musical, so in many ways it was inevitable that you would get into music. But what made you want to play the drums?

There was a rule in my house that we had to learn an instrument, it didn’t matter which. In fact the rule originally said that we had to learn the piano, which I hated, so I complained long and hard until I was given the choice. Anyway, I thought I could subvert the rule and get out of music lessons altogether by picking the loudest and most obnoxious instrument there was, so I originally chose the bagpipes. However, I was only 10 and it takes adult lungs to inflate the bag, so I switched to the drums. I was hooked straight away, and played every spare moment from then on.

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INTERVIEW: Dave Rowntree (Part 1)

I had the pleasure of interviewing Blur’s very own Dave Rowntree recently, and we discussed a number of Blur and non-Blur related topics. The first part of the interview is as follows with the second and final part coming after Blur’s new album, The Magic Whip, is released.

Blur did sessions with Bill Laswell in 2000. Two of those tracks, “1” and “3”, appeared on the 21 box set in 2012. What other songs did the band record and what were the aims of the sessions?

The aim of the sessions was to try working with a new producer to see what would happen. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for one reason or another, and we didn’t do much recording.

In 2002 you became a member of the Labour Party, what was it that attracted you to politics at that time?

I felt that I was becoming more of a ‘taker’ than a ‘giver’ and I wanted to redress the balance.

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The Magic Whip Live: The Return Of Blur

This is something that I had almost given up on a few months ago. All signs pointed to the end of Blur, one of the greatest British bands of all time, but out of nowhere a new album (The Magic Whip) was announced alongside a Hyde Park show this summer, and then a few weeks later a secret show as well where the band would play through the new album from start to finish for the first time ever. The show, played at MODE in London, was for competition winners only and resulted in only a few hundred people at the venue on the night. Very intimate, the perfect way to listen to a band in my opinion. Tickets were available for collection at 5:30pm sharp and even though it was stated that people would be let in to the venue an hour later, we were swept in as soon as we were given our tickets.

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