In early 2020, I turned 50. Until late 2019, I'd not had thoughts or ideas about what I could or should do upon reaching that point. Then on a night out with my wife and a couple of mates, I had the idea for a club night, and thought that entering my 50s would be as good a time as any to become a DJ, and why not? However, 2020 had other ideas for all of us, and that got put on a back burner. For now.
During lockdown, I started to go back to thinking about this site, and the whole thing of Lower Corruption & Pies. I'd never got close to really working it out since I'd started it in early 2019, apart from regularly updating my 2 playlists. This time, however, I had an idea for a logo, which led to another logo idea, and some thoughts about merch.
Also, I'd been keeping as close an eye as possible on how things were changing and adapting within the music industry as a whole, during the pandemic. It dawned on me that, understandably, most areas of coverage were about new technical solutions, but at the same time, loads of really great new music was being released, just less people were talking about it because of what was going on, and the media became more about nostalgia than what was new. It's not to diminish the need for new technology to advance how people consume music, but just let's not forget about the music itself. We need the artists and the creators, or we have nothing, and one thing I am good at is telling other people about what new music I like and why.
During this period, the wonderful Heavenly label announced a book, which is released in autumn 2020. From the press release, the main part that stuck with me was "As Jeff Barrett puts it at the beginning of the book, if there’s a continuous theme that runs through all of this, I think it’s that everything comes down to conversations with people about music. It might seem like it all starts with someone on one side of the counter who is selling you something, or someone writing excitedly in a magazine telling you about a band you need to hear, but I don’t think I’ve ever really seen things as one-way transactions. It’s more an ongoing dialogue, one that never really stops and helps to build up this growing soundtrack to our lives, something that’s passed from one person to another. That’s really the ever-present thread. That’s why we still believe in magic." Call me naive, but there's nothing more true than that, if you love music, whether you work in the industry or not. In my life, and many years of experience in the industry, I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS find that the people I get on best with and can trust the most are those where I know what music they're passionate about, and why. I first met the Heavenly guys in the late 90s, and the one thing that never changes about them is what Jeff says above. The last time I saw him properly in mid 2019, the main part of the conversation was about the wonderful Sault, who I obsessed over then, and do now, and why we'd fallen for them. Yes, we reminisce about the old days, good and bad, but we're also ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS on the look out for something new. Not the next BIG thing, just the next GREAT thing. If we're lucky, sometimes both at once.
So I wanted to revamp the site and playlists, and put more thought and creativity into them and shout more about the amazing amounts of amazing new music that's still being released every week of every year. Like I used to do with my closest mate whenever they'd come round to my house in the 80s and 90s, before we went out and I'd INSIST they sat down and listened to me play them the latest 12" singles I'd bought that week.
Where did this all begin though? Well, first of all, a LONG time ago, I misread my good friend Philip's Instagram page (here), which is obviously related to this rather classic album:
Then there's also this band.
And these 2 people, who I've spent most of my adult life obsessing over.
All of that means, I've basically tried to come up with an idea that lets me get across what music I like, taking influence from 3 acts who've influenced my life and taste in music more than most - New Order, LCD Soundsystem, and The KLF.
I'd also read this written by another good friend Darren (who runs Motive Unknown), which, among other things, made me think that doing something not directly related to work or family might not be a bad idea.
All of this aside, you may recognise me from this video, or in the credits for this compilation which I curated and oversaw a few years ago, or these end credits to a fantastic film about Frank Sidebottom: