Favorite album: The album I always come back to time after time is 'The Holy Bible' by Manic Street Preachers. It's such an odd record, both musically and lyrically. I admit it's not suited to everybody's tastes, but I think it's a genuine piece of art. It deals with the negative aspects of the human race - war, famine, mass murder, disease, corruption - but it's truly beautiful. It's also wrapped up in its own tragedy: shortly after its release, the band's chief lyricist Richey Edwards disappeared and so this album stands as his last statement to the world.
First album: We always had LPs around the house when I was growing up. I used to borrow them from my local library; hard to imagine now! Huey Lewis & The News’ ‘Fore!’ and Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ were early favourites. But the first album bought specifically for me was Prince’s ‘Batman’ soundtrack, a gift from my brother for my 11th birthday. Looking back, it’s such a crazy mix of funk, soul and power ballads but I can’t really imagine Tim Burton’s film without it.
Favorite Enjoy The Ride or Enjoy The Toons release: Without a doubt the 2018 release of Harold Faltermeyer’s ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ score. I’m not usually a double-dipper but I picked up both the Cop-Car Splatter and the Banana Swirl. It’s criminal that such an iconic score remained unreleased on vinyl for 35 years. And it took me all that time, when I was finally holding this LP jacket in my hands, to realise that the Eddie Murphy cover shot from the poster is a homage to Roger Moore-era James Bond, complete with raised eyebrow! I hope that Enjoy The Ride put their fingers back in the Faltermeyer pie (!) and release an expanded version of his other key ‘80s score, ‘Fletch’ (which I prefer to ‘Beverly Hills Cop’). I have the original pressing, but a full, expanded pressing of the score would be awesome.
Favorite album artwork: There's just so many to choose from. I'm a sucker for hand-drawn movie posters, so the artwork on the soundtrack to John Barry's ' Thunderball' score is just beautiful. It's great that film posters and their soundtracks are starting to go back to this style - last year's 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' is a great example. Other favourites include the pop-art design of Saul Bass' cover for Duke Ellington's 'Anatomy Of A Murder' soundtrack, and the absolutely bonkers cover for Thundercat's 2017 album 'Drunk'.
What are your favorite local record shops, in case any readers are traveling through your town?
Auckland has a couple of great record stores. Real Groovy, Southbound, Marbecks and Flying Out are all within walking distance of each other. Real Groovy is my favourite, just because they have the largest soundtrack selection, but each of the stores have their own strengths. Last year I was fortunate enough to show another soundtrack junkie, my good friend Joe Foster (a previous RCOTM), around these stores when he was visiting from the USA on business. The day ended with us drinking pints in the sunshine, wearing pith helmets, which is how all record-store trips should end!
Since Valentine's Day is approaching, what are some of your favorite love albums? The greatest love song in my collection is David Bowie's rendition of 'Wild Is The Wind', from the 'Station To Station' album. I saw Bowie play the Glastonbury festival in 2000, and it was one of those 'pinch yourself to stop dreaming' moments. He walked out onto the stage and launched into this very song, full of heartache and longing. Sublime!
What are some of your favorite albums you have in your collection? The band that first pulled me into music was Aerosmith. They're more of a joke now than anything else - but their first run of albums for Columbia in the '70s and early '80s are ingrained in my DNA. Many people can't see beyond 'Love In An Elevator' and 'Dude (Looks Like A Lady)', but their three-album run of 'Get Your Wings', 'Toys In The Attics' and 'Rocks' is just incredible. The albums that mean the most to me though are two soundtracks, from two of my favourite directors, which I was lucky to get signed. I met Quentin Tarantino (and stunt-woman extraordinaire Zoe Bell) at the premiere of 'The Hateful Eight', and a year later I met Danny Boyle at the premiere of 'T2: Trainspotting'. They say you should never meet your heroes, but these experiences were just magical.
Any specific albums you wish you had on vinyl? One of my favourite films of last year was Asif Kapadia's documentary on the footballer Diego Maradona. The same director also gave us groundbreaking documentaries on Ayrton Senna and Amy Winehouse, but this one in particular was hard to watch considering that Maradona broke my 7-year old heart back in 1986! The soundtrack score by Kapadia's frequent collaborator Antonio Pinto was just beautiful and has been in heavy rotation on my Spotify ever since. I'm hoping that it will eventually see the light of day on vinyl, as it's such a gem of a score.
What album would you like to be pressed on vinyl? I’ve been a James Bond fan since I left the womb. I own all the available Bond soundtracks on vinyl, even the two unofficial ones (1967’s 'Casino Royale' and 1983’s 'Never Say Never Again'), but there are still six films that still haven’t been released on the format: the four Pierce Brosnans and the first two Daniel Craig films. I don’t think anybody’s crying out to hear Eric Serra’s 'Goldeneye' score, but the David Arnold scores are well overdue a reissue.
What was the best album(s) you've discovered recently (can be anything, doesn't have to be a new release): I've long been a fan of Anna Meredith's 'Nautilus' ever since I heard the comedian Frank Skinner use the track as his intro music. Since then, the song has been used to great effect in the 2018 film 'Eighth Grade' and the Netflix series 'Living With Yourself', starring Paul Rudd (which Meredith also scored). I've been listening a lot to her debut album 'Varmints', which opens with 'Nautilus', and it's full of oddball melodies and weirdly uplifting hooks.
What upcoming releases are you most excited about? Over the last year, my good friend (and fellow James Bond-nut) John Chamberlain and I have been watching all of the 007 films, in sequential order, in the run up to the release of 'No Time To Die' in April. After a bit of drama (the original composer, Dan Romer, was removed from the project), we're both excited to see what Hans Zimmer will bring to the film alongside Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. Exciting!
Scenario time! If you could create a vinyl variant, what would it look like? You can choose any album of your choosing, seeing as this is hypothetical. As I mentioned above, I'd love Enjoy The Ride to give us a fully expanded score of Harold Faltermeyer's 'Fletch' soundtrack. The artwork of the abum could follow the design of the original release - Fletch's wallet - but go one step further, with the gatefold fully opening up like a wallet. The coloured vinyl could be surgeon-scrubs blue, and L.A. Lakers yellow. Charge it to the Underhills!