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Baker's Dozen

Paid Attention: Johnny Dean Of Menswear's Favourite Albums
Wesley Doyle , June 23rd, 2014 08:11

With a new single from the rejuvenated Menswear recently released, frontman Johnny Dean talks about sax appeal, music as maths and why pop is as much about what you see as what you hear

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Gary Numan - The Pleasure Principle
The first time I was aware of him was through 'Cars' but he didn't really catch on with me until I was a bit older. There's something about his music, the sound he had was massive, immense. There's just something about the sound of loads of synths and Gary Numan got me into the idea that you should always use them. A criticism of synths is that they don't sound from the heart, they don't have emotion but I always say to people who think that, listen to some Numan. I love the idea of getting all this machinery and creating a sound that is really beautiful and emotional, it fascinates me. 

I was diagnosed with Asperger's and Numan has been quite upfront about his. I think that's why I connect to what he's doing, it sounds really natural to me. Music is maths especially when you go into music theory, it's all numbers and it's all connected – well, it is in my strange little head! I guess bringing in computers and synths and zeroes and ones - maybe Numan would know exactly what I'm saying but there's something infinitely beautiful about it and he makes that into really strong, melodic pop music. When I discovered sequencing software I started making music really quickly. I didn't have to read a manual, it was so natural, and I made an immediate connection. It sounds unusual but it's quite typical for those with Asperger's. It's like this little place I can go to where it's really quiet and I can just... tinker.

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Jun 23, 2014 2:50pm


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Reggie P
Jun 23, 2014 3:07pm

Cheers for this, Johnny and the Quietus. Need to have an article on that 'lost' Menswear second album surely? Strings by Sean O'Hagen. Beards.

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Jun 23, 2014 3:35pm

Yeah... good call. I'd love to hear Scott Walker cover The Killing Moon. I'm sure Ian McCulloch would be interested too.

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Jun 23, 2014 8:12pm

In reply to Reggie P:

In all fairness, having heard it, it ain't that great.

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Jun 23, 2014 9:33pm

In reply to BOOF.:

p.s. Am definitely interested in hearing their "new" stuff though, I'm a seasoned Menswear apologist with regard to their debut. :)

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F Again
Jun 23, 2014 9:46pm

You know, I have no idea who either Johnny Dean or Menswear is- I'm isolated out here in the West Texas desert- but I thoroughly enjoyed this Baker's Dozen. Gracias!

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Jun 24, 2014 8:04am

The Africa Shop is still going in Southend. I remember Johnny on the local scene, going from a long haired grunge kid with a woolly hat to a sharp dressed besuited mod in finger snapping quick time. Never liked Menswear at all but that's a pretty good list, mirroring my youthful Duran Duran and Beastie Boys fixations nicely.

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Jun 24, 2014 12:49pm

What's this guy doing here? Isn't britpop the worst thing to happen to the world in the last half of the twentieth century?

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Reggie P
Jun 24, 2014 2:24pm

In reply to BOOF.:

I quite liked some of the cuts, that Wait For The Sun is rockin' (as the kids say) and I think the first track has great strings....but yes, perhaps not the lost classic I want it to be ;)

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Jun 24, 2014 5:54pm

Not a bad list of albums, especially like the inclusion of Quiet Life, a brave choice, as no-one admits to liking Japan nowadays, yet they were massive back in the day.

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john p.
Jun 24, 2014 6:29pm

In reply to Scott:

Is that so? I still listen to Quiet Life and Tin Drum a lot. Beautiful stuff that still feels fresh nowadays (Gentleman Take Polaroids doesn't somehow...)

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Scott Sanders
Jun 25, 2014 7:50am

In reply to john p.:

I love Quiet Life, Gentlemen Take Polaroids, Tin Drum and Oil on Canvas too, and still listen to them regularly. I've also followed David Sylvian's solo career. However, Japan do not get the kudos in the media that they deserve.

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Dan Diltch
Jun 26, 2014 6:09pm

What a queef list! Rubbish.

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Jun 27, 2014 8:36pm

Good to see some love for Japan. Great band. Scott doing Killing Moon, now there`s a thought. Someone make it happen.

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