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Baker's Dozen

Bristol Fashion: Mark Stewart Of The Pop Group's 13 Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , March 22nd, 2012 06:44

Julian Marszalek talks to post punk agitator Mark Stewart about 13 favourite albums


Mark Stewart – The Politics Of Envy

It’s not that I’m trying to plug this; it’s just that this has been what I’ve been listening to lately more than anything else. And the point is, I make stuff for me as a fan otherwise there’d be no point in doing this.

Was it a conscious decision to guest with rock & roll dissenters such as Eve Libertine, Bobby Gillespie and Gina Birch on this album? No. All I know is that this is like a travelogue of people that I’ve kind of bumped into. Dan from The Pop Group who I’ve got playing guitar on the live stuff said to me the other day, “Mark, what I’ve always liked about you is that you’ve got the nerve to go up and talk to Allen Ginsberg or Sun Ra.” But it’s not like a conscious thing. Instead of using samples or whatever I use people that I know in a kind of montage.

With other people, like Keith Levene, I really wanted to get him playing again and I love his company. For me, he’s the lost legend of English punk. The guy is magical. He hasn’t played music for ages. I made friends with Keith years ago on the day Elvis died. I met him outside the Marquee and I didn’t even know who he was. He’s more punk than any of us.

I’m encouraged to hear voices [of dissent] in German hip-hop, Spanish hip-hop, Burmese music… I hear radical voices everywhere. For me, a bass line is radical. The macroeconomics of how people run their own businesses and how they speak to each other doesn’t have to be in words. The things that inspire me and that I find challenging are weird sounds; they don’t have to be verbal. I’m stuck with the thing of writing the lyrics. For me, it’s poetry. I’m just mixing in some poetry and writing about what comes into my vision, whether it’s Burma, whether it’s weird voices or spiritualism. The lyrics are just things that I find interesting during the course of the day. For me, I’m finding with the Occupy movement, indigenous resistance and stuff that’s happening in Burma, things are very fertile for lyric writing. I think it’s a very hopeful time and this thing of looking back at old models is over. I don’t think we can judge the future with by looking to the past.