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Baker's Dozen

Death Before Silence: Ed Harcourt's Favourite Albums
Wyndham Wallace , March 4th, 2013 06:44

Singer, songwriter, pianist and all-round bon viveur Ed Harcourt talks to Wyndham Wallace about his favourite records


Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral
I had to choose something industrial. I’m still an angry child. I just wanted to tap into my inner emo, my inner industrial emo. I was 17 when this came out: the perfect time. The thing about The Downward Spiral is I actually got into it through the Natural Born Killers soundtrack, which is a tour de force. It’s a really amazing soundtrack. The film’s terrible, but the soundtrack’s really fucking good and weird and diverse. There’s a couple of Nine Inch Nails tracks on there – I think ‘A Warm Place’, which is an ambient instrumental.

I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Nine Inch Nails. I don’t know why. I remember playing Quake with my brother, and I was like “Fuck! Nine Inch Nails did the music for Quake!” and I was sitting down in Sussex with my four-track trying to make weird industrial music that sounded like the Quake video game music when I was really young.

Flood worked on it, and he’s working on my next record, and the reason why I put that in the Baker’s Dozen is because there are elements on my next record that are almost industrial. I’m recording sounds of gates creaking, and fireworks on November 5th, and distorting them all to make them into rhythm tracks. And Flood said, “when we were making The Downward Spiral, Trent would just sit there and play the songs on the piano, and once he’d done that, once I felt like the songs were ready, we would discuss how we were going to completely fuck them up. So there would be this song that sounded like a ballad on the piano, but then eventually we’d end up having the sound of pigs being killed in an abattoir as the rhythm track, or something horrible.” So it’s almost been like homework, I suppose, going back to it and listening to it a little bit. And it’s one of the reasons why I have to make my next record with Flood.