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Baker's Dozen

Beautiful Colours Everywhere: Dan Snaith Of Caribou's Favourite LPs
Joe Clay , October 30th, 2014 12:08

Deep in the middle of a worldwide tour to promote his new album Our Love, Dan Snaith takes some time to pore over his favourite albums and tells Joe Clay about "the music that I grew up with"


Madvillain - Madvillainy
Hip-hop has always been such a big thing for me, particularly hip-hop production. So many of my favourite producers growing up, and the reason why I wanted to make produced music, came from people like RZA, Premier, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Timbaland and early Neptunes, early Kanye even - and Madlib and J Dilla are both right up there. I picked these two albums [J Dilla's Donuts is also on the list] that came out on the same label and from the same scene rather than say, Illmatic, because at that point in my life there was a sense of like, no matter how much I liked Public Enemy or A Tribe Called Quest records, I was coming to them late. But I can remember Madvillainy leaking way in advance and thinking it was so exciting being there for it happening. I think it will be remembered as a classic record. I've got to know Madlib since then, which is amazing because he's an absolute hero. I'm coming to hip-hop more from a production point of view rather than listening to the MCing or the lyrics - that's because I produce music. But this is a record where the Doom part and the Madlib are so perfectly matched. It's like the greatest hits of beat producing - every track is completely insane. The way he cuts up the samples is so, so heavy! I think it's pretty much perfect. It's so eccentric. There aren't that many genres of music where eccentricity is embraced in the same way. This is a really, really weird record, but it's totally canonised as being a classic record. That's wonderful. Maybe in the same way Theo Parrish's music is - people embrace that weirdness, but there are other genres of music where they don't.

The feeling I got when I made Swim - and it was a little revelation - was that if you asked your general public person about dance music they'd say it's all the same and formulaic, there's got to be a repetitive beat and blah blah blah. But the fact that there is a kind of repetitive rhythmic element is actually quite liberating - so long as it's got that framework you can do anything else on top of it. You don't necessarily have to have something that functions as a song. And hip-hop's the same thing - so long as there's a beat that moves you, the other things around it don't really matter, you can do what you like. You can have a sample of a Pakistani singer over the top or an old soul record or even just random drum machine hits firing off all over the place - there's a crazy variety of things Madlib does when he's producing. But because it still makes your head nod, you can leave that area and be more free.