The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

How Was It For You? Tim Booth Of James' Favourite Albums
John Freeman , March 31st, 2016 08:03

After the release of James' Girl At The End Of The World, lead singer Tim Booth tells John Freeman about clandestine childhood listening and the redemptive powers of Iggy Pop in choosing the LPs that "saved his life"


Underworld – 1992-2002
With the compilation albums, I am cheating. It meant I didn't know which album to choose. I sometimes DJ. When I DJ, I use a system to take people into an ecstatic trance through music. I might start with Brian Eno and some ambient music and then move to other genres. I might use classical music or Indian music. But, invariably, when I get to the third rhythm of trance and when I really want to take people into that state, I am almost forced to go to Underworld again and again.

Underworld brought together song and dance in a way that I have not heard anyone match. The Chemical Brothers are great and New Order are obviously great, but Underworld take me to a tribal edge that is so ferocious and yet, simultaneously, so intelligent. 'Rez' is one of my favourite songs – even though that is not one of their most tribal. 'Moaner' and 'Born Slippy' are their more tribal tunes. I find their textures and landscapes and vocals – which don't get in the way and help you lose yourself when you are dancing – make Underworld difficult to surpass.

I was so proud of them when they got to do the Olympics in 2012. I felt that was their due. I contacted them before the Olympics and had a lovely communication with them. I told them that I thought they were the most revolutionary and iconoclastic band of the last 20 years. Then, about a year later, Danny Boyle used them during the opening ceremony.

I saw them play recently at the Hollywood Bowl and I danced so much that I badly twisted my ankle and couldn't walk for about two weeks. It was still worth it. Dancing injuries are to be worn like medals of honour.