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Baker's Dozen

Brain Food: Pete Fowler's Favourite Psychedelic Albums
Robin Turner , September 22nd, 2016 09:32

Before he brings his virtual-reality installation to the Liverpool Psych Fest this weekend, the Super Furry Animals collaborator and Monsterism creator takes Robin Turner on a tour of his 13 most out-there records

Pete Fowler has lived, breathed and drawn psychedelia for his whole adult life. As a musician, he is one half of the Cymru-Kernow yacht-rock cosmonauts Seahawks. As a DJ, he can regularly be found behind the decks in clubs and bars exploring the outer regions of disco in an ongoing attempt to find the sweet spot where Loft Classics go fully interstellar. And as an artist, he created the ultra-vivid visual world that surrounds Super Furry Animals (and much of the solo work of Gruff Rhys).

Set in a white breezeblock box in one of the few unreconstructed parts of Brick Lane, Fowler's studio is a shrine to his music and art. Portraits of disco gods vie for space with Monsterism toys; an incredibly ornate totemic carving for the 2 Bears' Raf Rundell sits in front of a paint-splattered easel. Music plays constantly, regularly moving from low hum to stop-everything-and-dance volume.

"I find it weird working without music. It feels like something's missing. I always work alone, so it's company, and it's also there to turbocharge things if I'm flagging. I've got go-to music if I'm doing certain things. I'm either sat in front of the computer illustrating, painting or doing woodcarvings. If I'm on a crazy deadline, the music is loud and upbeat. If I'm painting, I'll listen to something New Age. By default it influences my work. I can look at a piece years later and remember the music that was playing when I made it."

Fowler is currently – frantically – putting the finishing touches to his immersive installation piece for the upcoming Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia. Needless to say, the commission has hugely affected his studio soundtrack. "I think it's a really natural thing. I'm doing this really fucked-up work; I'm going to listen to fucked-up, out-there music. I've always been influenced by psychedelic music in my work… in my life really," he says.

Taking time out for a pint in the local (Cereal Killer, a mildly psychedelic breakfast beer from Welsh brewery Tiny Rebel), Pete talks through his much fretted-over list of favourite psychedelic albums.

"Putting this list of records together was incredibly hard as a vast amount of my record collection is on the psych spectrum, as it were. That could be Joe Meek or more modern stuff like Tame Impala, techno records, heavy Moroder productions. Anything that takes you out there works for me. Really, the best psychedelic music is brain food."

Perambulator v.1, Pete Fowler's virtual-reality collaboration with the Super Furry Animals' Huw Bunford and Draw&Code, supported by Arts Council England, is at the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia, which runs tomorrow and Saturday; for full details and tickets, head here. Click on his image below to begin scrolling through Pete's choices, which run in no particular order