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Baker's Dozen

Beat Codes: Spoek Mathambo's Favourite Albums
Lior Phillips , August 30th, 2017 12:23

Spoek Mathambo gives Lior Phillips a tour of his record collection, crossing continents between the music of his South African homeland, American rap, and British new wave


The Smiths - The Smiths
I found this later in life thanks to a friend of mine, who has now passed away. I took a roadtrip with her, when we were shooting a commercial. It was an advert for Cell C [mobile operator company], where we were supposed to be three friends travelling around the country. This was about 2003, and through having to act as friends we actually became really good friends. We were driving around to all these different places in a really old car with a tape deck, so she made these cassettes. There was one cassette we listened to many, many, times. That cassette was the first time I heard the Stranglers, the Smiths, the Clash, Joy Division. It was one sixty-minute cassette jam-packed with many great bands. I like Morrissey's sense of humour. I like the way he writes; he's so melodramatic, but very funny.

But also, as a young man, The Smiths and The Cure allow you to tap into another kind of masculinity, sometimes a real vulnerability that isn't hinged on "my baby left me." That's not really what he's talking about. It's really androgynous, very soft in a lot of ways. And it's also very cryptic, you know? It's taken me a long time to understand some of these songs. Even after these ten or so years, I have to read the lyrics, and it's like, "Oh, he wasn't saying that, he was saying that."