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Baker's Dozen

Unknown Pleasures At 40: Our Favourite Artists On Joy Division's Debut
Patrick Clarke , June 14th, 2019 06:42

As Joy Division's still-staggering debut album turns 40, we present a Baker's Dozen of Baker's Dozens featuring artists and writers who picked Unknown Pleasures among their favourites of all time


Brix Smith Start, The Extricated/The Fall

“I first heard this in the States during my first year at college and I got OCD and never stopped listening to it. I become completely obsessed with it. I think this is the album that made me want to play bass. It made me sit up and say, 'I want to be in a band.'

“It spoke to me on so many levels and it really resonated with me and the age I was and what I was going through. It was the darkness of the sound and the hypnotic-ness of the sound and the repetition and the way the melody worked with the bass-lines. And also the way the bass was played as a melodic instrument which is something that Steve Hanley does, too. Hooky and Hanley are my two favourite bassists. And Adam Clayton from U2 as well.

“I love it when a bassline works really well with a melody; that's a weird sonic glue and a great recipe for writing a song is writing the melody with the bass-line. It's a really interesting sandwich that brings all the vibrations into alignment. It's like a harmonic conversion, a beautiful horizon of sound. That's what Joy Division is to me.

“When I came to The Fall I was a bass player. And of course, Mark was like, 'We don't need a bass player' but he said that I played guitar like Lou Reed. I said, 'are you joking?' and he was like, 'no, I mean it.' It was all about style and attitude. Technically I'm not a good guitar player - y'know, Jeff Beck I'm not – but I am a great guitar player because I have whole different vibe. When I play, you know it's me. Mark was right but I didn't have the confidence to realise that then; it took a long time. Anyway, I was a bass player and this is the album why.”

Photo by Amelia Troubridge