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Baker's Dozen

Stir My Teenage Soul: Karl 'Regis' O'Connor's Favourite LPs
Luke Turner , July 1st, 2020 08:47

Karl O'Connor guides Luke Turner through the 13 teenage hits that made him Regis, with tales of smelling like a badger on the mail train to Brum and what happens when you get a member of Einstürzende Neubauten the wrong gravel on the way

Karl O’Connor’s Baker’s Dozen stinks of sweat and leather, lager tins with a ringpull that comes all the way off, German import cigs bought from a lorry driver behind a Black Country pub, the anxious musk of a teenage bedroom and the meaty hum of an indoor market. Whereas most Baker’s Dozen interviews we run on The Quietus tend to be a carefully balanced and curated list designed to make the respondent seem as broadly-listened person as possible, O’Connor has stuck with the records that made the biggest difference to him as a teenager. Even though as Regis he made his name with harsh Birmingham techno in the 90s, I’ve always suspected that O’Connor always wanted to be Marc Almond, rather than Jeff Mills, and his excellent recent album Hidden in This Is the Light That You Miss (and forthcoming ‘man acts the pop star in an ancient theatre’ film Let The Night Return), seem to give credence to that view, as does this list. Drawn largely from the Mute Records and Some Bizarre labels, and certainly aesthetic, these are records of heavy electro, nocturnal adventures, masculinity straight and queer expressed with punishing rhythm and noise.

This Baker’s Dozen is a bloody-minded testimony to where Regis began: "People edit themselves to look like they've got such a wide taste and embrace so much in music, saying 'oh this jazz record' - it's not, it's from your dad's record collection,” O’Connor says. “What I've tried to do is be completely honest. It's very specific to what I loved. My choices are so closely related because I experienced them in real time, one led to the other and so on, there just wasn't the resources to research and fine tune and edit your influences back then and besides it felt like it was happening now and it belonged to me.

“It was very defined back then, you could like The Specials or Dexy's, but you couldn't like Adam & The Ants - you were called a poseur and then it was knuckle time. Not that my choices represent that, but it's important for my own personal trajectory, of how I got into music and wanted to make music, rather than me trying to show off my skills as a music head, which I'm not at all. I've lived with all of these records for over 35 years, some nearly 40 and none of them have diminished in their power to stir my inner teenage soul."

Click the image of Karl O’Connor below to begin reading his Baker’s Dozen selection, Hidden in This Is the Light That You Miss is out now on Downwards

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