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Baker's Dozen

Moments In The Sun: Nite Jewel's Favourite Albums
The Quietus , November 24th, 2021 12:07

Nite Jewel takes us through the albums that inspired her latest record No Sun, from Miles Davis to Cluster, via digressions on the importance of bad karaoke and Nietzschean philosophy


Broadcast – Tender Buttons

What brought you to Broadcast? I’ve previously joked that they’re kind of like a bargain basement English Stereolab, but maybe I’m ungenerous…

It’s not something I listen to a lot now, but when I was in college this was just, like, a huge influence on me. At the time it just felt so new, all the distortion, all the blending of rock elements, electronic elements, the greediness of all the different instruments, I was just like, ‘oh wow’. I still think it’s pretty amazing the way that they produced the record. But then also I think it’s the melodies. I saw them perform once, just [Trish Keenan], she was so low-key cool. She also played her keyboard to the side, and played with her right hand, and I adopted this for a long time, I thought that this was an amazing technique. But really it’s all about her melodies, and really that was a huge influence on me, just in terms of how she constructed melodies, over the instruments.

Do you think that music that you listen to when you’re young – regardless of the quality – does just end up playing an outsize role in the sort of things that you enjoy musically?

Oh are you kidding?! So Broadcast was in college, but the stuff I listened to in high school, I loved, like Le Tigre. When I was in elementary school, I listened to Alanis Morissette, every single R&B CD available, I had a CD Booklet with like every single R&B band - good or bad - that was coming out at the time, every Backstreet record, every TLC record, but I also had some bargain basement R&B records where you don’t even remember who these people are. When I was young you couldn’t just listen to, like, ten thousand albums. You’d get like five and just listen to them over and over again. So you’re right - it didn’t matter what the quality was!

I read that you’d written some papers on Lana Del Rey… What draws you to these brooding women?

Broadcast isn’t as melancholy, but I do think there’s a bit of darkness in that music. Maybe it’s being from Birmingham, the sound of being from that city. I always identified with singers who didn’t give you emotions that are straight out there, there’s always some irony or double meaning. That always connected with me. I think it may be because I was brooding, I was sad, I was melancholy, I’ve always been that way. I’ve always felt that the world is sort of like we’re one step away from falling into this never-ending black abyss, you know? That which is like standing on the edge, you know. Total chaos or nothingness. And so I loved artists who are sort of aware of that, aware of that inevitability… maybe it’s an existential inevitability we are touching on.