Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

The Cure were my gateway drug – a year or two later I discovered the Legendary Pink Dots, because I had a boyfriend who was really into them. That blew my mind. It was an entirely new way of being into a band, because they weren’t well known. And the music touched me in a place that the Cure couldn’t ever dream of reaching. Part of that had to do with the intimacy and depth of Edward Ka-Spel’s songwriting, but also the fact that this was a band that no one in my high school had heard of. They were really, really special – they were my band. I became a devotee. If I could wish anything on any teenager, it’s that they could get to have a relationship with a band like that, because the Legendary Pink Dots made me so incredibly happy. I really considered them a holy band. Going to see them live was like going to church.

They’re highly underappreciated band, and I wander around proselytising them all the time. But it’s difficult to know where to start, because they have like 900 records. It’s overwhelming. I counted the amount of Pink Dots records I have, and it’s well over 50, with all the side projects and all the Edward Ka-Spel solo stuff. They’re music putter-outers.

In one life-changing experience when I was 18 or 19, I not only got to meet them, but they were staying at the house of a friend of mine and I was able to go over to the house after the show and hang with the band. It was my fantasy come true. This really is biopic stuff. I couldn’t have scripted my life any better. My friend knew I was a musician and that I had a demo tape, and he said to the Legendary Pink Dots, ‘You should hear her stuff.’ And they said, ‘Sure, put it on.’ I nearly shit myself. It was the moment of judgement. This had been my favourite band for years, I couldn’t believe I was even in the room with them, and this guy told me to go grab my demo tape so they could listen to it. It was unbelievable. So we sat there, in what was the longest ten minutes of my life, and we popped the tape in and played two songs, and they were like ‘Yeah, sounds really good.’ And then about half an hour later, I was on the porch sharing a cigarette with Edward Ka-Spel and he looked and me and said ‘You know, I think your songs are genuinely really good, and I don’t say that to everybody.’ In that moment I legitimately decided that I could do this, because I felt like I’d been given transmission from the master. That one little moment of encouragement took me so far, and I always remember that when I’m talking to my own fans.

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