Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

5. PixiesBossanova

I like their other records, but I think Bossanova is easily the Pixies’ best record. In the last couple of years I’ve gotten to be friends with their guitar player, Joey Santiago, and I asked him about this album. He told me, “That’s my favourite, that’s the best Pixies record.” It’s weird because I never hear anyone talk about that record with them, it’s always, always, the earlier ones and this kind of gets missed. I think those earlier ones are good, but this record is where they really perfected exactly what they were doing.

I’d heard the other records, but I actually bought this one around the time it came out. I was just like, ‘Oh, check this out’ and that soon turned to ‘Oh my fucking god, this is the best fucking record they ever did!’ I just have never heard one single person say that and I don’t know why: it seems weird to me why it isn’t as valued as the others.

It sounds the best because it’s got way better means of production than their earlier ones. The other ones just sound boxy and normal. This is linear, and you can hear how they thought about how to make it sound good, effectively live in a studio.

When you first started recording with Melvins, did you try to emulate certain ways of production like this as you were finding your way?

Interestingly, we were working with this guy, Toshi Kasai, we were probably still working with him in the early 90s actually. He said we were the only band he’d ever worked with that didn’t bring other records in and say, ‘This is what we want to sound like’. We didn’t do any of that. We just started recording and we didn’t want to sound like this or that band, we didn’t do any of that. I’ve heard of lots of other bands doing that but to me it just seemed ridiculous. Most bands tend to overthink it, which is too bad, because nobody gives a fuck about that…you have to do your own thing.

When you met the other guys and were able to share your love of music finally after the issues you had growing up, that must have been a great moment.

Completely. I met guys that were open-minded to the idea of what I was into, but they didn’t know anything about that stuff. Nothing. Eclectic music for most of the people I was around was Led Zeppelin. I love that stuff, but I was into so much more than that. It was tough. I lived in a small town, a long way away from any big city and I had a hard time. I hated it. I hated everything about it. It was not fun for a person like me there.

[With the Melvins] we bonded over tons of things, I couldn’t pick a single one because we realised we liked all kinds of things, we’re all over the map. It didn’t matter to me if it was arena rock or punk rock but I veered more towards punk rock because I like the intimacy of it, and I liked going to places that were much better to enjoy a show than an arena, you know?

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: British Sea Power
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