Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

7. Ariel PinkBefore Today

I sometimes worry that I don’t like current music. I remember when I was thinking about today’s interview that I was so glad this is a current album. Well, actually it’s four or five years old. When I first heard this album it blew my mind – it has hit after hit. There is a conviction he has when he does things that could possibly be deemed as being cheesy or not cool and this conviction overshadows all of that and it is wholly satisfying.

I knew of him before, but it was a wonderful surprise to hear this music. You hear a song like ‘Round And Round’ and it is epic – it’s like a mini-musical with all the different parts – and everything is so intricate, be it the percussion or the different vocal parts. I think it is a masterpiece.

It was really wonderful discovering him and finding that he had a trail of all these really bizarre records that he had been doing for years. You could buy all these weird albums – he was beatboxing on some of them – and I loved generally finding out all of his history. He would tour and not turn up at gigs, or just lie on the ground and shout "I’m too ill to do this!" and leave, or he would just turn up with a bag of mixtapes and put them in a tape machine and sing karaoke.

I think there are a lot of faux eccentrics knocking around, so it is nice to find someone who is genuinely eccentric. It’s satisfying to know it comes from a real place. I was lucky enough to see him play in a church in Koreatown [in Los Angeles] about eight months ago. There is always a worry when you really love a record that a gig might not be as good. He came on stage wearing leopard-print trousers and a floral shirt and carrying a basket of flowers and told us he was Little Miss Riding Hood – it was just wholly entertaining. He is a real treasure.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Tim Burgess
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