Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

13. PJ HarveyThe Hope Six Demolition Project

I think The Hope Six Demolition Project and Let England Shake are this two pronged attack which is utterly perfect, entirely relevant and so important to be releasing this late into her career. I’d listened to Let England Shake a lot, and I felt PJ Harvey had changed so drastically with that record, and The Hope Six follows on from that so beautifully. I remember hearing ‘The Ministry of Defence’ and calling Dean [Richardson, Rattlesnakes guitarist] saying, ‘Have you heard the new PJ Harvey? How are we going to release our album now? She’s written a dirtier record than we could ever do.’

It’s amazing to see someone with that history in music release something that relevant, here’s an artist who’s so deep into her career and I think it’s one of the greatest records she’s made. She’s definitely an inspiration; I think any artist writing at the minute would be foolish to not include some of the tragedies we’re witnessing in the world. As artists we have a platform and a responsibility to talk about things that matter. They matter to me and they clearly matter to her as well. I find it incredibly frustrating that [more artists aren’t addressing issues]. Either say something important or fuck off, essentially.

Someone said a long time ago that stupidity was more of a problem than evil. Evil can be fought against, it can be revealed to be what it is, you can see it and name it and rally against it. Stupidity is much more dangerous because it allows evil to grow and breed and become the norm; you can’t reason with a stupid person. I think when I see bands that aren’t writing about anything important or releasing music that has no importance to them, I’m not trying to be overly political with my new record, it’s a record about human relationships, but it was important for me to include [some political themes] because it’s what’s surrounded me for the last couple of years. We’ll see who’s got the courage.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: John Parish,

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