Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Addicted To Serendipity: Hayden Thorpe Of Wild Beasts’ Baker’s Dozen

As the Cumbrian quartet prepare to release their "'fuck you' to adulthood", Boy King, their singer and guitarist takes us through 13 LPs that shaped it, including Nine Inch Nails, Max Richter and Oneohtrix Point Never

Photograph courtesy of Tom Andrew

Wild Beasts left London for Dallas on the day that David Bowie died, setting off to record Boy King at the beginning of a year that has been characterised by cultural heartbreak and political turmoil. Hayden Thorpe’s home council area of South Lakelands was the only one of Cumbria’s six to vote Remain, and the net effect is that the singer wants to speak out on behalf of his values as loudly as possible.

"I really do feel it’s the prerogative and responsibility of people like myself, who are horrified, to speak as unashamedly and as unselfconsciously and as viciously as the hostile voices," he says. "I’m no longer going to be as tolerant of the quasi-racist and inhumane voices. I don’t care what bridges I burn, because my bridges are being burnt all around me, regardless.


Spending time in America has, however, offered a respite and relief from Britain’s political hokey-cokey, with Thorpe choosing to fly back and forth to Dallas simply to enjoy the city long after the band finished recording. Boy King, the band’s first album since Present Tense in 2014, was recorded with John Congleton, latterly of The Paper Chase and producer to acts such Anna Calvi and Swans, after what Thorpe affectionately calls a "long-winded flirtation".

"On album five it felt like an important point to press the ‘fuck it’ button," says Thorpe. "It was a bit of a gamble, flying to Dallas and working with a guy you’d never actually met or been in a room with. But that to me is why the record sounds like an adventure and an affirming undertaking. It was a very joyous and wholehearted experience. 

"Tom [Fleming, Wild Beasts bassist and singer] in particular is very evangelical about Swans. I think early on he was like: ‘This guy did Swans; he’s going to do Wild Beasts.’ I was more the St Vincent/David Byrne kind of line. John is the counsellor of emotion and the executioner of self-doubt. When you’re making an album about the crux of the male front, you need both those people. His studio is in an old funeral home and the live room is where the bodies used to be kept. We felt right at home there."

Boy King is out on August 5 via Domino. Wild Beasts begin a European tour at Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on July 26; for full details and tickets, head here. Click on his image below to begin scrolling through Hayden’s choices, which run in no particular order

First Record

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