“There’s no such thing as guilty pleasures, innit. Just pleasures.” With a new charity compilation out now on his Me Me Me imprint, Man Power runs us through his formative musical moments.
What’s the first record you ever bought?
The first two 7-inch records I remember owning were Roland Rat’s ‘The Rat Rap’ and Stu Francis – ‘Ooh I Could Crush a Grape’. I’m not sure how suitable these are for the Attack target audience though. Other early records I actually remember buying were Empire Jazz (which is an amazing album of jazz covers of the Empire Strikes Back OST by Ron Carter – I bought it ’cause of the cover when I was a kid, but it’s amazing music now I’m an adult) and pop compilations like the early editions of the Now That’s What I Call Music, and another one called Chart Wars (which again was to do with the cover having people with lightsabers on it).
The first time you remember hearing electronic music?
The first time I heard the term house was watching Going Live, a kids’ TV programme on a Saturday morning. They were interviewing the act Krush about their track ‘House Arrest’. It’s blatantly not house, but I guess they were happy to play along with the hype. After that I have distinct memories of my mother’s then-boyfriend sitting me down in front of the hi-fi and playing 808 State – ‘Pacific State’ on tape and pronouncing that this was house music and it was going to change the world. That probably sounds more portentous than it actually was though, as he made a similar claim about Digital Underground’s ‘Humpty Dance’ and hump music about a year later. He was just a bit like that. My mother is pretty young, and was a participant in the acid house scene in the late 80s, so I was pretty much surrounded by a lot of the nascent electronic club sounds from an early age to be honest.
Your favourite ever record?
Assuming all the usual caveats about this being an impossible question to answer, I’m gonna arbitrarily pick Robert Wyatt – ‘Shipbuilding’ today. Although it’s such an arbitrary choice I can’t even say if I prefer this version to Elvis Costello’s. Never mind. I can confidently state that either are my actual favourite record.
The guaranteed floor-filler?
Argoman – ‘Chimicallissimo’ is doing this at the moment. It’s a slow build, but by the second drop people are losing their shit.
The guilty pleasure?
There’s no such thing as guilty pleasures, innit. Just pleasures. A track that people might be surprised I love is Amerie – ‘One Thing’ though.
The last track of the night?
I’ve fallen in to a trap of sneaking on David Bowie – ‘Fame’ when the lights come up since he died. I’m just realising that was quite a while ago now, so I should probably revise this actually.
The best chillout record?
Stevie Wonder – Secret Life of Plants.
The record everyone loves but you hate?
Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello Wave Goodbye.’
The best record for a family party?
It’s all Spotify playlists these days, but I guess something fun like Creedence Clearwater Revival’s All Time Hits.
The soundtrack to a lazy Sunday afternoon?
Chet Baker – Chet Baker Sings.
The worst record you’ve ever heard?
Just pick any popular modern country and western album. It’s the only genre I really think is utterly shit. I love some old country stuff, but the modern stuff is rank.
The record you’re proudest of?
Tough one! I’m a believer in looking forward, so I’m gonna say my forthcoming Correspondant EP thats out in June. It has a 14-minute track on it, and I’m proud of myself for being so wilfully self-indulgent if nothing else.
The future classic?
Autarkic’s debut album I Love You Go Away from last year. If there’s such a thing as justice in the music industry he should go massive and when he does people will start to look at this properly. It’s amazing.
Man Power’s Me Me Me label proudly presents a very special new compilation, We We We, which will see all profits donated to the vital Help Refugees charity. The album is out May 4th, featuring tracks from artists including Juan Maclean, Medlar and Shit Robot. Find Man Power on Facebook and SoundCloud.