2013 Aritist Survey: Anna Meredith | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2013 Aritist Survey: Anna Meredith

The Scottish Composer and Performer on Gross Birthday Cake, Reciting DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and Her Favorite Word

Feb 11, 2014 Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar‘s 11th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the important issues of the last year, as well as some quirkier subjects. Check out our next print issue and digital issue for surveys from My Morning Jacket, Foals, Amanda Palmer, Local Natives, Wild Nothing, These New Puritans, Lanterns on the Lake, Xiu Xiu, and Summer Camp.

Here are answers from Scottish composer and performer Anna Meredith. Meredith’s Jet Black Raider EP is out now on Moshi Moshi.

Top 8 Albums of 2013

It’s recently dawned on me when I listen to music it totally clouds my writing. I listen to shamefully little new music, so the following are some of the few that have smashed their way through my compo defenses or some kind of pal was involved:

1. Oliver Coates: Towards the Blessed Islands-The brilliant cellist Olly Coates has just realized this album of beautifully curated and played tracks, including a gorgeous piece by Laurence Crane, a mesmeric chord fuzz by my pal Larry Goves and one of my favorite pieces by David Fennessy called “The Room is the Resonator.”

2. Dutch Uncles: Out of Touch, In the Wild-Wink-Wonk at its best.

3. James Blake: Overgrown-Maybe it doesn’t quite have the impact of the first album, but I think “Retrograde” and “Our Love Comes Back” are brilliant tracks.

4. Oh My Goodness: Oh My Goodness-This 8-track EP was written by a friend-of-a-friend duo. I was in the middle of a really busy patch but dropped everything to do a wee remix for them because I thought the EP was so ace.

5. Teleman: “Cristina”-This is just a single song by my label-mates Teleman, but it’s a brilliant song. Perfectly paced and judged. Can’t wait for the album [this] year.

6. Various Artists: The Outer Church (Compilation)-Perhaps cheating, as I’ve got a track on this, but it’s a brilliant, weird, and unsettling compilation.

7. Neil Gaiman: The Ocean at the End of the Lane- Perhaps also cheating, as it’s an audio book, but I listen to a lot of audio books (instead of music) and this creepy tale is read brilliantly by Neil-gave me shivers.

8. Emily Hall: Befalling- Emily Hall is one of my oldest friends, and she is the composer/songwriter who released this album of disarmingly simple and clear songs, sung beautifully by Mara Carlyle.

What was the highlight of 2013, either for you personally or for the band?

My brother had twins? Hurrah! Very proud aunt! Too personal? Okay-I snuck onstage and played stealth tambourine during The Stranglers’ performance of “Golden Brown” at 6 Music Prom.

What was the low point of 2013 for you?

Losing weeks (okay, days) of work by overwriting files and despite the “it’ll be better when you redo it” words of comfort, it definitely wasn’t.

What are your hopes and plans for 2014?

Oh, you know, write an album, be a better person, explore exotic lands, do some gigs, grow hair, do more, procrastinate less…

What are your thoughts on the passing of Lou Reed? Did his music influence you at all and in what way?

I was sad to hear the news, though couldn’t claim to be a massive fan. Perhaps it’s more honest to say I admired him for the experimentation and constantly pushing himself. I also take any opportunity to drop into conversation that my first-ever gig was The Velvet Underground when I was 14. Having said that, I didn’t know any of their songs and was baffled as to why everyone was outside drinking and not listening to them (my first experience of “the support act”).

What are your thoughts on Obamacare, now that it’s being implemented?

Makes me realize how lucky we are with the NHS and how much need to fight to hang on to it.

Do bad reviews bother you and which negative review has affected you the most?

I try not to read bad reviews, but it can be hard when they’re just sitting there, being all “existy.” I wrote a piece for the Last Night of the Proms which was seen by 40 million people and got predictably loads of really horrible emails/blogs (“you’re everything that’s wrong with music…and society!”) and even some actual physical hatemail which I wish I’d kept because of the sheer amount of effort someone had gone to!

What is your favorite word and why?

I’m a big fan of “wheesht” (nice Scottish word meaning “shut it”), because it’s most satisfying to say.

What was the first R-rated (17+) movie you remember seeing and how old were you?

Rocky Horror Picture Show! Me and my 13-year-old pals were big fans.

What’s the weirdest/grossest thing you’ve ever eaten?

A friend’s birthday cake had a racing car on top that I’m 90% sure was made of wax. Didn’t stop me chomping it down.

Which lyric written by someone else do you most quote?

I can do the whole “Boom! Shake the Room” [by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince] rap, if that counts?



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