The Album That Changed Everything (Winter 2018)

ATCE Winter 2018
ATCE Winter 2018

The Album That Changed Everything feature in the Winter 2018 edition of Songwriting Magazine

Some of our favourite past Songwriting interviewees reveal the seminal albums that have inspired them the most over the years


Rage Against The Machine
Rage Against The Machine (Epic, 1992)

“A friend of mine had an older brother who knew how to get things. One day at school this friend told me his brother had brought home an illegal VHS copy of a film called The Matrix that wasn’t out in cinemas yet. When the final credits rolled, and Wake Up started playing, something clicked. I remember going to my local HMV where you could, ‘Try before you buy’ using listening posts… when the main riff of Bombtrack kicked in my life changed. It would lead me to metal, which then would lead me to prog, to jazz; to a thousand new places.”


Milk Man (Kill Rock Stars, 2004)

“I was introduced to it in college by a friend. The album cover drew me in, and it seemed to match what I heard in the music. A balance between feeling unsettling but also familiar. Cartoonish, meandering rhythms. Blown-out guitar tones. Even though the songs contain some amount of chaos, it still felt like thoughtful pop music. They tracked the album themselves, on three computers at the same time to get around the limitations of using free recording software. This was inspiring as I was just starting to learn about home recording.”


The Score (Columbia, 1996)

“It would have to be The Score by Fugees. At the time it was just so fresh; the concept of the album, the samples they used, the cover songs they chose and having Lauren Hill who was just this amazing rapper who also had this silky voice. It was a hip hop album but I think it was just a moment for everyone and it had such an impact on music in general because it took so many chances. It totally went out on a limb and had all these really great instruments and fresh keyboard sounds that nobody had heard yet and it was just such a milestone.”


White Pony (Maverick, 2000)

“There’s probably a thousand albums that have changed my life, but with White Pony I remember listening to the previews on Radio 1, taping them and desperately waiting to immerse myself in that album. There’s a mix of beauty and aggression, energy and sadness, and all these different emotions in there. It could have really odd poetic bits as well, in some of the ways that Chino Moreno, the lyricist, approaches things – they’re just so left field. Like the first song, Feiticeira, which is about his girlfriend kidnapping him and putting him in the boot of a car!”


Dummy (Go! Discs, 1994)

“Portishead’s first album, for me and Sam [Hardaker, Zero 7 co-founder], was enormous. Because, up until that point, it was hip hop then house and we were all into that stuff, but nobody had fused songs with the beats like that in such a successful way. That was a game-changer for us. There was something different about that sound. We were in Spain, where me and Sam used to labour over these compilation cassettes. He played me one of their songs and I was blown away by it. I’ll never forget that, actually, it does remind of those hills in Almerial.”


OK Computer (Parlophone, 1997)

“I’d never heard anything like it and I think every single song on there is an extraordinary composition. It’s so masterful and so emotional, and just completely incredible. It was mindblowing to me at such a young age. I was sitting on the floor of my living room and my friend had made me a tape or lent me the cassette of the album. I didn’t stop listening to it for days. I think we’re influenced by everything we listen to, and something so well constructed as that makes you think about how it’s composed and why.”

Read the rest of The Album That Changed Everything feature, along with more artist interviews, news, tips, reviews and gear in Songwriting Magazine Winter 2018

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