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2021 Roundup

We’ve had a productive year; during this post-lockdown transition period we’ve still released six striking new titles: Ben Cardew’s Daft Punk’s Discovery, Harold Heath’s Long Relationships, Paul Turzulli’s & Eddie Otechre’s Who Say Reload, Nick Sadler’s The Label Machine, Trevor Miller’s Trip City and Ian Helliwell’s Tape Leaders.

While Covid is far from over, 2021 has at least seemed like the start of a new chapter with the steady re-opening of clubs, book shops and record stores. We spoke to our 2021 roster for a debrief on what they’ve been up to and what they’re excited for in 2022, as well as what they’ve been reading, writing and listening to. From composer/DJ extraordinaire Floating Points’ album collaboration with saxophonist Pharoah Sanders to the high-tempo jungle-footwork selections of Sherelle, our authors have got some great recommendations.

 

Ben Cardew
Ben Cardew
BEN CARDEW

2021 has been another bizarre year, do you have any reflections on it?

It was slightly better than 2020, I guess! The very gradual re-opening of the world has made me appreciate old freedoms.

What did you appreciate most about some Covid-19 restrictions being eased?

Getting the hell out of my flat. In Spain you could literally only leave your flat to go shopping and empty the bins. The return of live music was lovely too.

What have you been reading?

I really enjoyed two music titles: Eamonn Forde’s The Final Days of EMI: Selling the Pig and Jeremy Allen’s Relax Baby Be Cool plus Adam Higginbotham’s astounding Midnight in Chernobyl – on which the HBO series is based. The one other stand out has been Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, which is utterly devastating!

What have you been watching?

Big Little Lies! What a fantastic web of concoction.

What have you been listening to?

Bits of everything. I think my album of the year would be the Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders collaboration. I’ve listened to lots of jazz and jazz-related things.

Have you been listening to any podcasts, audiobooks or radio shows?

Dear Joan and Jericha. Always and forever.

Which websites have you used the most?

Pitchfork! Radio Primavera Sound! (Self-promotion…)

Did you find any new, lasting interests over the various lockdowns?

This kind of question doesn’t really apply to parents, I find.

What have you been doing the most?

Napping.

Have you found any new sources of inspiration or creativity over the last year?

Waking up early with a bee in my bonnet.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

More naps!

 

Harold Heath
Harold Heath
HAROLD HEATH

2021 has been another bizarre year, do you have any reflections on it?

Obviously, 2021 was dominated by Covid, Brexit and a government so awful that when you say Satan’s name three times in the mirror they appear, put shit in your water and ruin everything. Like everyone else I’ve been somewhat worn down by it all. Personally, my first book was published in 2021 so I, at least, had some good news. The book was very well received so I was able to stop worrying about it and start showing off about it, something I very much enjoyed.

What did you appreciate most about some Covid-19 restrictions being eased?

With over 200 new cases a day and one in five of new cases in the world being in the UK at the time of writing, not much I’m afraid.

What have you been reading this year?

Rave Diaries & Tower Block Tales by Uncle Dugs with Andrew Woods; My Story by Bobby Womack; Night Moves by Jessica Hopper; Relax Baby Be Cool by Jeremy Allen; Synthesiser Evolution by Oli Freke; Mars By 1980 by David Stubbs and You’re History by Lesley Chow. I’m also currently reading: Renegade Snares by Ben Murphy & Carl Loben; The Music Instinct by Phillip Ball and Vinyl Countdown by Graham Sharpe.

What have you been listening to?

It’s been an amazing year for albums, so much so I almost feel like it would be fine if everyone took a few months off releasing any more albums so I can just really get to know all the great stuff that’s come out this year: The Paradox, Jeff Mills and Jean Phi Dary – Counter Active, Emma-Jean Thackray – Mercury, Joy Orbison – Still Slippin’ vol. 1, Cleo Sol – Mother, Saint Etienne – I’ve Been Trying To Tell You, Lou Hayter – Private Sunshine, Nala Sinephro – Space 1.8, Georgia Anne Muldrow – VWETO III, Baltra – Ambition, Downstairs J – Basement Etc, Sunjunkie – Two Decades, Ross From Friends – Tread, Post Human – Requiem For A Rave, Nightmares on Wax – Shout out! To Freedom, Eris Drew – Quivering In Time.

What have you been playing?

The Battle of Polytopia. A couple of years ago my son introduced my wife and me to this little phone game. He has since moved on to other games, but both me and my wife became addicted to this ridiculous kids phone game and still play it. You’re a tribe of little beings battling other little beings for supremacy of a little land, a task that is strangely engrossing. Highly recommend it.

Have you been listening to any podcasts, audiobooks or radio shows?

If I drive anywhere with my family, we listen to podcasts as a kind of neutral listening option that everyone can agree on. We’ve enjoyed James Acaster’s Perfect Sounds, The Adam Buxton Podcast, In Writing and Versus History.

Which websites have you used the most?

Well, Twitter mostly. I find myself on whosampled.com and discogs.com a lot for work, they’re both super useful. Radio Garden is brilliant too, it’s a global radio station, you can go anywhere on the planet and listen to their local radio, it’s genuinely amazing.

Did you find any new, lasting interests over the various lockdowns?

No. I discovered that my strategy of not keeping crisps in the house to avoid overeating crisps was really effective and since we often got food delivered over lockdown and had crisps in the house, long story short, I’ve been eating more crisps. Not sure that counts as a new interest.

What have you been doing the most?

Eating crisps. Reading. Writing. Exercising, mainly out of boredom.

Have you found any new sources of inspiration or creativity over the last year?

Crisps.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

Well, ideally I’d like the pandemic to be over, the NHS, nightlife, and the national sense of reasonableness to all miraculously recover and the people to rise up in a popular revolution against the Tories, seizing the means of production and ushering in a new utopian age of peace, love, drugs, sex and music.

 

Trevor Miller
Trevor Miller

TREVOR MILLER

2021 has been another bizarre year, do you have any reflections on it?

The only good thing about ‘lockdown’ for a writer IS – in the end, you have to write new work…

What did you appreciate most about some Covid-19 restrictions being eased?

I could come to the UK for the launch of Trip City with Colin Steven from Velocity Press and A Guy Called Gerald at House Of St. Barnabas.

Have you picked up anything interesting in any book/record shops since they’ve reopened?

Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood, Faust by Goethe, and Promised Land by Joe Smooth on 12” from the Out Of the Closet ‘charity shop’ on Hollywood Boulevard.

What have you been reading this year?

Headlines.

What have you been watching?

I binged Mythomaniac on Netflix and re-runs of Succession on HBO.

What have you been listening to?

Grinderman, Classic Latin Hip-Hop like KD FROST, House Music from ‘88/’89 and A Guy Called Gerald.

What have you been playing with?

Lots of podcast scripts that I’ve been writing. I’ve been refining how to write narration that has maximum emotional appeal and connection.

Have you been to any standout DJ sets since clubs started to reopen?

A Guy Called Gerald at BOTH Trip City Launch events in London and Manchester.

Have you been listening to any podcasts, audiobooks or radio shows?

Michael Des Barres filling in for Little Steven in Little Steven’s Underground Garage on Sirius Radio.

Which websites have you used the most?

IMDBpro.

Did you find any new, lasting interests over the various lockdowns?

Restoring vintage leather goods.

What have you been doing the most?

Writing a new scripted drama and working on various other projects.

Have you found any new sources of inspiration or creativity over the last year?

Revisiting older work like Trip City helps me reconnect to ’the source’, like Bodhi surfing in Point Break.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

Seeing some new long term projects actually being produced and hearing actors saying the dialogue.

Any favourite podcasts?

Blackout with Rami Malek.

 

Eddie Otchere
Eddie Otchere
EDDIE OTCHERE

2021 has been another bizarre year, do you have any reflections on it?

I can honestly say there was nothing this year had to say that surprised me. Far from being bizarre, it was like all the years since 9/11. Another year living under the Babylon system.

What did you appreciate most about some Covid-19 restrictions being eased?

The trains were so much better empty. Now I have to deal with the great unwashed. Yes. I was so much happier knowing these savages were locked away in their homes.

Have you picked up anything interesting in any book/record shops since they’ve reopened?

The fact is, all my favourite shops are gone. I would’ve loved to spend another day with Jean Claude at Soho’s If Music, if I could though.

What have you been reading this year?

Sun Ra’s The Immeasurable Equation.

What have you been watching?

Jesse Armstrong’s series for HBO, Succession.

What have you been listening to?

Moodymann – Sinnerman.

What equipment have you been playing with?

LSD.

Have you been to any standout DJ sets since clubs started to reopen?

Alas, no… But if I did it’d be Sherrelle.

Have you been listening to any podcasts, audiobooks or radio shows?

I hate radio. There’s nothing more annoying than someone interrupting music.

Did you find any new, lasting interests over the various lockdowns?

I have been wilding the garden. It’s been nice ignoring it for a whole year.

What have you been doing the most?

Reaching higher states of consciousness.

Have you found any new sources of inspiration or creativity over the last year?

Microdosing acid and edibles have made this year truly creative.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

Magic mushrooms and chocolate edibles.

Any favourite podcasts?

Shit Town.

Paul Terzulli
Paul Terzulli
PAUL TERZULLI

What have you been listening to?

Mostly 80s and 90s hip hop.

What have you been playing with?

I treated myself to a new mixer earlier this year. Nothing fancy but it’s the first new one I’ve had in a long time.

Have you been listening to any podcasts, audiobooks or radio shows?

I’ve been enjoying the Football Cliches podcast over the last few months. There aren’t any music ones I listen to regularly; it’s more a case of which guests are on them that would make me listen. Hip Hop Saved My Life is usually worth a listen.

Which websites have you used the most?

Discogs probably! The DWG and Test Pressing forums are often good for a browse. A lot of the strongest music-based blogs (mine included) have gone quiet in the last few years though which is a shame.

Did you find any new, lasting interests over the various lockdowns?

My son turned two just before Covid hit, so he’s kept me busy.

What have you been doing the most?

Apart from the day job, it’s mainly been family stuff really. Who Say Reload came out in March and as it was my first book I wasn’t really prepared for all the promotional demands that followed. That died down after a couple of months and since then I’ve been kicking around a few ideas for a follow-up and deciding whether I actually have time to commit to it!

Have you found any new sources of inspiration or creativity over the last year?

I don’t hear much new music that really holds my attention these days. But I’ve loved discovering old music I missed the first time around or had forgotten about.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

Seeing if the concept for the next book falls into place, and hopefully less doom and gloom around the world.

 

Nick Sadler author of The Label Machine
Nick Sadler
NICK SADLER

2021 has been another bizarre year, do you have any reflections on it?

Had a baby, released a book and started a new company. So to be honest, not a lot of time for reflections!

What did you appreciate most about some Covid-19 restrictions being eased?

Being able to go out and hang with friends. Seeing people is what gives me energy so that has been super important. Getting to go to live shows as well has been awesome.

Have you picked up anything interesting in any book/record shops since they’ve reopened?

I picked up Bonobo’s Black Sands album on vinyl. Tasty.

Have you been playing with any new instruments, hardware, analogue equipment?

I bought the Native Instruments A25 controller with a Komplete package so I’ve been using that to write new music which has been ace.

Are there any titles you read over lockdown that you particularly enjoyed or that felt especially relevant at that time?

Lockdown by Peter May, for obvious reasons. He actually wrote it before Covid-19 which makes it that much more amazing.

Any favourite podcasts?

The Hustle and Flowchart podcast, Behind the Membership with Calle Willows, and The Label Machine Podcast with Nick Sadler.

Are there any upcoming books/podcasts or record releases you are looking forward to in 2022?

ABC Music Talk Podcast with Alex Brunson

Have you been to any standout gigs or DJ sets since clubs started to reopen?

I saw Hot Chip play last weekend at Earth in Hackney and the energy was electric. Not anyone wearing masks, but we all had to show proof of double vaccination so it was pretty safe.

Which websites have you used the most?

Reddit, Decrypt, YouTube and TikTok.

Did you find any new, lasting interests over the various lockdowns?

Learning to be a daddy.

What have you been doing the most?

Changing nappies.

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