#HowWeListen – Joe Thompson / Hey Colossus

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in music about how they find and listen to music, new and old.

Who are you?
I’m Joe.

Where are you based?
Street, Somerset, South West England. North of Cornwall and Devon, beneath Bristol, a mile from Glastonbury. It’s a village. It’s where Clarks shoes come from. Yes, the village is called Street. I assume once upon a time it was, indeed, just a street. Now it’s way more, it has a Subway.

Where do you work? What do you do?
Shepton Mallet, I’m a postman. I also play music in a too many guitars band. We’re based in London and Somerset and Bristol and Nottingham and Watford. We’ve been going since 2003. We’ve released a lot of records and played a fair amount of shows. I’ve been a postman for ten years, I recently received a little badge to celebrate this fact. I’m tired.

What are you listening to?
I cannot stop listening to Anderson Paak, Malibu and Venice are works of art. Just waiting for the new one to get released properly. Workin’ Man Noise Unit’s new record on Riot Season. One of the best UK bands. A band is only as good as it’s drummer and WMNU’s drummer swings.

Finally got the ‘last ever live show’, Mission of Dead Souls by Throbbing Gristle, just re-released by Mute. I picked it up from Raves from the Grave, Frome, Somerset. People say Frome is one of the most happening places to live. These people have never been to Frome. It’s ‘fine’, I give it 4/10.

The Wiki record on XL last year was a total monster. It was slept on by most people as it didn’t have any traditionally big tunes, but if you like rap music you should like the Wiki record. I went to see him on a boat in Bristol with my youngest son. 200 people. In your face. What made it become such a regular listen was having the CD with the vinyl, it was played in the car and house for a full year. Top tip there. A download code is no good, you can make CD’s for pennies. Do that and insert it in the vinyl sleeve, don’t be afraid to give people what they actually want, it won’t hurt.

The Rixe record on La Vida Es Un Mus. Who would have thought I’d be buying Oi records in 2018. This thing kills. The French do Oi like the Australians are destroying garage/scuzzy punx, Total Control are never far from the stereo, Amyl and the Sniffers, and The Chats 10” ain’t far either.

I’m convinced Aesop Rock’s Impossible Kid 2xLP should be taught to kids at school. Everything from the production to the rapping to the album’s packaging. The new Warthog 7” on Static Shock is pure destruction, cannot wait for them to come over in a few months. Same with the two Uranium Club records on the same label.

There’s shit loads of music, new and old. The new Low record has surprised the hell out of me, I thought I was done with miserable music. I still can’t listen to Nick Cave though.

The Arthur Verocai record from 1000 years ago that Mr Bongo reissued a couple of years ago, this is one beautiful record. The Tin Man 4xLP that came out recently, acid acid acid acid acid. Who doesn’t like acid? From the same world: the Bass Clef 2×12” on Alter. So good. I dreamt I was delivering acid to children at a campsite last night, baffling as I wasn’t getting paid overtime for it. Get the Union on the phone.

How do you find new music?
Word of mouth, youtube people with their channels, reviews – Maximum RnR (Just shut down yesterday. Shame) / The Wire / Quietus), talking with people in record shops, buying from gigs. There are a few labels who I trust so will always check out their business.

I do enjoy the ‘What’s in my Bag’ type shows on YT, be it Amoeba or any of the others. I hoovered up the Crate Digger series, made me buy a lot of records I never would have thought of. I have friends with decent tastes in various genres so I pay attention to what they’re talking about. I live in the middle of nowhere now so I’m quite reliant on social media for top tips. I also get shop mailouts that can be worth a browse.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Service and why?
Vinyl at home, CD in the car. Streaming is the worst thing. It’s changing things in a way that people are sleepwalking into. It benefits no one. The listener is getting an instant gratification with absolutely no long term reward. The music maker isn’t being rewarded. The people releasing the music aren’t being rewarded. The listener is creating no memories for themselves. There’s a panic to make the first 30 seconds of a song be incredible, there’s no patience anymore.

It blows my mind that people don’t pay for music, paying a few money units a month to get unlimited music through to your ears is not in any way covering the costs of making the music. What are these people gonna look back on? What story is your empty shelf going to tell you? I’m way too many years old now and out of touch. But of a night, when I’ve eaten too much lasagne and fancy having a flashback night, I can pick a record out and relive a moment. Get the Motley Crue out and go back to being 12 years old. It’s the shelf of memories. The bent sleeve. The wine spill on the Lincoln/Hoover split 7” from when David Seaman saved that penalty back in 1998 and I lost my mind, arms in the air, smashing over my glass of red.

I guess people can do what they want but I’m not gonna be sitting back in my grandad nappy at 80 years old, piss trickling down my inner thigh, trying to remember what I streamed in 2018 in an effort to get a memory related contact high. Shelf of memories please. Minimalist living is a depressing fad. Let my great grandkids deal with chucking it away when I’m gone, it’s part of the deal. The vinyl binning circle of life.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
Home in the living room, in the car on the way to work.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
I guess I don’t apart from when websites preview a new song from some forthcoming release.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
Apart from Youtube I don’t. I’ve never downloaded anything apart from rough mixes of the music I’m involved with, which either comes via WeTransfer or Google Drive. It sounds fine, for what it is. I still run a Nokia phone. I don’t wear headphones when out walking, the world makes better sounds than any album. I’ve never looked at Spotify, my 70 year old dad does. My sons listen on Youtube and Amazon. I can’t handle it. It depresses me too much. The house being silent while all the people in it sit with their headphones on is the grimmest noise.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
I have a box of around 100 records by the record player that I consider my top 100 (or so) records of the moment. I run a strict rotation system.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
No one at work gives two fucks what I listen too. I judge them though, harshly. They all take the piss out of me for not having a computer phone as they play the morning music through bluetooth speakers. 80’s pop, 70’s rock, indie classics. It’s as bad as the radio in the same playlist filler fashion. I don’t allow The Who though, you have to have rules. It’s surprising how often The Who are almost played. It’s kinda like someone’s paying vast sums of cash to get them onto internet playlists.

Anything you want to “promote”?
I want people to get back into directly supporting artists and labels and shops. We’re gonna miss them when they’re gone.

#HowWeListen – Joe Thompson / Hey Colossus was last modified: April 7th, 2019 by Byta