Perfect Sound Whatever: James Acaster Interview

James Acaster is one of the biggest comedians in the world at the moment, and coming off the back of constantly sold out tour dates and his universally acclaimed Netflix specials, James has written a book focused on music that released in 2016.

I chatted to him about why he wrote about 2016 specifically, and the music he encountered along the way. Three instant classics from 2016 got him started on his journey, after a long period of not really engaging with new releases.

“During 2016 I got into three big albums – Blackstar by David Bowie, Lemonade by Beyoncé and Blonde by Frank Ocean, after a decade of engaging with very little modern day music.”

“It got me excited about pop music and at the end of 2016 I really enjoyed reading the end of year lists on all the music websites. In January 2017 I launched into my own personal breakdown and so I did the thing that’d most recently bought me joy in order to cope and continued to read the 2016 end of year lists and buy the albums from it. I just kept going until I felt better. It took about two years.”

Finding every album worth listening to released in 2016 sounds like a daunting task. I asked James how he went about even beginning to find them all.

“Online Lists, YouTube vlogs, Pitchfork, Bandcamp, Word of mouth, Googling musicians I liked on the off chance they had a 2016 project.”

“Some bands even contacted me when they found out about the project. Just every means necessary really.”

Listening to that much music must uncover a few hidden gems, so I asked James what some underrated albums he had discovered are:

“There are so many. I think Badd Timing by The Sooper Swag Project sounds like no other rap album ever and Pixvae by Pixvae sounds like no other rock album ever. But I could give you a very long list of Overlooked Masterpieces From 2016.”

As well as these albums that James feels are underrated, when trawling upon hundreds of recommendations and listicles there must be some albums on the other end of the scale:

“Loads of people were recommending Moenai Hai by The Gerogerigegege. I think it was a prank.”

“It’s just a bunch of nothing-y background sound then one kind of song then more nothingness. It really wound me up because I had to go so far out of my way to obtain a copy. I bet I’ll try and get into it again one day though.”

I had a listen to it, and I agree.

‘Perfect Sound Whatever’ is out on the 22nd August and you can pre-order it here. It contains a story about James shitting his pants.




Interview with Aisling Bea

I asked comedian Aisling Bea about her favourite music, best gig and more.


Q) What is the last gig you went to and what was it like?

“I went to see Kanye West at the Hollywood Bowl. Now I am a big fan of future president of the USA, Kanye West, but he did about forty minutes, with no support act and twenty of that forty minutes was spent on costume changes and staring at a gold painted naked Zoe Kravitz.  The Hollywood bowl is a stunning, outdoor venue in LA, but tickets were $$$. I didn’t have babies at home or a car to pay parking for, but had I, I would have been piiiiissssseeeeeeddddd off at Mr. Kardashian.”

Q) What is the best gig you have ever been to?

“I saw Fat Boy Slim DJ in a forest in Mayrhofen in Austria. I was there with the Snowbombing festival working as an “atmosphere creator” – essentially bloody idiots paid to blow whistles and rave to get wealthy skiers in the mood. He was amazing to watch live, played the crowd like a well worn fiddle.”

Q) What venue have you played that has had the nicest staff?

“The staff at the Soho Theatre in… Soho are pretty rad. I’ve done lots of shows there and you want to add them all on Facebook and go on group holiday with them afterwards.” 

Q) What are your favourite sweets/chocolate? 

“Is this a personality test? Because I LOVE Ferrero Rochers, but don’t want people to think I am arrogant or think a lot of myself. I also love Kinder Bueno Hippos, which makes me a child at heart and Cadbury’s Golden Crisp, which you can only get in Ireland and that makes me a man of the Irish people.” 

Q) What is the last album you bought and what format was it on?

Oh god,  I haven’t bought an album in years and years. I use Spotify for everything and listen to the same twenty songs on a loop. I’ve just had a look in my iTunes and it was “Ultimate 90s Dance Hits” which is embarrassing.” 

Q) What is your favourite album?

“Ultimate 90s Dance Hits.”