Tom Misch's lockdown listening: 'I don’t even realise how much I’m nerding out'

The musician and producer recommends Hans Zimmer, Knxwledge and Radiohead for inspirational listening during the coronavirus pandemic

My debut album, Geography, was a jolly, summery record, but when I made it I was going through a breakup, I was by myself a lot, it was summer and I was locked in the studio. It wasn’t very fun. But I’ve always managed to make feelgood music regardless of whether I’m feeling good – perhaps that’s set me in good stead for where we are now.

I have been trying to achieve something every day, even if that is just a big cycle ride. I’ve been doing cover versions or jamming on the guitar, and putting them on YouTube. And I want to get into film scoring – I now have so much time, it’s something I want to work on as a craft. Maybe it’s because everything seems so dramatic right now that film scores sound so good.

So I’ve been listening to Hans Zimmer’s Inception soundtrack. I’m hearing what’s possible within an orchestra – and Zimmer’s technique: a theme will come back to create emotion.

I love Ólafur Arnalds, too, an Icelandic composer. When he mics up a piano you hear the movement of the pedals, you can hear him breathing. He also manages to keep things very simple but effective.

I’m constantly listening to Radiohead – I love Weird Fishes/Arpeggi. On my new record with Yussef Dayes, the phrase “that’s a bit Radiohead-y” came out a lot. It’s the choice of chords, and that particular vocal style: very spacey, ethereal, long held notes in falsetto.

I’m loving a track called Make It Live Forever by Knxwledge, it’s raw samples he has chopped and processed in his own way, to sound like an 80s disco track slowed down. And Tame Impala dropped his new album recently, which I like, but I went back to his early stuff – Apocalypse Dreams on Lonerism is so feelgood and dreamy. He is a studio legend – his live drums sound like samples – and I’m always trying to work out how he does his stuff. I get to the point where I don’t even realise how much I’m nerding out. I’ll mention something to my girlfriend about a track and she’ll be like: what are you on about? That’s the biggest education as a musician, just listening.

What Kinda Music by Tom Misch and Yussuf Dayes is released on 24 April on Blue Note/Caroline


Interview by Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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