We have long admired the work of Bad Owl Presents in Leeds; for the last few years they have been tirelessly championing the math & post rock scene putting on bands from all over the country in a series of outstanding lineups, including their annual 2 day celebration of the scene Strangeforms Festival.
Here Kerry & Stewart give us an insight in to the records that inspired them to do such great work.
Kerry: Disintegration by The Cure
This was very nearly Slint by Spiderland (the first post-rock album I ever bought), but I had to go with Disintegration given how much of an impact it had on me.
Having had my childhood musical taste heavily influenced by my Mum & Dad’s record collection and my big sisters’ Top 40 compilation tapes, it would take until the summer of 1989 and a boy with a funny haircut to make me want to discover music for myself. His favourite band were a five piece I’d never heard of called The Cure. ‘Lovesong’ had just been released, and thanks to the impressionability of young love, I went straight out and bought it – along with Disintegration – and pretty much played them both until the grooves wore out. Oddly enough, I didn’t buy any Cure albums that came out after that, instead I ploughed all my pocket money into their back catalogue, re-decorated my bedroom with posters of men wearing lipstick with bird’s nests for hair and started my own band.
In the years that followed I became obsessed with finding out about new acts and genres of music that had previously been under my radar. I took out subscriptions to the NME & Melody Maker and got myself a job as Saturday girl at my local HMV in Middlesbrough. The 30% staff discount was a bonus, so I took full advantage of being able to order up rarities and exports (mostly stuff released on Sub-Pop and Creation records). My poor Dad became my personal chauffeur, taking me and my mates to gigs all over the North East, and when I went to my first festival (Reading, 1992) little did I realise that music would still be such an important and integral part of my life 25 years on.
Stewart: Come On Die Young by Mogwai
I was initially going to choose Rum, Sodomy & The Lash by The Pogues for this as it was the first alternative album that I listened to (given to me by a girl I fancied at school) and led me onto searching out more bands that the people around me weren’t necessarily listening to but, from a Bad Owl point of view, I have to go for Come On Die Young by Mogwai.
I was put on to the band by my friend’s girlfriend and picked up a copy on cassette in my local Our Price. I was transfixed immediately by opening track ‘Punk Rock’, with the whole album unlike anything I’d heard before. The fact that most of the tracks were instrumental was strangely alluring and made me realise that songs can be just as emotive, if nor more so, without vocals.
I was fortunate to see the band play live in front of a small crowd on the ‘T Break’ stage at the 1999 T In The Park Festival. The slow builds and crowning crescendoes had me on the verge of tears during their set with the powerful vibrations from the stage being felt underfoot and giving me the most delicious goosebumps.
Come On Die Young and Mogwai begat my love of post-rock music and, subsequently, all of its sub and affiliated genres.
Stewart: Harbour Of Devils by What The Blood Revealed
What The Blood Revealed were the very first band that Bad Owl put on and whilst this, their debut album, wasn’t released until after that show, Harbour Of Devils has to be considered a major influence as, if it wasn’t for What The Blood Revealed, Bad Owl wouldn’t exist.
As quite a few folk already know, before we’d even considered music promotion, the band got in touch with us to see if we knew anyone in Leeds who might be able to help them out with a show (I kind of knew a couple of the guys from attending the same indie disco in Ayrshire when I was a lot younger). As our efforts proved unsuccessful, we decided just to book a venue and put the gig on ourselves – having had so much fun in doing so we’re still doing it five years later.
We were really sad when What The Blood Revealed decided to call it a day but we managed to catch their last ever show up in Glasgow and we’re delighted that Stuart and Gav’s new band, Bosphorus, are coming down to play for us in August. Harbour Of Devils is still an album we can go back to again and again and is a great example of post-metal being done right.