Every artist has their own reference points: the things that lead them to make the music they do. Gigs, records, dates, clothes, books, people….they could take virtually any form.
In this new series of features, some of our favourite artists will tell us about their own reference points. Today: Oh Minnows‘ Chris Steele-Nicholson.
Influences are hard for me to tease out but I can say that Grapes Of Wrath affected me. I’m drawn to things that augment the interconnectedness between people. Maybe it’s because I feel the divisive effects of external forces at work in western culture. I don’t mean to say that there is a conspiracy, rather there is a consequence of merging a certain politic with a certain economic system. The book is an illustration of how we are connected both physically and ideologically. Grapes Of Wrath in some way makes the case that the quality of human relations depend on some kind of proximity, that you regard those close to you in a physical and emotional way but strangers are regarded ideologically.
Definitely place is important. I like going to small towns in the States. There is usually something very focused going on like someone has the most amazing collection of vintage soda bottles in the world, or maybe someone has kept a diner from the 1950’s in pristine shape. Creating a contained world within a certain culture is amazing. At the same time I love the city for the way information is passed between people. Living in NYC is like getting an advanced degree in whatever subject a stranger you just met in some coffee shop wants to tell you about.
In the last year or so I’ve been into 50’s and 60’s music. For me there is a certain amount of escapism there as though the USA just wanted to disappear into a dream. I’ve been listening to people like Marianne Faithfull, Santo and Johnny, The Crystals, The Ronettes, Scott Walker, Dusty Springfield, Tommy James & The Shondells, Phil Spector, and The Platters to name a few.