Hello! I’m Bob, the newest addition to the team at The Motor Museum. As a way of introducing myself, I thought I’d tell you about 5 influential albums. For me, listening to music is the most inspiring tool for creating music. Whether it’s an interesting production technique, a crystal-clear mix, or quirky song-writing; there is always something to take from every tune and hearing great stuff really spurs me on. Here are some of my personal favourites and how they inspire me to give my all on every record I work on.
Album 1 – Ben Howard, Every Kingdom (2011)
It felt fitting to start with this album for two reasons. Firstly, this album kicked off my love for proper ‘music listening’. Before this, music was a background thing; something I’d have on whilst doing something else. However, I remember putting time aside to listen to ‘Every Kingdom’ which at the time was something I had never done before. As a result of this, it was my answer to “what music you into, lad?” for about 5 years, and Ben Howard is still regularly played on my Spotify. It also seemed a fitting start as this album was mixed in my new workplace, Motor Museum studio A! Each day when I sit in that chair and turn up the speakers, I am reminded of what is capable in our wonderful studio. Talk about inspiring!
Standout track – The Fear
Album 2 – Bon Iver, 22 A Million (2016)
To be honest, this album completely blew me away. For those of you who have listened, you’ll understand my struggle to put this one into words. The detail and creativity in this album is extraordinary. There’s always a balance between interesting creative elements and sounding completely bizarre. For me, Bon Iver got this one spot on: although almost completely mental, it is absolutely fascinating. Even listening now, I hear new things that I hadn’t previously noticed. I find this level of creative detail incredibly inspiring, and something I always try to project onto appropriate studio projects. When making music, keeping things creative is a must for me and this album reminds me of the importance of creating an interesting listen.
Standout track – 33 “GOD”
Album 3 – Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (2006)
My Dad had a battered CD player in the kitchen and ‘Back to Black’ pretty much lived inside it. It was the sound of our kitchen! At the time I enjoyed the songs, a bit like a Pavlovian response to dinner being made. However, it wasn’t since the passing of Amy Winehouse that I really started to appreciate this record and its particular nostalgic sound. My favourite aspect is the drum sounds. It almost sounds like Mark Ronson has ripped the grooves directly off an ancient dusty tape and given them a new life. The way he samples grooves has really inspired my production in recent times. I love the concept of recycling old sounds to create something fresh and unique, yet nostalgic at the same time and I’m really excited to use in my own work at the Motor Museum!
Standout track – Tears Dry on Their Own
Album 4 – The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses (1989)
The Stones Roses helped me realise that music is absolutely magical. I first heard The Roses at the age of 3, watching my beloved Manchester United with my Dad and Brother. ‘This Is the One’ blared through the sound system as 75 thousand fans rose to their feet to cheer on the team. Hearing this record reminds me these moments: football, excitement and family. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Man United that are inspiring – especially at the moment! This album is a reminder to make the most of every song I work on. Each track is an opportunity to create a moment for the listener, to remind them of a time in their life or experience a moment escapism when they could need it the most.
Standout track – Waterfall
Album 5 – Mac Miller – Circles (2020)
When working in the studio it always helps to keep up to date with modern and trending records. It helps massively when working on tracks that need to sound current. There have been a few crackers this year, but my favourite has to be ‘Circles’ from Mac Miller. I have always been a big fan of hip-hop. I loved Big L, Tupac and Biggie Smalls when I was a kid and I’m gutted that I can’t rap. ‘Circles’ is the most organic, raw and emotive album I have heard from a Hip-Hop artist. Although terribly sad, it’s stunning and thought provoking. What I love about Mac Miller is his ability to feel his lyrics. His voice is convincing, emotive and distinctive. This is something I always try and capture when recording singers; emotion. It makes the listener feel something, to me that’s the most powerful aspect of any record.
Standout track – Good News