The review of 2015 rolls on wit the first of two posts relating to Stereogram Recordings. First up is Jeremy Thoms, who is both label boss and main man of the Cathode Ray (whose 2nd LP is sure to feature high on the MPT End of Year list). Jeremy undertakes the MPT Inquisition to look back on a busy year for the band and the label.
Your Own Music
Your own musical highlight of the year?
After over two years gestation finally completing and launching The Cathode Ray’s “Infinite Variety” album and videos to very positive and encouraging reactions. In such an overcrowded market, it’s getting increasingly hard to get noticed, so when people say nice things it makes all the difference.
Favourite performance of the year?
The two Stereogram Revue shows in December were great. And not just for us – all the acts were on top form – so big thanks to James King & The Lonewolves, Roy Moller, St.Christopher Medal, The Fabulous Artisans and Tam Dean Burn! Also, for The Cathode Ray, our video shoot directed by Jez Curnow at the Kings Theatre in March was a great experience. I know we were only miming, but what a venue to mime in!
What’s the one thing that went wrong in 2015 you’d like to fix?
I suppose getting more coverage in some of the London based music magazines would’ve been nice, but I mustn’t grumble. The reviews we did get were amazing!
What you gonna be doing next year?
Starting work on that “difficult” third album. Around half a dozen songs are demoed. Also, getting out of Scotland for a change and playing more gigs around the country with, so far, Fallen Leaves (April in Middlesborough), Band Of Holy Joy (April in London) and The Monochrome Set (June in Stowmarket).
3 songs or LPs you’ve listened to the most in 2015?
“I Still Want You” by Richard Hawley. I’m a sucker for his ballads, and this is right up there with his very best in my opinion. “Whatever Happened?” by Brian Wilson. Could almost have fitted on Pet Sounds. The addition of Al Jardine on vocals is inspired. And “Nothing But A Fool”/”Tutti Frutti” by New Order. I didn’t expect to like the ‘Music Complete’ album so much minus Hooky, but it’s chock full of great songs – these being my joint favourites.
Best gig attended in 2015?
The Flaming Lips in Princes Street Gardens in August. They were life affirming and mind blowing as always, and with the Castle as a back drop, particularly breathtaking visually. Great support from Dutch Uncles too.
Biggest surprise of 2015?
Discovering there’s so many great young bands on the go in Edinburgh. Through going to see my son Alex’s outfit A Modern Masquerade, I’ve caught Old Town Rituals, In Stations, Volka and The Caravelles – all of whom impressed. There’s no doubt a whole bunch more.
Who should we be looking out for in 2016?
All of my biggest surprises above. Plus anything new on the Stereogram label of course!
Anything and Everything
Event of 2015
The “Big Gold Dream” film premiere in June at the Edinburgh Filmhouse. Ten years in the making, Grant McPhee’s film was well worth the wait. Plus The Stool Pigeons (Vic Godard and chums) were brilliant live at the after show party in the Traverse, where I was also DJing. A great night.
Hero of 2015
“No more heroes anymore…” Well, maybe Jeremy Corbyn.
Lowpoint of 2015
The sad passing of former Delta 5 drummer turned band manager Kelvin Knight. I’d only got to know him in the past year when he wasn’t well at all, but his spirit and enthusiasm put most able bodied folk to shame. He’ll be missed.
Villain of 2015
Can I have a few? David Cameron, Piers Morgan, Jeremy Clarkson, Simon Cowell. You get my drift.
Favourite book of 2015
“Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink” by Elvis Costello. It was kind of inevitable he would pen a great book, being such a brilliant wordsmith.
Favourite film of 2015
Love & Mercy. Generally I’m not a fan of the bio-pic, but this one works. The two main phases of Brian’s life that are portrayed here are both heartbreaking and heartwarming in turn.
Something to look forward to in 2016?
More from Stereogram Recordings. Plus new Bowie and High Llamas albums – always an event in this house!