2017 According To … Wozniak

There wasn’t enough Wozniak in my 2017. Certainly there was the long awaited and thoroughly excellent debut LP ‘Courage Reels‘ which is picking up various end of year kudos even as I speak. But I didn’t manage to catch the band live at all in 2017 with the Edinburgh LP launch being one of two shows I bought tickets for but didn’t manage to get to.

As some sort of compensation guitarist Simon Cuthbert-Kerr steps up to look back on his 12 months.

Your Own Music

Your own musical highlight of the year?

Releasing Courage Reels, our debut album, was a definite highpoint. For various reasons it had taken a bit longer than we had hoped, so to get it out in April, and for it to be so well-received, was a really fantastic feeling.

Favourite performance of the year?

I really enjoyed the Edinburgh launch gig for the album at the Wee Red Bar. It was a great crowd and I thought we played really well. I ended the gig sweaty and in the crowd, and that’s good for everyone!

What’s the best thing that you did musically this year?

We did a little mini-tour when we released the album, playing Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Brighton, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, and that was great fun.

What’s the one thing that went wrong in 2017 you’d like to fix?

We were lucky enough to be asked to be Damo Suzuki’s band when he played in Edinburgh in May. Unfortunately, James wasn’t available, so we drafted in Grant from St Judes and Cosi from Optic Nerve.

It was a very cool experience, but I don’t think Damo was too into us! He said that he wouldn’t direct us, and that we should just do whatever we felt, but that didn’t prevent him stopping us during soundcheck to tell us that it sounded bad overall, and that each one of us was bad. That was a fun moment. He also told us to make it less shoegaze.

Hi Damo, if you’re reading this!

What you gonna be doing next year?

Since we finished the tour we’ve been on a bit of a break, partly because James has become a dad, which is great news. We’ve been recording some home demos, and we’re planning to get back into things in the new year so that we can work on new material. Hopefully we’ll release something in 2018, although I’m not sure what.

Others’ Music

Album of the year?

There were a lot of albums released this year that I really enjoyed, but nothing stood out massively. Probably the one I’ve listened to most is American Dream by LCD Soundsystem.

Song of the year?

For a band who are overwhelmingly instrumental, I have not been able to stop singing the chorus of Mogwai’s Party in the Dark since I first heard it.

Best gig attended?

Slowdive at the Art School in March and A Place To Bury Strangers at Liverpool Psych Fest.

Best discovery in 2017?

A couple of discoveries at Liverpool Psych Fest – Ex Easter Island Head and Yassassin.

Who should we be looking out for in 2018?

They’re not necessarily new, but I thought the Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever EP, The French Press, was brilliant, so I’ll be interested to hear what they do next.

Anything and Everything

Hero of 2017 

The waters of 2017 have been somewhat choppy, but this makes me laugh every time I see it, so I am nominating Marion Kelly for her swagger, style and brio (with thanks to Sarah for reminding me):

Villain of 2017

There are so many obvious candidates, and I’m going to avoid picking them, because it goes without saying really. On that basis, I’m going to pick Mike Love. I read his autobiography this year, and his reputation is well-deserved. He comes across as a self-serving, self-justifying berk who thinks adding the word ‘baby’ to some songs puts him on an even footing with Brian Wilson. It doesn’t, Mike, it doesn’t!

For someone so into transcendental meditation, he sure loves money. (If you’re reading this, Mike, please don’t sue me!) (MPT – Think appealing to his better nature may not be the most logical thing to do in the circumstances!)

High point of 2017

The arrival of James’ son, Tom, was pretty excellent.

Lowpoint of 2017

So, so many to choose from, sadly.

Favourite book of 2017

I was inspired by Andy Wood to read a lot more this year than I’ve managed recently, and so far I’ve managed to read 19 books (probably still a lot less than Andy!). One of those was David Keenan’s This Is Memorial Device, which I completely loved. As well as being brilliant in its own right, it was set in Airdrie, very close to where I grew up and lots of elements of the local music scene were reminiscent of my own teenage years (although without quite so much arty intrigue).

Favourite film of 2017

Okja was staggering and got dark very quickly.

Most missed?

Still David Bowie.

Donald Trump memory of 2017? (Assuming we avoid nuclear holocaust before 31/12/2017)

I liked it when Justin Trudeau beat him at the handshake game:

Worst piece of advice you gave and/or were given in 2017?

All the advice I gave this year was bad! The worst advice I was given was just to walk it off…

What place will you most associate with 2017?

I’ve been to some cool places this year, and I’m going to say Venice. We had an amazing weekend there in the depths of winter, and it was a much-needed escape from the pressures of everyday life.

Something to look forward to in 2018?

World Cup fever! Unless you’re from one of the many communities that aren’t really welcome in Russia, of course…

From the LP, this track was voted the number 1 song of 2017 on the wedigmusic podcast:

Previously on MPT:

Wozniak feature (April 2017)