Most of us are locked in, all of us have lost the chance to socialise, to meet and drink and talk and eat and see music and work out and enjoy things outside the house. But music doesn’t have to stop and The Great Confinement has opened up a chance to explore at home, to dig up old favourites and find new pleasures.
In this series we ask: what music is making your life better? Today, humourist, climate activist, podcaster maker and TV producer, Dan Ilic.
WHAT ALBUMS OR ARTISTS HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING SINCE BEING CONFINED TO HOME?
I’m a BIG podcast listener when I’m on my lockdown walks, when doing the dishes, doing the laundry, having a shower, listening to my loved ones, listening to my non-loved ones, going down the shops, coming back from the shops, and going back to the shops because I’ve forgotten something because I was too focused on what was being said in a podcast.
But when I’m at the desk working, I’m ploughing through tonnes of on demand music and streaming radio. I have the tastes of a man on the verge of midlife crisis switching between FBi Radio and ABC RN on my Sonos — then throwing on the Sony Studio Cans to devour episodes of A1 The Show on Spotify.
The A1 The Show crew are deep in the Sydney and Australian hip hop scene — the production and talent that is blasting out of Western Sydney is incredible. If it’s your thing and you have Spotify — A1 The Show is worth spinning (with headphones as to not disturb others in the building)
WHICH HAVE BEEN GETTING MULTIPLE SPINS?
Russell (Crowe) asked me to include a song of his for one of my “hilarious” digital sketches I make on Twitter. He asked me if I had heard of Indoor Garden Party. I foolishly answered “no, should I check them out?” — it was Russell’s (Crowe) band.
Anyway I listened over and over to the album The Musical from Indoor Garden Party, and I loved it. New convert. “One heart at a time” as Russell would say. (Crowe)
As a result, over the last two weeks my head has been full of Indoor Garden Party — it’s a joyful band with loads of soul, and humour.
HOW HAS LOCKDOWN CHANGED THE WAY YOU CONSUME MUSIC?
What’s strange about lockdown for me is that I’ve been as busy as ever. Writing, and making a comedy podcast about climate change — it turns out it’s not going to be over anytime soon.
I don’t get to truly sit down to listen to music for music’s sake. The times I get listening are when I’m usually publishing the podcast on a Friday, there’s a tonne of busy computer work where I need to be focused on what striking phallic imagery I’m trying to put together to sell this week’s podcast, or what wacky GIFs I can find to really make the email list pop!
I’m now on two music services — I’m rocking Spotify and YouTube Music. I had avoided Apple Music for so long but occasionally dip in and out of Beats 1 radio to hear what the “cool” kids that work for megacorp think is “cool.”
But still a big fan of FBi Radio and Double J — I enjoy the broadcasters and curation of linear services. It also validates my position in the media industry because I get to use words like “linear services.”
WHAT ALBUM FROM YOUR PAST HAVE YOU REDISCOVERED? WHAT DO YOU STILL LOVE ABOUT IT?
In week eleventyfour in lockdown our house started to binge Mark Ronson’s See The Music — each episode centres around a different piece of technology to bring music alive. The distortion episode was so great — It made me discover In Living Colour for the first time. I think I was too young for them the first time around. I spent the next week treating my tinnitus to their oeuvre.
Apple TV+ also had this incredible Beastie Boys biopic — man nothing gave me pangs for wanting to putting on bad suits from Vinnies and fake moustaches like watching this. The Beastie Boys were heroes of creativity and joy for me — nothing like watching a documentary like that to realise that being creative is a hard but rewarding road and all creative people who take up that vocation to consistently make good things and put them into the world for others to enjoy over the span of their lifetime are goddamn heroes.
I have a comedy podcast by the way.
HAVE YOU FOUND NEW MUSIC – OR AN ARTIST OR GENRE - THAT WAS UNEXPECTED? WHAT’S EXCITED YOU ABOUT IT?
For some reason I was making a Michael Jackson pun on Twitter a few months ago — I don’t know why. Anyway I was looking for that African lyric he says in the the song “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” — for some reason it was of grave importance that I not only find the etymology of that lyric but devise a witty comeback to whomever it was I was arguing with on Twitter using Michael Jackson puns — THIS IS THE LIFE OF A COMEDIAN IN LOCKDOWN ALRIGHT?!
Which basically says Michael Jackson stole it off a Cameroonian soul singer Manu Dibango. Jackson claimed it was Swahili (it wasn’t), Rihanna also used the lyric (don’t know if she assumed it was Swahili too) — Manu Dibango sued them both for 500,000 Euros in 2007.
Cheap if you ask me.
As a result I went down a Spotify worm hole of 1970’s west african soul and it is fresh! So much great stuff with grooves and tunes that sound so familiar but I have never ever heard. Can’t recommend enough starting off with Manu Dibango’s Soul Makossa then just ride the algorithm baby!
WHAT’S THE BEST MUSIC TO FLATTEN YOUR (ANXIETY) CURVE?
Whenever I feel down nothing brings back up like a Hottest 100 Compilation from High School — 1996 — set and forget.
Goodbye doldrums. Hello new hormones. It’s a trip back to year nine trying desperately to wank to Best & Less catalogues.
Also the Hottest 100 that year (and subsequent years) was incredibly testosterone ridden, which for this cishet white guy living with his wonderful life partner, brings some elements of variety to my mindset. Whack 1996 Hottest 100 on and you'll forget that you haven’t seen another living male friend in real life for 3 months.
MAN — I can’t wait to be masculine again in the company of other men.
Urinals? Remember them?
Dan Ilic can be found at the award winning A Rational Fear podcast , occasionally doing the alternative 11am covid briefings and pushing the cause of FBi Radio. And if you are in Glasgow during the climate conference his handiwork can be seen at a billboard near you.