Have you bought your train tickets? Well, have you? Because 450 of the hottest young bands around are gathering in Brighton from Thursday as part of The Great Escape festival. And you wouldn’t want to be left grumpy and alone in the Big Smoke when you could be on the beach, do you?
If you need an added incentive to head south look no further than Wesley Gonzalez. The former Let’s Wrestle frontman releases his first 7” for cracking London label Moshi Moshi’s singles club on Friday – just one day before he takes to the stage at the city’s Paganini Ballroom.
After 10 years of shredding guitars in Let’s Wrestle he sat down and taught himself to play piano, getting deeper into his songwriting groove. And that’s where his new tune I Spoke to Euan was born, as it finds Wesley telling a dark tale of excess while loading it with plenty of lyrical drama.
“We had travelled for a whole day getting to where we were staying after a festival gig; I was overexcited, drinking a lot and smoking a lot. I think I found it hard to completely ease into it. I went to sleep and had a nightmare that woke me up crying uncontrollably, not really understanding why,” Wesley recalls. And from there, the song was born.
He will be joined on stage in Brighton by Rose Elinor Dougall (keys), Joe Chilton (bass), Euan Hinshelwood (synth/sax) and Pete Baker (drums). But before they get cranking, I caught up with Wesley and asked him to give me five songs that made a big impression on him as a musician. Which he did… but who knew Busta Rhymes was going to show up? Read on.
Busta Rhymes feat Janet Jackson – What’s It Gonna Be
Brilliant song! I remember hearing this everywhere when I was a kid; it reminds me of being in Brent Cross with my mum. I wish I could’ve appreciated how great pop music was when I was younger. There are tonnes of really odd sounds in pop music. Busta Rhymes, TLC, Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, Timbaland and loads more were churning out great catchy tunes, teamed with futuristic music videos made for a golden of age of watching MTV. Luckily this song came out during the month my mum caved in and got cable – and before she cancelled it due to the topless darts they would show past my bedtime.
Pastor T.L. Barrett & the Youth for Christ Choir – Nobody Knows
When I first started playing piano my friend Koichi played me this tune and it encapsulated a lot of what kind of music I wanted to make. It feels like an expulsion of emotion, something gut-wrenching that I cannot describe. There isn’t much going on in terms of structure – it’s just four chords repeated, but it’s so emotional. I love the language within Christian music; I guess being so godless it seems quite alien to me.
Wagon Christ – Shadows
I first heard Wagon Christ when I was about 14. Louis from Let’s Wrestle and I would hang out smoking weed listening to Throbbing Pouch. I remember before YouTube becoming a big thing, I downloaded this video on Kazaa and would watch it before leaving to go to school. There’s something really peaceful about it. Luke Vibert is still making great records, and his last one Bizarstar was one of my favourites of last year.
Anne Murray – Another Sleepless Night
Another amazing tune! I first heard this on Bang Bang it’s Reeves and Mortimer – they were dressed up as swedes and every time they went out of frame their tits would grow larger. I’ve always loved the song but only found out what it was recently with my mate Al, I think we had it on repeat for about three hours. This kind of MOR music is largely shunned, but the tunes are amazing. Stuff like Andrew Gold, Carole Bayer Sagar and Brian Protheroe have some genius songs, but I worry they will remain in the hospice of tunes.
Sly and the Family Stone – If You Want Me to Stay
I think this may be my favourite song – or at least it has been for the last few years or so. I think it has every aspect of what I need from music. I talked to a friend a couple of years ago about how every song you listen to should make you either want to fuck someone, kill someone or get absolutely smashed with someone. Though I don’t think this is true, I think this song makes me want to do all three simultaneously. I think Sly Stone is one of the coolest people on Earth. I love everything about him so it’s good to hear he’s finally earned some money after years of being so down on his luck!