Lias Saoudi: 5 Albums That Changed My Life
Lias Kaci Saoudi of Fat White Family/Moonlandingz is a difficult man to get on the phone. First, there’s the time difference — he lives in the U.K. — and, second, there are pranksters like his brother and band mate Nathan, who just might answer the phone pretending to be Lias.
Once you snag him, though, it’s tough to get the Fat White Family front man to stop talking about music…and books…and musicals he’d like to produce about Bob Dylan.
Semi-fresh off the release of Saoudi’s latest project, collaborative band Moonlandingz’ stellar Interplanetary Class Classics (produced by Sean Lennon, featuring Yoko), Saoudi spoke with TIDAL a bit about some records that changed his life.
I had [a mate’s] old MP3 player and there was just loads of stuff on there. I was listening to it on random, and it starts to come through [in] little pockets, you know, these really weird spoken word things. And I really got into that. You know, I’d never [heard] something so drastically self-deprecating up until that point, I don’t think. Incredibly black humor, those were the things I was interested in. Kind of collapsing narcissism, you know? That was a big influence on my state of mind that remains so to this day. I’d like to do more spoken word stuff, I think.
Eden Ahbez, Edens Island
I’ll go with that one because it’s just one of my favorites. The end of the night, it always gets switched on, you know? Again, it’s got kind of the little spoken word [sections] popping in there, even though they are sort of ridiculously almost flower children ‘60s kind of spiels. I really enjoy that.
The sound of it is really beautiful. The choir, the bells — all kinds of interesting percussion. It just creates a real kind of environment. But, yeah, once you’re on your ass at seven in the morning and you mellow down it’s the perfect record.
Lou Reed, Street Hassle
As far as popular music by any stretch of imagination goes, that’s kind of as close as it gets to writing literature. That’s kind of the most ambitious thing I’ve heard, I think, lyrically on an album — even including Leonard Cohen. It’s really out there. The way it leaps from scene to scene. It’s just an incredible piece of observational writing.
I mean, obviously, it’s still Lou — Lou is still kind of in the middle of the things — but it doesn’t feel like he’s trying to put himself into your head there; it really is just an attempt to look at the situation and make your way through it. I don’t know if I’m being that clear, but the rest of the album has got some crackers on it as well.
It starts off as a kind of statement of self-obsession almost, doesn’t it? And then it changes into that kind of epic kind of New York, Brooklyn-style parable. It’s incredible to able to maneuver like that on an album in such a cohesive [way].
Bob Dylan, Nashville Skyline
I figured I’d throw a couple of big hitters in there, ya know? I think a lot of people are of two minds about actually listening to Dylan records. A lot of the early stuff does have… I don’t know, it feels a little bit preachy or a little bit ‘60s wishy-washy — politics and all that kind of crap. And then it kind of stems off into a symbolistic/surrealist [era], which is a little bit jarring. Sometimes he puts in ten too many verses on a song. It’s like, you could have stopped at three, but I’m gonna keep going. I loved it when I was a teenager. I loved it passionately. I thought that it was really opening up my mind and all that kind of stuff. And then that cynicism kicked in and I couldn’t pick anything I’d rather listen to less.
But throughout all of that time, Nashville Skyline was a constant record. One that my friends and I would always put on during a party. I don’t think there are too many records out there where it sounds so explicitly obvious that the guy is having a really good time with what he’s doing, and I kind of admire it because he managed to drop all that quasi-intellectual poetic dead weight and just make something really pure. And he’s also decided to start singing like a kind of inflated frog. Really out of the fucking blue.
I even like a little bit of religious Bob every now and then. Old, withered Bob. There are stages, you know? Part of me wants to do a theater production or musical or something called The Seven Ages of Bob.
The Blockheads, New Boots and Panties!!
Nobody in America ever knows about Ian Dury. He’s a bit famous over here. He wrote that song ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.’ He had loads of great stuff. Kind of like the Noel Coward of the punk rock era, you know? Which for me is a dream come true. That wasn’t something I discovered until I went to London when I was younger. I mean, it’s just so viciously British.
Again, he’s a real wordsman. I think he manages to keep things really funny. He’s got polio — like the withered arm. Somebody asked if he ever thought he missed out in life and he said he missed a few buses. And it’s his spin on music. It’s smart, but not too clever. Aware of its own inconsistencies; just a lot of fun. I think what makes it good is the right amount of dirt and the right amount of humor.
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