Welcome to the first spotlight on one of the 26 bands/artists that will appear on the POST/POP vs Cassette Culture Collaboration Compilation (PXP006). I aim to have one of these interviews every single day so by the time we release the album at the end of March you will know each band initmately! First up is CHARLES STRICKLAND EXPRESS. The song in question is quite simply – and I don’t say this lightly – one of the greatest songs I’ve ever heard about the trials and tribulations of a modern day musician. It’s called ‘Ballad of the Virtual Musician’ and I think it’s going to be important!
Hello! You are one of the 26 bands chosen for the POST/POP X /R/CassetteCulture Compilation. Congrats and thank you for letting me use your song. Just so everyone can know a little about you, who are you?
My name is Charles Strickland and I’m a character from a wonderful book called ‘The Moon and Sixpence’ by Somerset Maugham.
Where are you from? Somewhere exotic? Are there any nice record shops there?
Yes, a very exotic Scottish city called Dundee. And yes it is home to possibly THE most legendary Scottish independent record shop of all time, it’s called ‘Grouchos’ and it has been here forever.
What genre would you pigeonhole yourself into? Y’know, if I had a gun to your head! (There’s a slim chance that in the future I may have to point a gun to your head due to sleepwalking)
I’m bored of bands telling the world what their musical influences are SO, what are your non-musical influences? (people, movies, art etc)
Ram Dass, Black Cat White Cat and most Powell/Pressburger movies. Antoni Tapies, Somerset Maugham, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and some books most notably: ‘Catcher in the Rye’, ‘Steppenwolf’, ‘Generation X’, ‘On The Road’ and too many more of each to mention.
How did you find out about this collaboration/compilation and what made you send me your songs?
A long time lurker on r/cassetteculture and ‘Neztok’ follower on Twitter. There was something about the big hearted energy of this project that got to me and compelled me to contact you.
You are in a dusty room. Time hangs heavy in the air. Before you is an ancient table, carved from a twisted tree that once stood proudly atop a lost mountain. Upon this great table is a gilded envelope. You open the envelope slowly, knowing that it will give you the answer that you have been waiting for ever since you started this journey. You have lost many friends and gained untold enemies along the way. All for this. This moment. You carefully remove the parchment, feeling the edges until it draws blood. You notice not, as your eyes flicker across the page. Your blind companion, so loyal, even though you traded his eyes for safe passage and a mixtape, brings his ear close to your lips and asks you the question. “What did the letter say?” and your answer is……
Your mission on earth is to awaken from the illusion of separateness. God, Guru and Self are One.
Do you listen to tapes yourself? Do you think there’s a future for the format?
Yes, I have a large suitcase full of tapes that go way back. Everything from early 2 track recordings to the 4 track experiments of later periods. I love digging about in them and finding hidden gems I’d forgotten existed. Self indulgent I know but I also have several tapes purchased new this year from cassette labels.
I think the cassette resurgence is about a lot of different things, but to me the main one is about the re-materialization of recorded music. People need something that has aura, intimacy and a ritual element.
We are only just beginning to realize how diluted the power of music has become in the ipod age.
What’s the one thing people should know about you before they listen to your track?
That I’m probably old enough to be their father.
What’s the one thing people should know after they listen to your track?
That I hope their fathers are as cool as I am.
Thank you Mr Strickland. Stay tuned for another spotlight interview with one of the bands from Choose Your Own Adventure album, every single day!