This Music Made Me

This Music Made Me: Douglas Dare

Douglas Dare

Douglas Dare (Photo: Özge Cöne)

Douglas Dare‘s second album Aforger, the follow-up to Whelm, questions the boundaries between reality and fiction. Inspired by recent events and revelations encountered in his life, these songs depict Dare at his most vulnerable, whilst simultaneously reflecting our own obsession with reality and technology back at us.
“The album title plays with the idea of a forger – someone creating imitations or copies, and reimagines them as the creator of something that’s no longer real,” he explains. “Prior to writing the record, I came out to my father and came out of a long relationship, both were hugely challenging for me and questioned my idea of identity and reality. These thoughts leaked out into the record and formed its core.”
Ahead of a London gig showcasing the new album at Electrowerkz, Douglas Dare mined his music memory for the albums that influenced him most for his This Music Made Me
Joni Mitchell - Blue Joni Mitchell – Blue
I feel this is almost a cliche album to chose as you hear so many singer songwriters siting this record as an early inspiration but I do truly thank Joni for teaching me what songs are all about.
This record taught me poetry with the use of such strong metaphors, world play and repeating ideas and it also taught me that sad songs are the best thing in the world.
Bill Withers - Just As I Am Bill Withers – Just As I Am
I bought this on cassette tape from my local music shop when I was about nine years old; I’d heard Ain’t No Sunshine on the film Notting Hill and would play that song over and over again.
I don’t think I knew what ‘Soul’ was when I was nine but I knew I felt something in the groves and in Bill’s voice that made me want to sing and praise something.
Coldplay - Parachutes Coldplay – Parachutes
First album on CD I think which was bought for me by my Dad after my parents separated. I was drawn to the piano around this age (10) and already I loved sad songs, this album had plenty!
When I listen to it now it’s hard to separate the nostalgia from the appreciating of the music. Every musician I know have said how incredible they think this first album of Coldplay’s is and I still love it and every word on it.
I have nothing technical or remotely clever to say about it, I’m a 10 year old boy laying on my bed listening to it now, and that’ll never change.
Chilly Gonzales - Solo Piano Chilly Gonzales – Solo Piano
At this point (age 14) I was obsessed with the piano and wanted to play everyday and was composing instrumental music. I found this album on iTunes simply looking for solo piano.
Chilly named this album wisely and I’m so glad I found it and discovered his as an artist. I connected so much with this cinematic style composition and loved the simplicity, i.e. just piano and nothing else.
The pieces themselves are genius with the most graceful and interesting melodies. The harmony used on this album certainly inspired a lot of my own compositions.

PJ Harvey  - White Chalk PJ Harvey  – White Chalk
I’d heard Polly’s previous records briefly growing up but it wasn’t until White Chalk and at the age of 17 that I bought a record myself and fell in love.
Again the piano was playing a huge part in my musical taste and the melancholy had reached a new level. The concept of the record resonated with me so well and it was this album that made me want to write my own music. This album is vastly different to PJ’s earlier work but it catapulted me back to her early work with equal love and admiration.
I love how Polly plays the piano in this record, almost child-like in her approach. I remember thinking she made the piano sound cool, I wanted to play like that.
Radiohead - In RainbowsRadiohead – In Rainbows
Again, I’d heard a lot of Radiohead’s earlier records but this was the first one I’d wholeheartedly connected with at release.
This is perhaps the best album I’ve ever heard and taught me so much lyrically and musically and emotionally.
The rhythm’s challenged me, made me want to dance and made me want to be a musician.
Portishead - Third Portishead – Third
At 18 I went to University and met all the musicians I now call friends. We introduced each other to so much music and talked about our shared loves.
This album came out this year and we all fell in love with it. Beth Gibbons voice is like no others, balancing fragility over these industrial beats. I love the sparseness. It’s bold and has every right to be because it’s fucking brilliant!
As I write about these records that I admire so much, I realise that I can’t say anything that does justice to how good they are. 
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Favourite album ever and the ultimate benchmark for quality music for me.
I feel this album demonstrates why songs are written; the songs feel as though they were meant to be written, to be sung and be to heard exactly in this way; it shares a message that’s best told through song – the story of the people.
Such a human record.

Björk - Vulnicura

Björk – Vulnicura

This album made so much sense to be when I first heard it. I’d come out of relationship just months before its release.
Björk’s lyrical style made the meaning so painfully obvious and no other writing style would work better.
Even though this is very recent release I feel it’s influence on me is once of the strongest in this list. I got that feeling after to hearing it that I would forever write differently now.
Spice Girls - Spice Spice Girls – Spice
I thought I could leave this album off the list and perhaps include Patti Smith or Kate Bush or maybe Dave Brubeck or Steve Reich but no, this album really did make me because it was one of the first records that I sang top to tail every day and it’s genius pop songwriting.
I love this album and it really did teach me what I know about pop songs. In my eyes it’s flawless and makes me happy because allows my musical brain free. 

Douglas Dare’s Aforger is out now through Erased Tapes. He plays London’s Electrowerkz on 8 November 2016. Tour dates and further information can be found here.

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More on Douglas Dare
Douglas Dare – Milkteeth
This Music Made Me: Douglas Dare
Douglas Dare – Aforger
Douglas Dare – Whelm