Dave Sitek, TV On The Radio – Pieces Of Me

The man behind TV On The Radio and Maximum Balloon on his love of punk, new wave cinema and ‘fake gay German hardcore dance’

My first single
‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ by Simple Minds
“I was about 11 and I went to the record store to ask them for the new Billy Idol song. They were like, ‘There is no new Billy Idol song,’ and I was going, ‘There is, you’re not listening!’ It turned out it was Simple Minds, but if you listen to it and picture Billy Idol singing it, it’s not that much of a stretch.”

My first gig
John Denver
“I think I was seven or eight years old. My dad won tickets to the gig from a radio show. Then we got to meet John and go on his bus. I think I was like ‘guitars are neat’, or something. The second gig I ever went to was [legendary British Oi! punkers] The Exploited and Charged GBH, so it was kind of a leap of extremes.”

The first song I fell in love with
‘Pay To Cum’ BY Bad Brains
“I heard it and I was just like, ‘FUUUUUUUUUCK!’ In a big country, this was the first time I realised I could participate, that it wasn’t all just this far-off distant thing. At that time my dad was unemployed; he worked in the environmental sector and this was the Reagan years, there was no environment. This was the first time I actually thought about punching the government in the face.”

My favourite lyric
‘Well Paid Scientist’ BY Dead Kennedys
“‘You’ve gotta punch the clock/Too scared to punch your boss’ – it says it all really.”

My favourite album
‘El CorazÓn’ by Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell
“It’s the record I listen to the most. It’s just such a wide-open, spectral record. To me the best music can transport you spiritually, take you to a wild, open place. I mean, this record is like direct access to a whole other experience. It can make you forget that we’re living in two-thousand and whatever the fuck and give you a more universal, longer view of things.”

My favourite film
Breathless by Jean-Luc Godard
“I really love Jean-Luc Godard – his interviews as much as his artwork. I love the sentiment of being present, being deliberate and being honest with yourself despite reason. You can tell he just had a few rough ideas when he started directing it, but he just went with it.”

A hero of mine
Sanu Kaji Shrestha
“He runs an organisation called Foundation For Sustainable Technologies – known as FoST – in Nepal. He makes parabolic heaters for water just by taking whatever is lying around: garbage, refuse, scrap metal. He works with it, and teaches people how to make these heaters with what they’ve got. Just watching him make the most with what he’s got is totally inspiring.”

The song that gets me on the dancefloor
‘I Dig Men’ by Zeigenbock Kopf
“They’re a fake gay industrial German hardcore dance band. Every time I’ve spun it the place goes wild until they start listening to the lyrics. It’s completely hilarious and one of my favourite records of all time.”

This article originally appeared in the October 23 issue of NME

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