These Artists Told Us About The Magic Of David Bowie When He Released ‘The Next Day’

David Bowie’s death was as conceptually impeccable as his life. He bowed out just days after releasing ‘Blackstar’, a wildly innovative and forward-thinking record that saw him refuse to rest on his laurels. That was preceded by ‘The Next Day’, a more traditional – and equally brilliant – rock album influenced by his own work from the 1970s. So, a reminder of his towering legacy and a reminder of his contemporary relevance. In 2013, celebrating the release of ‘The Next Day’, we spoke to artists influenced by the legendary superstar. Here’s what they said about the man who was born David Jones, but became a self-made myth that is sure to endure.

Tony Visconti
Long-time collaborator who produced ‘Blackstar’ and its predecessor ‘The Next Day’, discusses the latter

“‘The Next Day’ and its bonus tracks is not a nostalgic trip. Every serious artist has a keynote way of writing, that is what I recognise in his work. There are several traceable references and elements in his new works; he can’t help being himself. The sound and style of ‘The Next Day’ is now. This is new music from David Bowie and it sounds like David Bowie! Working with David has become a kind of life long occupation for me with the studio albums we’ve created together reaching double digits. He has made some of my favorite recordings with other producers, but I hardly need to say that I love working with him and that I love my job… We work side by side, we have good communication, we’ve been through a lot. It shows, I think you can hear that. I am happy to hear he has been writing and I feel that the new songs will be even more awesome (did I just say awesome?) than before.”

Paul Weller
The Modfather on his favourite record of all time

“I think everyone is influenced by him. ‘Low’, which is the first of his Berlin albums, has always been my favourite record, and even more so recently the more I’ve listened to it.”

Johnny Marr
Smiths guitarist and former friend of Morrissey talks up the transformative power of Ziggy Stardust

Dean Chalkley/NME

“David Bowie is easily the most influential and important artist to come out of the UK. There are musician who are influenced by him who don’t even realise it. …’Ziggy Stardust…’ liberated so many people from the straight sensibility in the suburbs. People who I grew up admiring, like Pete Shelley from the Buzzcock, or Ian Curtis, were hugely influence by Bowie. No Bowie, no john Lydon… or lots of other people.”

St. Vincent
Art-rocker Annie Clark discusses the artist who was “more than a whole”

“Labyrinth was probably my first introduction to David Bowie, it came out when I was four. On first impression, he seemed sphinx-like: half-cat, half-man, half-bird, which I realise makes him three halves, but that’s actually accurate – he’s more than a whole.

“He really is the whole package: a great, sophisticated songwriter with a point of view and an eye on the future, and also with a voice that could sell his ideas, and a line like, “Children round the world put camel shit on the walls” [from ‘It’s No Game (No 2)’]. It’s very rare that people have all three of those things. He wrote the best songs of the 20th century. He is the epitome of the mythmaker and of reinvention. You could look at David Bowie and not know if he was a human or an alien, a man or a woman, gay or straight – he played with all that ambiguity…

“If there’s one thing I got from David Bowie, it’s the idea that you can be a shape-shifter and never be pinned down – that if people get the same thing from you every time, then that’s actually disappointing. Some bands do well by being consistent, but for people like David Bowie, the fact that you didn’t know what you were gonna get with each record, each phase, that he was constantly reinventing and keeping one step ahead of everybody – that was very inspiring; he’s inimitable.

Irvine Welsh
Trainspotting writer grapples with the question of his favourite Bowie record

“It’s really difficult for me to pick a favourite Bowie record. I’m a big fan of his voice on things like ‘Young Americans’ and ‘Station To Station’. He has that big soulful voice on those records and he’d really putting himself into doing that kind of stuff. I really love some of the lesser known tracks, like ‘Can You Hear Me?’ from ‘Young Americans’. That song has a really fantastic vocal performance. Also the title track from ‘Station To Station’ will always be one of my favourite Bowie songs… Everybody I know that’s from my generation who has grown up with his records has been influenced by Bowie. It’s been such a big emotional experience.”

Serge Pizzorno
The Kasabian rocker praises Bowie’s penchant for taking creative risks

“The 1973 Ziggy Stardust show at the Odeon is the greatest recorded gig I’ve ever seen. I suppose it’s his attitude of just truly being who you are and not being frightened to fall over, you know what I mean? Not being frightened for some people to not get it, that’s what I truly respect.”

Frank Black
Pixies frontman charts the lineage from ‘50s rock-n-roll to Bowie’s finest work

“There’s probably not another musician who could have such impact [as Bowie]. I don’t even think someone like Sir Paul McCartney could have that impact, as big as he is. Or Neil Young or other iconic people. It’s his entrance that commands everybody’s attention, especially as he’s been off the scene for a while. People are curious about what he might do. Really big stars might do a record and people might love it and they may have a very successful world tour, but it doesn’t quite grab the spotlight in the same way. He’s an interesting cat…

“There’s this thing he does where he’ll sing a whole verse an octave up. There’ll be him singing his more natural range, and him singing a higher falsetto as well. It’s a type of doubling but it’s two distinct notes and it’s not a harmony, so that kind of sound I’m particularly stuck on. I don’t know if he invented it or whatever…

“He really is the bridge between real rock’n’roll music of the 1950s and the rock’n’roll music of the distant future that hasn’t even occurred yet. He’s a futurist. Whether it’s the image or the language or the willingness to embrace different styles or the theatrical ness of it all. It’s just kind of larger than life… There’s some swagger there that’s really rock’n’roll, but also links to somewhere in the distant future. I can’t think of another artist that goes to where his rainbow goes to, it’s beyond the arch of his own life. He’s a first-class act.”

Noel Gallagher
Former Oasis man recalls a mushrooms and Bowie party

“I’ve been a fan of David Bowie since Morrissey started going on about him. Channel 4 used to do these five-minute profiles about a certain artists and potheads were into it cos it’d be Jefferson Airplane or Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. There was one on David Bowie once night and they’re all on mushrooms and it was the first time I’d ever seen the footage from ‘Heroes’, and it was like, ‘Fucking hell, it’s unbelievable’.”

Faris Badwan
The Horrors frontman unwittingly anticipates ‘Blackstar’

Dean Chalkley/NME

“It’s hard to stick around in people’s heads at the moment – you basically have to keep releasing records and tour endlessly, bombard listeners from all angles. From what Tony Visconti said about the quality of the Bowie songs yet to be released, it sounds like he’s retained the desire to keep making records after ‘The Next Day’. Really, though, no-one has any idea what he’ll do next. All you can ask of the musicians you’re into is that they remain both distinctive and hard to predict.”

Lady Gaga
From one pop chameleon to another…

Dean Chalkley/NME

“I look at Bowie as an icon in art. It’s not just about the music. It’s about the performance, the attitude, the look; it’s everything.”

James Murphy
The man behind LCD Soundsystem (who knows a thing or two about a comeback) on why Bowie is bigger than the Beatles

Pieter M Van Hattem/NME

‘His whole legacy is enormous – I can’t imagine the world without him. As important as The Beatles are, I could see that someone else would have done it a little later. A lot of what they were boiling down were very broad things that were happening in culture, and they were early because they were flying in planes and nobody had the internet. But Bowie was channelling such strange undercurrents. Rock history could have gone on without him but it would have been radically different. Black Sabbath was inevitable. Led Zeppelin was inevitable. Pink Floyd was inevitable. I don’t think David Bowie was inevitable. He created something that could otherwise not have been. That’s a pretty giant thing.’

Grimes
Pop polymath Claire Boucher praises the man’s androgyny and mythology

Joey Maloney/NME

“I really like him for his appearance; I love androgyny in any capacity – it’s magnetic. It confuses people but it’s ultimately a very attractive thing. He’s basically the male Madonna, he reinvented himself a lot and that’ way cool… The albums are really different – the way he presents himself with every album is totally different. He’s not stuck in this idea of who he is supposed be. But at the same time he also maintains a really strong aesthetic, even though he’s changing his stuff all the time, which is realty impressive… I think [‘… Ziggy Stardust…’] is interesting because [Bowie was] preceding the glam aspect of punk in the States, which ended up turning into contemporary music. That’s a massive thing, especially after all the classic rock and people in jeans and flannel. It was a huge statement. That’s what it’s all about – building a mythology around himself.”

Mark Ronson
The ‘Uptown Funk’ co-creator recalls the time Bowie and The Strokes collided

“I can remember seeing him when I was playing bass in a friend’s band who opened for the Strokes. He stood and watched The Strokes from the side. He was anointing the new coolest kids. It’s funny, when you watch a band from the side, everyone is huddled up, but everyone was so respectful that Bowie was given a 10-foot radius around him.”