James Murphy – Pieces Of Me

The LCD Soundsystem mainman on modern art, the song that soundtracked his first E and his serious Fall obsession

James Murphy

My first album
‘The Yes Album’ – Yes
When I was eight, my brother was into classic rock and prog rock, so, this meant I was into classic rock and prog rock! To this day I still have a huge Yes collection that I crack out every now and again. I thought it was rad. Spaceships, songs about ancient sailors and so on.”



My first gig
The Ramones, 1985, City Gardens, Trenton, New Jersey
“I was never all that into the Ramones but [seeing them] seemed like a rite of passage to a kid listening to weird music. It was really loud but I thought they’d be weirder. I had the same impression of the Sex Pistols too, I thought, ‘This sounds like The Go-Go’s.”

The first song I fell in love with
’Tomorrow Never Knows’ – The Beatles
“It just sounded crazy. I liked psychedelic stuff when I was a kid, and the energy of that song is really intense. It also happens to be the first song I did ecstasy to, by accident. It was playing when I peaked on my first E.”

The book that changed me
’The Recognitions’ by William Gaddis
“I read it in the ‘90s and it blew me away. It became a source of friendship for a lot of people. It’s about an art forger in Greenwich Village in the early 1950s. It’s a great depiction of American voices and speech patterns and pretensions and restraints.”

My favourite painting
’Blue Panel’ by Ellsworth Kelly
“It’s just a blue panel. I remember being on a school trip to a museum when I was 12, and not really caring about it. This was the first thing I looked at that was intellectually confusing and awesome. My classmate said, ‘That’s nothing, it’s just a blue thing.’ I wasn’t old enough to be pretentious, I was just, ‘This rules.’ They were like, ‘I could do it.’ Yeah, but you didn’t. It was the first time I had that revelation of just a great idea.”

Favourite TV show
30 Rock
“It’s smart and stupid at the same time. I watch Ultimate Fighting at home. But 30 Rock goes in my eyeballs, makes me laugh and doesn’t make me feel totally insulted.”

Favourite film
Hail the New Puritan
“A life-changing film by Charles Atlas, it’s a documentary about Michael Clark’s dance troupe, with music by The Fall from the mid-‘80s. I saw it as a kid and it blew my mind.”


My favourite place
“I love Japan but in Tokyo I feel the most comfortable. I have good friends there, I love to eat there and walk around, simple things like going to the supermarket are like some other world.”

My favourite lyric
’In the Park’ by The Fall
“It’s probably ‘A good mind does not a good boff make’. That’s an undeniably good line. There’s so many from The Fall though, they’re my favourite band in the world.”


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