As music writers, we’re always trying to hoist influences onto musicians, we hear other bands everywhere in the music people make – but how often is the music that actually influences someone not that much like the music they make?
Take the Pet Shop Boys, we can’t say we’ve heard much 2 Pac in their music, but they cite California Love as an influence on Electricity; they also note the influence on other tracks of Sonic The Hedgehog, ZZ Top and Take That – much credit to any journalist who’d worked that out for themselves!
There’s plenty of other examples too; Jonny Rotten famously modelled his Sex Pistols-persona on Sir Lawrence Olivier, Pink Floyd are named after too relatively obscure blues musicians, while Public Enemy’s Chuck D has suggested his delivery style was heavily influenced by Basketball commentary legend, Marv Albert. So who knows just who’s influencing your favourite musician, has Angel Olsen been taking vocal tips from Valerie Singleton? Is Nick Cave a secret Bucks Fizz fan? Do Sleaford Mods steal ideas from J. S. Bach? We just don’t know.
Enderbys’s Room is ostensibly the solo project of Lincolnshire-raised fiddle player, Dan Mayfield. If Dan seems familiar, that’s because he’s carved out something of a niche as the Indie-Pop scenes fiddle-for-hire, performing with the likes of Allo Darlin’, The Wave Pictures and Daniel Johnston. Now finally given a long enough break from playing other people’s music, and from running his own musical education charity School Of Noise, Dan’s set to release his debut album later this year on the excellent Fika Recording. A collection of songs penned over the last decade or so, Enderby’s Room’s debut album features much of their current five-piece live band, and see’s instruments as diverse as French horn, double bass, ukulele, and rather oddly getting it’s second mention on this site in the last week, a Victorian Pedal Harmonium.
Lifting the name from an Anthony Burgess character called Mr Enderby who composed his prose inside the toilet, Enderby’s Room’s sound is a fusing of Dan’s roots in traditional folk composition and his more recent dabbling into the murky world of Indie. Recent single Lakeside is a fine example; a duet with Deerful’s Emma Winston, it’s two perfectly matched voices chiming together in unison as they sketch a tale of unrequited love, as a steady acoustic guitar line is plucked, before rich, waves of violin drift into earshot. Beautiful and honest, this is a very promising teaser of what should be an intriguing debut album.
Today Dan has put together a mix of some of his favourite songs, and songs that have influenced his songwriting, and whilst we can certainly hear some of Low, Kate Rusby or even Ivor Cuttler in his music, we must admit the presence of Nirvana is something of a wonderful curve ball.
1. Vic Chesnutt – Worst Friend
I was fortunate got to see Vic play in Chicago in 2009 and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. This song in particular stood out and its sadness and humour beautifully encapsulates his music
2. Richard and Linda Thompson – Down Where the Drunkards Roll
Taken from my most listened to record I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, the stark instrumentation on this song sits delicately alongside its sombre lyrics.
3. Múm – Green Grass of Tunnel
I love the little tinkling noises and vocals on this track as it conjures up a childlike fairytale world on a frozen Icelandic tundra.
4. Shirley Collins – May Carol / Southover
There’s just a sincerity to her voice that I really like. Synonymous with the English folk revival of the 1960’s, Shirley recently released her first album in over 30 years at the age of 81! And of course there’s a touch of Morris Dancing in here too.
5. Stealing Sheep – Apparition
This band are great and the song is brilliant. And the video also includes more Morris Dancing!
6. Ivor Cutler – Beautiful Cosmos
This man could make a audience howl with laughter or, as with this performance, bring himself and everyone else to tears. Ivor Cutler often performed with a pedal harmonium similar to the one we have in the band. These instruments are just wonderful to play as both hands and feet are required to work away to bring their sound to life.
7. Low – Sunflower
This song was one of the first that inspired me to begin writing songs. I really enjoy Low’s vocals and have tried to use similar harmonies in some of the Enderby’s Room songs.
8. Kate Rusby – Underneath the Stars
Kate’s voice is stunning and the song structure is beautifully uncomplicated. The brass section towards the end is magical.
9. Withered Hand – (It’s a) Wonderful Lie
Gorgeous melody, a heartfelt voice, and he’s a very nice chap too.
10. Nirvana – Mollys Lips
Probably not what you’d expect to see listed among these other bands, but this song holds a place in my musical history. This was one of the first songs I ever played live in my first school band called Ventolin (we thought it sounded like a rock band). Borrowing my dads Ceilidh bands PA system and smoke machine we preceded to play the whole of Nirvana’s Incesticide album. I’m certain it sounded terrible, but nonetheless this track conjures up a very fond memory of first performing in a band.
Enderby’s Room’s debut album is out April 21st via Fika Recordings.