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Public Service Broadcasting's Ultimate Playlist


Public Service Broadcasting are not exactly your average pop band. A duo formed of J. Willgoose, Esq. and Wrigglesworth, they produce instrumental songs with merely archived spoken word samples for company.

Yet they are one of the most thrilling live bands we've seen in the past few years, stumbling across them at last year's Bestival where they stormed an afternoon tent with the addition of fantastic live visuals. Their most recent album, entitled The Race For Space, saw them produce a concept record about man's journey to the stars; one of the must-listen albums of the year so far, which hit the lofty heights on number 11 on the UK album chart upon release.

We caught up with J. Willgoose Esq. (while watching the Test Match) to discover his ultimate playlist and the stories behind the choices. Stay tuned for some excellent selections.

Listen to the whole playlist on Spotify

Favourite Sad Song

"This is probably the hardest one out of the lot to choose. It changes all the time. It could be Radiohead's Videotape. But let's go with Nina Simone, Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair - which isn't actually a million miles away from Videotape in my head, just something very affecting about it. A very simple bare piano arrangement. She plays it beautifully and the first time I ever heard it it just totally stopped me in my tracks. It's just a remarkable piece of music."

Favourite Movie Soundtrack

"I think I would go with, as a whole, Blade Runner. It's a big influence in a number of ways - you can't go wrong with a bit of Vangelis really. The whole design of that film - sound design, production design - everything about it is amazing, so we'll go with that."

Favourite song from your Childhood

"I was looking at Metronomy's choices the other day and he chose it as his favourite wedding song, but Nik Kershaw - The Riddle. It's pretty much the first song I can remember hearing in the back of the car and I just remember getting so excited every time I heard the little snare roll at the start, and I'm pretty sure that's one of the reasons why we put a little snare roll at the start of [Public Service Broadcasting song] Gagarin - because I was sort of chasing that excitement. It's just such a great song, I love it. I love him too, I think he's really underrated as an actual songwriter rather than just kind of a novelty pop icon. I think he's a fantastic songwriter."

Favourite song that no one else has heard of

"I bought an album recently by a guy called Jürgen Müller called Science of the Sea. There's a song called Seabed Meditation, which sounds very hippyish but it's not, it's just a nice piece of old German 80s synth noodling. I just stumbled across it online, as soon as I heard it I had to buy it. It's just got a beautiful feel to it, a beautiful sound. It's very relaxing. I think it's great. It really reminds me of the soundtrack to The Life Aquatic actually."

Favourite club anthem

"I'm not really one for clubbing per se, so it's tricky. If I heard something, what would get me running, basically sprinting towards the dancefloor - I'm not sure it counts as a club anthem but I'm going to go with Beastie Boys - Intergalatic. It's just 100% fun. I love them, I'm still cut up about MCA, it's just such a shame. Beastie Boys at Bestival in 2007 was one of the best moments of my life - I was dressed up as a pirate and waving my cutlass around - it was amazing."

Favourite wedding song

"At my wedding recently, we finished the whole thing with Man In The Mirror. I don't think it gets any better than that. It's just such an incredible song. Imagine having written that song? Imagine being like "oh yeah, that was me, I wrote that, that's one of mine". It's just beautiful. I highly recommend - if anyone hasn't seen it - the Spike Lee documentary about Bad - the 25 year anniversary - it's absolutely incredible. The level of detail that Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones and everyone involved in that album went to in putting it together - it's an eye-opener."

Favourite one hit wonder

"This changes all the time, but I love Junior Senior - Move Your Feet. Brilliant song, great video, good fun. Definitely."

Favourite lyric from a song

"It's got to be Nick Cave. I think he's the funniest and most acerbic and dark lyricist there's ever been. Red Right Hand I think: 'You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan, designed and directed by his Red Right Hand'. If you see him do it live as well, he's just 100 percent charisma - he is the king. [Is there a particular spoken sample that stands out from your own songs?] I really like the line in Everest: "Two very small men cutting steps in the roof of the world" - it's got a real poetry to it. That song is quite important in terms of the time we wrote it and how it had to kind of keep things moving and it's ended up probably being my favourite of ours."

Favourite current song

"The recent My Morning Jacket album, which is called The Waterfall - there's a song on there called Only Memories Remain. It's just one of the most restrained, beautiful, incredible pieces of music. And what I like about it is that restraint in it. Holding things back, everything really controlled... I can't describe it, you just have to listen to it - it's just got a feel to it that you can't fake."

Favourite song from your own music

"That changes all the time, depending on how things are going down live. I think at the moment I'm really enjoying playing Go, so I'll probably go with that. It's between that and Everest - that's kind of the most personally important, I think, out of all of them."



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