Soundtrack Of My Life: Max Richter

Soundtrack Of My Life: Max Richter

The first song I remember hearing

The Beatles – ‘Here Comes The Sun’

“The second side of ‘Abbey Road’ is pretty much a perfect piece of music. This is a George Harrison song and it has an amazing Moog synthesizer section at the end. It keeps doing this repeated chord sequence and then opens the filter on the synth and it’s just ‘woah!’ For me, I was like, ‘What is that noise?!’ It sounded like the future. It blew my mind.”

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The first album I bought

Kraftwerk – ‘Autobahn’

“It was really formative for me. I heard Kraftwerk on a TV nature doc – this pulsing bassline, and I wrote a letter to the BBC asking them what it was. There wasn’t any other way to find out, I couldn’t shazam it! They didn’t write back but I went into the record store and found it anyway. It lit a fuse for me around electronic sounds.”

The first gig I went to

Queen at Wembley Arena in December 1980

“It was the day after John Lennon was shot. They did an acoustic cover of ‘Imagine’ and it was introduced very simply. It was a quiet moment and it felt like the end of something.”

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The song that reminds me of home

Sex Pistols – ‘Anarchy In The UK’

“My teen listening experience was very much punk and post-punk. Bedford, where I grew up, was a bit of a powder keg because there were a lot of different ethnic communities. But it was also the headquarters of the British Movement, a fascist organisation, and Solidarność, a Polish workers union. All these different things came together at that time and it was pretty violent. You were definitely likely to get your head kicked in on a Saturday night for no reason. Punk fitted in quite well.”

The song I wish I’d written

Joni Mitchell – ‘Little Green’

“It’s one of the most incredible artworks of the last decade. She is so underrated historically, a transformative visionary and incredible songwriter. I could listen to that album, ‘Blue’, all day long forever. I heard it in my teens and I don’t think I was ready to understand it. It’s really heavy and felt like it was for someone who had been through more than I had. I get it more now.”

The song I do at karaoke

Pink Floyd – ‘Bike’

“I like these slightly mad English eccentrics, like Syd Barrett. I think that era of Pink Floyd was their most interesting. It was very experimental and freeform. The language of rock music was being invented. I’m not a singer, but a song like this isn’t really about the singing.”

The song I can’t get out of my head

Billie Eilish – ‘bad guy’

“My daughter has been rinsing Billie Eilish. I think she’s a massive talent, somebody who’s got a way of being musical and exploring her vocal world that is very intelligent. Her and Finneas have been writing songs forever – the first stuff is from when she was 13, it’s nuts. For them, working and living are probably the same which is often the case with interesting artists. There’s no dividing line.”

The song that makes me want to dance

Chic – ‘I Want Your Love’

“It’s super direct and hits you in a physical way. But it’s also, speaking to the composer in me, incredibly well-made. The outro to ‘I Want Your Love’ is super nerdy from a musical point of view – all the lights go on in my head (‘Oh yeah, I get it!’). There’s this string line at the end which goes across the bar in a very clever way. I’m just like, chef’s kiss!”

The song I want played at my funeral

David Bowie – ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’

“I love the attitude of the song. It has this freedom to it, which a lot of Bowie‘s stuff does. I don’t know how the audience would react but then funerals are weird, aren’t they?”

Max Richter’s new album ‘Exiles’ is out August 6

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