Diagrams’ Sam Genders has taken time from working on his and poet Dorothy Trogdon’s forthcoming crowfunded album to share with us some of his favourite tracks. The album Dorothy, made up of “aching melodies, thoughtful poetic lyrics and subtle, beautiful arrangements”, has a host of famous collaborators helping the Throws musician and 90-years old writer. We’ll hand you over to the man himself to explain how his Fix List is inspiring his current work:
I'm currently on tour in Europe with my other band Throws and these are the songs that have been filling my ears between venues and service stations as cities and mountains pass by the windows. I've also been listening through to the Diagrams 'Dorothy' album one last time as I'll be sending it off for mastering in Sheffield soon.
I'm currently crowdfunding to self release the album in the spring. It's an album of songs I wrote with a 90 year old poet called Dorothy Trogdon and it's also the most folk inspired album I've made since the Tunng days so it feels somehow appropriate to be here on tour with Mike (Mike Lindsay - Sam's Throws band mate and old Tunng collaborator) who helped produce the album.
Some of the artists here have also influenced the Dorothy record, This is The Kit's Kate Stables and James Yorkston for example fit into a very long list of songwriters with folk leanings for whom lyrics are key to their work and who have influenced my writing. Richard and Linda Thompson have long been making it onto playlists of mine. Working with Dorothy has helped me to refocus on my lyric writing so it's especially nice to have James Yorkston's spoken word 'Woozy with Cider' featured here.
Ross Blake - 'Lost a Baby'
Ross is playing drums for Throws on this tour but is a multi-instrumentalist composer in his own right and has just completed an amazing sound track for the film ‘Pretty On Rose’. I've been listening to it on the road and finding it very inspiring. This is a song from his earlier EP Parallel Wine.
Teitur Magnússon - 'Allt líf'
I met Teitur in Iceland recently when Throws performed at the Airwaves festival. Mike produced his album and it's a beautiful and odd record that sounds like something beamed direct from the 70s. Teitur is an interesting character, gentle and creatively intense with great songs, and he seems to have a strong sense of social responsibility that comes across in his live performances. His concerts have a community feel, with the audience regularly singing along.
Davy Graham - 'Anji'
I like Graham's version of this classic guitar tune. I don't have it with me, but yesterday Mike was playing it on the kids acoustic guitar we have in the van with us as we drove through Switzerland. The guitar's with us for fun but also so we can rehearse parts in between cities if we need to.
Jae Tyler - 'Life as a Wall'
Tyler is a multi-instrumentalist musical genius who plays all the instruments on his album, and I think he'll be getting a lot better known very soon. I love the energy and creativity of this song. The video is great too.
Mr. Silla - 'Breathe'
When she's not working on this solo project Silla is a member of the band Múm. She sang on the Throws album and joined us on stage at Airwaves recently. She's very much in demand as a collaborator and somehow played around 15 shows with different bands and projects during the festival. She's an amazing performer, having a totally natural onstage ease and presence.
Andy Shauf - 'The Magician'
Diagrams guitarist Max Zoccheddu introduced me to Andy Schauf's album when we were playing a few Diagrams shows recently. Max is a very good person to have around on tour because he's always got several great news artists or albums to recommend, and his phone is always full of brilliant music to while away the hours on the road. This album, Early to the Party, is especially good.
This Is The Kit - ‘Birchwood Beaker’
Over the years I've often found myself on the same billing or festival stage as This Is The Kit and I've come to love this beautiful song. Kate's singing is as flawless live as on her recordings.
Brian Eno - 'And Then So Clear'
As Diagrams I was recently asked to play a concert and live session for Bob Harris who asked me to play a cover for the session. I chose this song from Eno's 2005 album Another Day On Earth, in part because I was sure our version would sound nothing like the original, and in part because I felt it would suit Astra Forward's beautiful harmony singing. Astra has been singing with me since 2011 on and off and her voice has the most incredible gentle tone. I feel lucky to have her singing on several songs on the Dorothy album.
AC/DC - 'Back In Black'
On the first night of this current tour we stopped at a lay-by somewhere in a remote part of France. The lay-by just had a picnic bench and a small toilet block that for some reason had a tannoy system playing this song by the deserted roadside. In the misty darkness it was slightly odd and dreamlike.
James Yorkston - ‘Woozy With Cider'
I'm interested in the overlap between poetry and lyrics and spoken word songs often appeal to me. This one is especially good and I like this Jon Hopkins remix version.
Richard and Linda Thompson - ‘I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight'
A big part of my musical education came to me 20 years ago when I lodged in the house of Colin and Sylvia Hall in Matlock Bath in Derbyshire. They introduced me to a lot of folk and folk inspired music including this great song. Colin went on to become my first manager and we went all around the country playing in small venues and festivals and had a brilliant time together.
Farao - 'The Hours'
This is another artist Mike produced and he and I had the opportunity to play with her in London last year. She's a brilliant songwriter, performer and producer. I love the execution of this simple idea for a music video.
Read further details on, including how to support, the Dorothy album here. Keep tabs on Diagrams: Facebook, Twitter, Web
Photo credit: Paul Heartfield/Chrissie Abbot.