UB40 - One in Ten (dub version)
I'm not a huge fan of where UB40 ended up but their first album was great. I was 12 or 13 at boarding school when I discovered it. I was living with a guy whose parents lived in Singapore. The poor fella was always by himself. They used to lavish him with flash presents and one was an early portable tape deck with amazing headphones.
When he put this on it was the first time I'd ever heard delays and echos. I was blown away. I'd never heard anything like it. I didn't know what I was listening to but I knew it was cool. I'd mostly listened to music from the radio up until then. UB40 were legit for the first half of their career.
Talking Heads - This Must be the Place (Naive Melody)
When I started getting into music in my later years in high school, I was a huge fan of Radio With Pictures. It was the only place you could find new music. I was glued to the TV every Sunday night. I remember when the album [Speaking in Tongues] dropped. The first video I saw was Making Flippy Floppy, which is a strange tune with a weird video but I really liked it and got the album.
I love this tune. It's one of the few songs that got high radio play that has a 16-bar intro without any vocals or anything. One of David Byrne's qualities is that he can write music that's just a little bit strange but has wide appeal. Talking Heads are probably my favourite band in the world. Not necessarily my favourite music all the time but, as far as a band goes, I think they're the best band in the world.
Welcome to the Terrordome - Public Enemy
I became a huge fan of hip-hop in my late teens. I was playing senior rugby at a reasonable level and this lived in my headphones pre-game for about three years.
It was the first time I'd ever heard street sound effects and crazy chaos in a production. It was new and exciting. It was a good tune to fire up before a game. That's what I used it for.
I saw Public Enemy at the Wellington Town Hall the first time they came here in the 90s. They kept us waiting a long time and then eventually came on. The police were unsure what to expect. There was no trouble at all but I think they were expecting them to incite riots. But there was nothing of the sort. They were great. It was an exciting night.
Brown Paper Bag - Roni Size
When this came into my life I was doing a lot of DJ-ing in Wellington when tricklings of jungle and drum 'n' bass were coming through. I really enjoyed it but I wasn't too sure about it. I think when Roni Size dropped Brown Paper Bag it legitimised them as a proper genre. He won the Mercury Prize for that album.
I've always been into dub music and even though this hinted at jazz it was another take on dub music for me. It was heavily rhythm-based, it's got great drums and a great bassline, a few weird noises and not a lot else. I'm one of the few people who scored a promo vinyl of this when it first came out. I've still got that copy.
Midnight Marauders - DJ Fitchie & Joe Dukie
I'm proud of this. Without sounding weird or conceited it still sounds amazing to me. It's the first thing I put on vinyl with Dallas [Tamaira aka Joe Dukie, vocalist Fat Freddy's Drop] and the start of our relationship, which has been a great music-making relationship for the last 20 years.
I was doing shows on Radio Active when it was still a student station. Dallas came up, he was an actor from Christchurch who was touring a play. I met him and hung out and worked out that singing and music was what he wanted to be doing. I said, "Move up to Wellington and let's get it on!" And that's what he did.
Midnight Marauders was an experiment really. We knew that vinyl was important so we decided to press up 300 copies with our own money and then proceeded to try to get copies out to people around the world. That kicked off Fat Freddy's Drop, really.
* As told to Karl Puschmann. Fat Freddy's Drop play Outerfields at Western Springs, Saturday, March 6. Tickets on sale now.