Alan Haber writes: And now the fourth time is, again, the charm. With Coke Belda 4, Coke has fashioned yet another parcel of tunes that speaks to the heart of people for whom the song continues to be the thing. From Coke’s delicious tribute to Paul McCartney, “Thank You, Paul,” which cleverly calls out the titles of treasured Wings numbers, to the amazing “Watching You,” a song about love gone away that stretches out to more than six minutes of harmonic splendor and lyrical guitar solos, this album is a celebration of the pop music form from one of the form’s modern masters.

Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Coke Belda about ‘4’, well crafted songs, COVID, and Graham Gouldman.

The term ‘well crafted’ is used a lot to describe the quality of your songs. Does that make sense to you?

I believe it does make sense. I try to start each song with the lead melody, aiming for it to be pleasant to the ear and easy to remember, and from there is where I start building up the layers depending on the song. If the result makes someone say that it is a “well crafted” song then I’m happy!

Releasing singles or ep’s seems to be the new norm. Not for you?

Yeah, not for me. When my favorite artists launch a new EP or single I always get mad because I want more of that! I like giving the people everything I can and as long as I believe the songs are good, I’m planning on keep releasing whole records again.

How did this record come together?

Well, after Nummer Zwei, my second solo album, I released the first volume of a Bee Gees tribute, which helped me to set my counter to zero and start again from scratch. This new album contains only new songs written in the past 2 years. It starts like any other record, you are just playing guitar or piano and a new melody appears and then you think “this is good” and then you are already thinking about the cover of the new album, hahaha.

Hard work or did the songs just keep coming?

Writing songs for me is always hard work. I believe in inspiration but most of my songs come after hours and hours of playing. There’s always 1 or 2 songs that for whatever reason they appear as a magic act, and in a few minutes, you have it done!

What was the moment you knew you were on to something?

It took me a while this time. Like a year before the release, I got stuck, I didn’t know if the songs were good enough, I felt like maybe I was making a bad record. I talked to some friends and sent them the songs I had, and all of them said that they thought the songs were great and had potential. I sat down again and I reviewed the songs one by one, I discarded a couple and wrote few more and here we are, I’m happy with the record and very grateful that my friends helped me to carry on.

I survived on ‘music, movies, and books’ in the last couple of months. You?

Well, luckily for me, my job is one of the few that exploded due to the COVID-19, so I definitely survived on my job, but of course, I spent time discovering new music and books. If I can recommend something I would say that the new Graham Gouldman record is great and the masterwork “A Confederacy of Dunces” is a must-read book in life.

Honeywagen – Halfdog (Q&A)

‘For Love’ is such a beautiful song that you may forget to listen to the rest of ‘Half Dog‘ as well. Don’t, there is a lot to discover.
Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Mike Penner.

What was the moment you knew you were on to something?

Haha, when a couple of nice-looking older girls came up and talked to me afterward. This was when I was in my first band in 8th grade 🙂
We were called “Blastwagon” — so you can tell I have progressed 🙂

Honeywagen – a little sweeter and more refined – or if I can quote what Rick Nielsen said about us “Honeywagen — what’s that? — like a Volkswagen with honey poured on it or something?”

How did this record come together?

I wanted to write a “live set” of songs sequentially from beginning to end that I thought would work well in front of a crowd.
So I approached it that way as part of a big picture plan. Start strong, show some versatility with the songs as the set moved along, and finish strong.

I wrote and recorded the songs in the same sequence they appear on the record. I think part of this thinking comes from putting together setlists for live shows over the years.

I made a record like I was putting together a setlist for a show. I also didn’t want anybody to listen to it and say “every song they play kind of sounds the same” haha, so I hope that didn’t happen with this record.

When did you decide to start asking for opinions on the new songs?

That’s an interesting question because I love it when a record is done and you get an opportunity to really get it “out there” to a wider audience. By that I mean your friends and family will always say good things about the songs and record “back home”, but you don’t really know what you’ve got until people you don’t know hear it and start saying (hopefully good) things about it.

As an artist, you chose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?

I tend to not explain my songs and what I was writing about specifically to people because maybe they take on their own thoughts about it. If I would explain “well, this next song is about how I met my wife” that might kind of ruin it for them haha.

Any ideas about how to turn this one into a million-seller?

Oh man, well — opening up for Paul McCartney and/or the Stones on their next tours might help things out a lot!! That is a whole another level above “hey guys, we just gotta get out there and play!”

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

John Lennon – because nobody has inspired me to write, sing, and play as he has done from the first time I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. (I know, so many have said that was “the moment” for them, but it is true with me too)

Alex Chilton – Alex, when he wrote Big Star songs — even up to “In Space” which I love –, had an uncanny knack of putting something really cool and unexpected together that made you go WOW!. chords, melody, words. But the other side of him that is so cool are the things Alex did outside of Big Star. His solo records, playing in a cover band for a time, recording bass tracks on somebody else’s record …

Matthew Sweet – I played 4 or 5 shows with Matthew back in Lincoln NE back when he was 16 yrs old. It has been amazing to follow his career since those days. And the times I have been able to talk to him over the years — he is still that same amazing soul I got to know briefly a long time back. It would be so fun to write and record a song or two with him now.

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

I’m lucky to have some good stories and to have shared the stage with some great bands, but the one I’ll never forget was a time I was subbing on bass for a country band in a club in Lincoln NE.

The dance floor was packed and this one little guy with boots and a cowboy hat had a real pretty blonde girlfriend he was picking up and twirling around out there. It was going great until her head caught a rotating ceiling fan (she was ok!!) but as you know a head cut can bleed pretty good.

Words and language soon followed that event and guys were really mad he didn’t take better care of her and before you knew it a huge fight broke out roadhouse style.

When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?

It’s kind of funny because I don’t always think I’m the best judge of some of my songs. You work on them until you think they work and feel right and yes you hope somebody else will like them too.

Sometimes they come relatively quickly, other times they take me a while — and they might even change a bit after they’ve been played out a few times.

I seem to kick into a different gear when playing with the band vs. maybe first coming up with a song on an acoustic guitar. Each song you write seems kind of like one of your kids in a way.

Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?

Yes, I think so most definitely. First I think you want to have a record that you really thought about and believe in, otherwise, you are selling yourself and others that you hope listen to it short. Making a record is one thing. Getting it out there is the second thing.

Help from others in getting it heard is the third thing. It takes a lot of help from good people to get it heard and my songs wouldn’t be anywhere without that.

Lastly, you hope that people that heard it want to listen to it again and will tell their friends they want to hear it too.

Which 5 records would you bring with you for your stay on Mars?

Haha, I love the Beatles early stuff so much — I guess if I have to pick it would be Beatles ’65 – as I think I’ve bought that one about 4 times because it always seems to have disappeared … Ain’t nobody going to take my Beatles ’65 up on Mars!

Big Star – Columbia: Live at Missouri University (Jim Rondinelli recorded this live – the beginning of a new version of Big Star – so spontaneous and so good!)

Cheap Trick – In Color (not fair and so hard to pick out just one especially from the first three records)

Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out (love the guitars up to 11 through those Ampeg amps so much on this record!)

The Beat – Paul Collins first record out in ’79 (such a perfect 2 guitar, bass, and drums record every song so great – made such an impact on me!)

Recording music. What’s all the fun about?

Technically: Back when the internet was fairly new, I was not shy about reaching out for answers. Being a huge fan of the sound of Brendan OBrien records, I reached out to Southern Tracks in Atlanta specifically asking about how they were getting their drum sounds.

To make a long story short I received invaluable info from the engineers that worked with Brendan to get sounds that I still use today. And studying the records you love the sound of and using those techniques to make a record how you want it to sound. The other thing fun about recording music is writing songs and making records.

I love the entire process of recording, mixing, and mastering.

Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

For me, it is first the challenge of entertaining people. Working a crowd to show them a good time, and get them to forget about stuff. It is even more fun having success with the crowd playing your own songs. Some think the only way you can please a crowd is to play covers. I found out you don’t have to do that.

Always proud to answer ‘I am a musician’ to the question ‘what are you doing?’?

Sure, I’ve learned to just be who I am. Everybody is not going to understand why I like to write songs, sing, and play guitar. Music has always been a big
part of my life. When others are home watching TV, I’m probably down in “the lab” playing my guitar.


I like to hear Ed Ryan sing high notes, I like to hear his hard-rocking guitar solos. I like the melodies he writes, I like the rough mix of his records. I like the stories he tells. What’s not to like? Even Time is a great record.

What makes a good Ed Ryan song?

A good Ed Ryan song? It has to have some emotional resonance, be it through a memorable melody and a meaningful and/or clever lyric. It also helps if it has a good arrangement, a sense of immediacy and it rocks!

While creating the new record, what were the happy moments?

What makes me happy is when I hear the songs take shape and become part of a bigger whole. I loved getting to use all of my guitars and layering them. Seeing the beautiful cover art made me very happy indeed!

You included 4 songs by your old band The Rudies. They need to get out, don’t do?

The original concept for the album came from my son Jesse, he is also an artist and musician. He said that I had all these great older songs that had never seen the light of day, so I should record them and put them out. The Rudies were fairly successful in NYC back in the day, but we had very little recorded and only one single released. I just picked some of my favorites, that are over forty years old, and recorded them. No Time For Love from the Roadmap album is an old Rudies song.

Are you always writing?

I am always writing! As I was recording these old songs for the album I started writing new ones. Like Roadmap, it’s a mix of old and new. The title track, Even Time, is less than six months old. I have an album’s worth of tracks in a more American roots and garage rock kind of vein, like Petty, Hiatt, that kind of thing. I write all the time, it’s what I do. I’ll write three bad ones to get to the one good one!

Art’ ensured I didn’t go crazy the last couple of months. Why is it so hard to explain the importance of it to the people who govern the country (yours and mine)?

The Arts are an intangible, especially music. It is, or can be, abstract and emotional. A lot of people in government find art to be frivolous. To them, it’s just entertainment, decoration, and background noise. To your first point, it’s hard to imagine being in lockdown without music, art, and literature to remind us of our humanity, to feed our hearts, minds, and souls. It is a difficult concept for literal-minded people to grasp.

You can now buy the record on Bandcamp and listen on Spotify. Keep an eye on the KoolKatMusik webshop because you can buy the CD there soon.

Spygenius – Man On The Sea (Q&A)

The new Spygenius album, “Man On The Sea,” is an expansive (17 song, 79 minute CD / Digital Download, a double album if you get the vinyl version) ride that defies immediate description. Read the full Mike DeAngelis review here.

Buy here.

Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Peter Watts about the new record and how it came together.

Releasing singles or ep’s seems to be the new norm. Not for you?

When Spygenius got together, we wanted the band to be a vehicle that would let us write, record and perform original music of the sort we wanted to hear, for as long as we could get away with it – so we were never really concerned with what was or wasn’t the new norm or the old norm or any norm… we’ve never been part of a scene or a movement, we’ve always been a bit of an anachronism, to be honest – but that’s great because it’s liberating, artistically. And it’s always been part of our ambition to record great albums, like the albums that inspired us when we first got into music – albums with a coherence to them, that can take you on a bit of journey. But we’ve done five albums now, so who knows, we might become a singles band from now on!

How did this record come together?

This record sort of grew out of the last one (‘Pacéphale) – in fact, they both came out of a really prolonged ongoing recording session. They sort of go together, really – except this one took a while to come into shape. We tend to just work on individual tracks, letting the song take us where it wants to go, and then usually, a moment will come when things start to shape themselves up, the collection gets a distinctive ‘feel’ to it, you start to get a sense of what the track order should be – but this lot, it took ages before that ‘feel’ started to emerge, which might be why there are so many songs on it! It was also recorded over a period where some members of the band went through a lot of changes at a personal level. I’m not sure the album has a theme that can be intellectualized – it’s more of a feel thing – but mortality, and how our relationship to it changes as we age, as we experience joy and loss, is definitely in there – after all, it starts with a track which is sort of about kidding yourself that you’re immortal, and ends with a eulogy.

Hard work or did the songs just keep coming?

It’s always work, but maybe not ‘hard work’ because we love what we do. The old ‘10% inspiration, 90% perspiration’ maxim holds true, and we do just keep slogging at our recordings – and if they don’t come out right, we re-do it… which is part of the reason there are such big gaps between the releases – we all have day jobs and most of us have kids and stuff so we just try to keep as steady a pace as we can, and put the stuff out when it’s ready. As for the songs themselves, there’s a mix of old songs that have been waiting their turn to be worked up and brand new ones, but there’s no particular formula – sometimes a song will just present itself to you, almost finished, sometimes it takes a lot of graft and reworking. Sometimes you get halfway there and just have to put the thing down and accept that it’s going to be finished some other time.

What was the moment you knew you were on to something?

I think in this case when a dear friend – sadly no longer with us, but someone whose musical judgment and experience we really, really rated, and who we were a bit in awe of, to be honest, – heard an early assembly of the album and just raved about it, how much he loved it. He gave us a track by track breakdown of what he liked the most, which was amazing – literally, on Messenger, while he was hearing it for the first time. It’s not like we didn’t think it was good before that, but that endorsement certainly made us go ‘ooh!’ And then when Champniss added his artwork – which is really sympathetic to the music – it really started to feel like the whole was getting bigger than the sum of the parts.

I have “survived” in the past few months by listening to music, watching movies… why is it so difficult to explain that art is important to our well-being?

No idea. Maybe everyone knows it, really, but for some reason, they think it’s inappropriate to admit it. Because it doesn’t always (often… ever?!) generate a profit? It’d be a sad world indeed if that was our only measure of success. A cash reward has never been the benchmark that Spygenius has used to judge whether or not what we’re doing is worth the effort – it’s about does it please us, and does what we do touch other people – are they moved by the songs, do they go home after a gig feeling a bit uplifted and that that was a couple of hours well spent. If we can achieve that, then we’ve hit the mark. That’s why we were so excited to team up with Big Stir – their whole ethos is so about creating a mutually supporting musical community, and that suited us down to the ground.  

2nd Grade – Hit to Hit (Q&A)

Get Alternative writes: Sincerity and sarcasm are the central tenets of 2nd Grade’s music. It’s full of  tenderness and wit that can only come from musicians who love playing together and respect what they’re doing. They’re a super-group of sorts, composed of members of bands like Remember Sports, Friendship, and A Million Dollars. Their new record, Hit to Hit, is a collection of 24 songs that run on the shorter side, usually between one or two minutes. This works to their benefit, though, as each track feels like a sweet burst of fizzy indie pop.

SweetSweetMusicblog spoke to Peter Gill about Hit to Hit, Stephin Merritt, Styx and Pitchfork.

What was the moment you knew you were on to something?

I was sitting in a nightclub on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, writing lyrics onto a cocktail napkin while getting blasted with techno music from the house speakers. I looked up from my work, and saw that Stephin Merritt was sitting next to me copying my lyrics onto his own cocktail napkin!

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

I saw Styx somewhere on Cape Cod when I was a kid. The thing I remember most is that before the show my Uncle Paul taught me a great line which goes “you paid for the whole seat… but you’ll only need the edge!”

When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?

Last year I was competing in a regional songwriting contest against other songwriters from the tri-state area. My best event is typically 15’s, a category where you have only 15 minutes to write a full song. Anyways, I came up with this great glam-rock tune called “My Baby’s Been Radicalized” in that day’s 15’s, beating out some Win Butler wannabe from Delaware, and as a prize, they now play my song every day on ABC Channel 6’s weather report.

Recording music. What’s all the fun about?

For me, the best part of recording is the certainty that the final product will be designated Best New Music by Pitchfork.

You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

I know that some people tend to think of these songs as being “simple.” I would like those people to be aware that I fooled them!  


Bernard Zuel writes: But the most telling part of that is not that Marley’s got the know-how to make a belated solo project – anyone with a home studio and time can, and too often does, do that – it’s that he’s retained his enthusiasm for the pleasures of pop music.

Savoury-Toothed Tiger, from pun title on, is like someone set free to just play and a whole summer’s day in which to do so.

From the vocodered voice and lounge music rhythm (and organ) of the silly/fun Something Sweet and the wistful character out-of-his-time of the very Kinks-like In The Garden, to the twin-‘90s mix of Seattle sound (and subject matter) overlayed with indie pop in Bright Lights Of Despair, and the none-more-‘70s faux brass/flute/congas/strutting bass of (Theme For An Imaginary) Cop Show, this is an adventurous sortie.

SweetSweetMusicblog spoke to Peter Marley about his new record.

How did this record come together? And Recording music. What’s all the fun about?

From 2009 I was in a band called The Nature Strip, an indie-pop Sydney outfit with my friend John Encarnacao. We decided to have a break in late 2018, but there’s talk of reforming for some recording. Anyway, we always had to agree on which tunes we would work on. Some of the tunes on Savoury-Toothed Tiger were written during that time, but either John or I didn’t think they were Nature Strip songs. Most of my songs begin as acoustic guitar noodling on riffs and chord sequences. I have a favorite notepad and need a good pen. But some were written while I was traveling, including while I was in Bhutan, on an old iPad using Garageband.

GarageBand on iPad used to have great sampling and synth capabilities – I don’t know what it’s like now. Bright Lights Of Despair was written that way, and it took me a few years to come up with the lyrics. I re-recorded it in my studio, using some of the original Garageband tracks like the synths. I had no idea what it would be about til I visited a casino in Sydney and I found it a disheartening experience, seeing rows of people endlessly putting their money into poker machines. I have my own studio at home in Sydney, where I can record everything, and I play bass and guitar and can muddle along on simple keyboard parts. So I was able to play everything on the album except for the guitar solos on Turpentine, which I asked John to play, the female backing vocals, and the real drums.

I recorded everything with loops or drum tracks from a 30-year old drum machine (Yamaha RX-11), then I spent a day in a different larger studio with drummer Jess Ciampa from The Nature Strip, where I could concentrate on the music instead of being the engineer. Jess plays with everyone in Sydney, including symphony orchestras, mambo bands, indie rock outfits – everything and everyone! He is a great drummer and percussionist. So he just played over the tracks, (in one or two takes!), and it works really well.

I asked my niece, Rachel Marley, to sing backing vocals on a few tracks with Suzy Goodwin. I play bass with Suzy in a kind of alt-country outfit called Fallon Cush. Rachel is an amazing singer, who also acts, dances, teaches, and plays the piano. They sang together and we worked out a lot of the arrangements on the fly. Awesome to hear those two great women singers together in my studio! Nice to work with others when you create most of a whole album by yourself.

Often, the music you come up with is dependent on the toys you have in front of you at the time. Rachel gave me her 20-year old Casio keyboard and it has loads of cheesy organ sounds and a rhythm box. On Something Sweet, I picked a rhythm which I thought was a Bossa Nova on the Casio, but my Mum tells me it’s actually a Rhumba – she was a very good ballroom dancer in her day so I bow to her superior knowledge there. Anyway, I worked out a chord sequence and guitar part that reminded me of a Morricone soundtrack – I pictured Clint Eastwood squinting in the sun with a cigar and black hat, on a horse.

I had oblique lyrics about a very very dark subject, and I found it impossible to sing in a normal voice. It sounded too “nice”, so I downloaded a free app on the phone that worked like a vocoder and I sang into the phone in two takes and I couldn’t better it. Those moments where you just try something and there’s magic there – that is what recording is about for me. It’s thousands of small tasks, interspersed with eureka moments where you play or sing something you didn’t know you could, or hadn’t expected.

Because I record a lot by myself, I can go over and over parts until I’m happy, so when you get something fast and good, it’s an incredible buzz. Those moments keep you coming back when it seems like a chore to re-record, edit, arrange, etc etc etc. I can experiment all day and night at no cost, and if I have at least one definite part or direction, I usually end up with something usable. Even the failures yield something you might use later. Some were totally new tunes.

Another Perfect Day was like that, I had the guitar chords I liked and I constructed the whole track in a day and the words just tumbled out when I realized I was kind of singing about addiction. I have a list on my phone of phrases or ideas for songs or words. I can always put something on the list when I stumble on something that grabs me. When I’m writing, or in the studio, I’ll refer to the list for phrases that trigger ideas or help me finish something.

Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?

Definitely. As I said, I have my own studio, I can write, record, and mix everything, then get it mastered. In theory, I could write and record something in a couple of days and get it on streaming services soon after. Easy to do. But then, it’s easy for so many musicians to do the same or similar. And that is great – being able to record music a lot more cheaply than the days of big studios and tape machines, means independence from major record companies who had pretty dodgy practices, to put it politely. Except now they’re in control over a lot of streaming, but that’s a topic for another day.

So there is SO much music being uploaded every day with virtually no filters. But with all that music going up, how do you grab people’s attention?

Whether they’re listeners or radio people, or blog-writers, it’s really tough with no major promotion behind you. You have to really hit up social media, send a lot of emails, try for playlists, etc etc and that can be really time-consuming. As for live shows, gigs in Sydney, even before the pandemic, were pretty tough to get. So many venues stopped having “loud” live music – and when I say loud, I mean anything with live drums – because of noise complaints from people who want to live in a buzzy area of a big city, but don’t want any sound coming from outside! Also, pubs got rid of stages and put in poker machines, because they make so much money. Soul destroying, money-sucking, evil pieces-of-shit those machines are.

There’s obviously a lot of emphasis on visual elements – FB, Instagram, TikTok, all need images to get attention. So obviously videos and visual posts are really important. I had plans to shoot a couple of videos outside with a small crew of friends for this new album. The pandemic killed that idea, so I created the animated clip for Another Perfect Day by myself in my studio. I had to learn how to do stop-motion animation and shoot it all on an iPhone; edited it and a friend helped grade it and make it more presentable. Awesome fun – even having to take 1,500 photos! I would like to make more clips, maybe we can shoot something outside soon.

Which 5 records would you bring with you for your stay on Mars?

I like records that sound kind of “unreal”. I do still love plainly recorded acoustic music, with great voices and guitars, etc, but my true love is music that’s transported to another realm in the studio. 5 is far too few – so many acts I can’t include like REM, Radiohead, Bjork, Elvis Costello, XTC, Motown!!

The Beatles – Revolver

Great writing, the peak of their movement from pure pop to a greater plateau. Tomorrow Never Knows! Shit! 1966! That album is an amazing mix of guitar jangle, lushness, experimentation and pop catchiness. George comes into his own, awesome tunes from our two regular heroes, and Ringo’s always amazing drums. The studio experiments contribute to that unreal sound. Hearing the remastered recent version makes it even better – bigger drums. What a record.

Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt-Cutters

Musically playful, so fragmented on first listen, but worth the repeated listens. I really didn’t want this list to be all old music, and this record is one of the latest things to knock me out. It’s like Apple’s brain is spilling out into the microphone as she vents and chants and you find yourself yelling along. But still musically brilliant. Great.

Miles Davis – So What So cool

Explores great musical terrain but is always singable. Not a dud moment from one of the greats. And what musicians! Great playing, live, and recorded to three-track over a short time in 1959. Changed everything in jazz and more. So What makes me want to do that finger-clicking, hip-swinging, head-shaking, jazz cat thing while singing John Coltrane’s & Cannonball Adderley’s sax parts, and all the other parts too.

PJ Harvey – Uh Huh Her

Hard to choose which PJ album to take, but I’ve landed here as I listened to it again after a long time recently and I love it. She is unique, seen her live a couple of times. A true artist, she makes me feel so much. Always interesting to see what she’ll do next.

Led Zeppelin – II

The sound – those drums! John Bonham powers like a big subtle steam train that can swing. It gives me so much adrenalin when they kick in on Whole Lotta Love. Page’s guitar ideas, and maybe the best bass player in the business in John Paul Jones, and of course Robert Plant’s incredible voice. Huge thrill hearing that for the first time as a teenager will never shake it.

David Bowie – Argh – again, which album?

Will go with Hunky Dory, just ahead of Low. What a unique artist – songwriting genius, so many different singing voices. Life On Mars is incredible, such a beautifully constructed and emotional performance. Rick Wakeman on the piano throughout the album. The best records take me to another universe – this is one of them.

Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

It is a thrill to make something that someone else has an emotional reaction to. If you make up a great joke, the first thing you want to do is tell someone else to see them laughing. Playing live music is like that joke multiplied by a million. Especially, for me, when it’s with a whole band. That connection with people when you’re part of a crowd or playing to a crowd, no matter how small, is something I’ve never matched in other ways. It’s like we are all joined together briefly on another plane of existence.

My perception of my music changes when I play it in front of someone. It’s as if you hear it yourself for the first from another angle, I don’t know if that’s just vulnerability. So when it works, the things you liked about it are amplified, but when it doesn’t work so well, it’s the same in reverse.

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

Elvis Costello – lyrics, lyrics, and lyrics. He is an amazing wordsmith. Lyrics are the hardest part for me in writing songs, I agonize over them for a long time usually. Imagine if EC came along and we put some amazing lines down over one of my tunes!

Johnny Marr – listening to The Smiths, those tunes all based his amazing way with the guitar. It would be such a great experience. “So Johnny, what you got in the way of a new riff or tune” “Well, Pete, ava go at this new ‘un.” Then I pick up the bass and noodle along with one of my favorite guitarists and melodies come out of the air. Good times.

Brian Eno – he would make me go places I never would ordinarily. This would be the ultimate studio experience. Not sitting with a guitar and notepad, but in a studio, with song bits and hIm suggesting things and playing weird-ass stuff together and not knowing what would come out the other end. Can you imagine?! Yow.