Phoenix: “When we heard D’Angelo, we stayed in the studio for an extra year”

Thomas Mars reveals the music that changed his life

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D’Angelo
Voodoo
We were recording our second album and when we heard this,we stayed in the studio for an extra year — it traumatised us. It’s very avant-garde. Voodoo is very intriguing and iconic because there are a lot of stories about it. A lot of people thought it was played wrongand didn’t make sense, but its probably the most sampled record ever. It appears on so many records of the Noughties.

Spacemen 3
The Perfect Prescription
I had the poster of this sleeve on my bedroom wall. It had a gold finish and was the most inspiring cover I’ve ever seen. I totally identified with these two guys, although of course I was taking far less drugs than them at the time. The whole record had a really amazing, minimal quality; it was more like art than music. It was everything I wanted music to be when I was a teenager.

Dirty Projectors
Rise Above
This was lead singer and guitarist Dave Longstreth’s fantasising on (sic) a Black Flag record he heard when he was a kid and trying to reproduce it. From the beginning, this record was interesting to me and then when you see them live, they are a very gifted band. They’re all great musicians. When I listen to this, I feel like Phoenix and they have a lot of records in common in our collections.

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Lou Reed
Street Hassle
We grew up with The Velvet Underground — they were the band that made us realise that it was possible to play music and have taste and be stylish. They had a drummer who didn’t play a kick drum and they swapped instruments… you didn’t get a clear picture of what they were. It was confusing and that’s what I liked about them. The title track from this solo LP, though, is one of my favourite songs of all time.

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