Alexander Leonard Donat Famous 5 Playlist
Alexand Leonard Donat is the mastermind behind Blackjack Illuminist Records and many bands. Noise artists asked him about the songs that influenced him as a musician,
My Bloody Valentine – When You Sleep
It’s safe to say that this song changed my life, and I remember listening to it for the first time as if it was yesterday. It was while waiting for …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead’s appearance in Berlin in May 2002 when I heard that wondrous sound coming out of the club’s P.A. The bending guitars, synths, vocals, it was like listening to aliens making music. Luckily, my then-girlfriend knew the answer to my question “WHO THE HELL IS THAT?” and she introduced me to the band. I ordered the CD the next day, I was so happy knowing that from now on I could listen to the song whenever I wanted.
My Vitriol – Always Your Way
Soon after I discovered My Bloody Valentine’s “When You Sleep” I found out that they weren’t playing any shows no more – yes, yes, I know, a decade later they came back, but that was far, far away in 2002. So, back then I thought MBV where a kind of relict of another time. Additionally, I found out that the genre “Shoegaze” wasn’t really alive anymore which I thought was a pity as I couldn’t get enough of these atmospheric but harsh guitars. One of the few modern Shoegaze bands I came across was My Vitriol. Their take on the genre was driven by alternative rock guitars and a shiny production and not so much by the rough and swirling MBV maelstrom which sucked me down making me forget where up and down was. Their album “Finelines” totally blew me away with its power and pace, its emotions and pop appeal.
Deftones – Digital Bath
Deftones are a band I definitely have to include here. They were the first rock band that I considered to be my “favourite band”. Although they stem from the Nu Metal movement and can still be considered Metal they very much have this Shoegaze/Dream Pop feel due to their guitars and Chino’s way of singing. “Digital Bath” has a crappy official video but the song itself is an unparalleled piece of art. There are many songs out there that are supposed to create a nightly atmosphere, this song actually sounds like it IS night, and not the silent one. The drums kick tightly, the guitars are washed out and aggressive at the same time, and the vocals couldn’t possibly be sung higher in the chorus – it’s a song that carries to the limit.
No Age – You’re A Target
From a past favorite band to my current one: No other band than No Age has been able to get closer to what I consider to be perfect music. They don’t sound polished nor do they pander to the music listeners, they sound direct, they are fast-paced, Punk-like and at the same time have a clear love for Shoegaze and Ambient. It’s a unique combination of being timid and wild. Gee, I love them so much, even when I write about them it sends shivers down my spine thinking about what they mean to me. I picked “You’re A Target” from their magnificent EP “Losing Feeling” because it combines all the stuff I mentioned before.
Deerhunter – Strange Lights
This song was on a show on some alternative radio when I visited a friend in Stuttgart and it made me speechless. I barely remember where I first listen to specific songs, so this is a rare case, like “When You Sleep” by My Bloody Valentine. At that time the Postpunk of Deerhunter was much more Dream Pop and Ambient influenced. “Strange Lights” even sounds like Drone, like one loooong drone melting into an emotional pop song which is strangely stuck in a repetitive pattern. Originally, I had my problems with Deerhunter post “Microcastle” but I value bands that evolve and don’t repeat themselves over again, and at a certain time all three albums after said masterpiece grew heavily on me.