10 Tracks That Changed My Life By Jamie Otsa, Wall of Sound PR

Jamie Otsa - Wall of Sound PR.jpg

Jamie lives in Liverpool and started his business, Wall of Sound PR, in 2012, after a short-lived career as a professional musician which lead to 12 years of experience in the music industry across various roles in music promotion, live events and management. He also writes about music for The Metro, The Skinny, Drowned in Sound, The 405, Pop Matters and more, whilst working on his own fiction writing in his spare time. He is most definitely Not Cool.

The Bonzo Dog Band – I’m The Urban Spaceman

Our house was always full of music growing up – my mum was a skin in the ‘70s so was into loads of motown, soul and pop music, and my dad used to have shoulder length hair, platform boots and a penchant for riffs. When me and my sister were little my dad would dance around with us and blast out old records from The Beatles, Sabbath, Zeppelin, Deep Purple etc., but he loved all sorts of other stuff and can still be found scouring Pitchfork for new bands. He is way cooler than me. We still go to gigs together even though he’s retired. This Bonzo record was one of my favourites and I still love how theatrical and bonkers it is. Oddly, in hindsight, the lyrics – about a person who’s too perfect to exist – seem quite profound to me now, in an ironic way.

Spice Girls – 2 Become 1

I think this was probably one of the first CDs me and my sister had and we absolutely rinsed it to death. It’s a total rager. I unashamedly love an enormous pop banger to this day, and the Spice Girls were just a really fun, exciting phenomenon after years of bollocks from moody men. I had an enormous crush on Emma Bunton (and still do – plz call me) at the time and remember hearing this song when I was about 10 and feeling many confusing feelings. I tend to think anyone who looks down on pop music as an inferior genre is a complete snob and doesn’t really love music, or life. Nothing is more life affirming than belting out Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani in the karaoke bar at 3am.

Oasis – Cigarettes & Alcohol

 I’d heard a lot of guitar music growing up thanks to my dad, but I don’t think I could really connect with a lot of it properly when I was younger. I can’t remember how or where I first heard Oasis but I remember getting a good school report once and being bought one of their singles after. The distortion on the guitar in the opening chords of this song still makes me weak at the knees. I remember thinking “Jesus Christ. This is amazing. How do I make that sound happen forever inside my head?”. I always preferred Oasis to Blur. They just felt so much more dangerous and legitimate.

AFI – Sacrifice Theory

 Me and some friends went to see The Offspring at the MEN Arena in Manchester in 2001, and AFI were the support. They absolutely turned my world upside down. I’d heard loads of punk and skatepunk before, but this was so much darker and theatrical – very different to anything else I’d been exposed to. The bassline in this track made me want to punch through a wall. Half way through the show their amps exploded and they had no idea what to do. They went on to become my favourite band for years, and I even joined the fanclub – I have all sorts of signed merch and memorabilia at home. Fun fact: the band A were also on the bill, who I loved, and now I get to “work with” their bass player Dan P Carter at Radio One sending him music for his show. Life is weird.

Rage Against The Machine – Guerilla Radio

Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 – if you know, you know. RATM are a formative band for almost everyone who likes rock music, and I’m no different. They had everything. They had the tunes, the politics, the musicianship – Zack de La Rocha is a force of nature. I think the world needs RATM now more than we did when they were active. I still know every single word to every track on all their albums, and they were one of the first bands to make me realise how valid hip-hop and rap were as forms of musical expression when a lot of my friends were writing it off as “not for them”.

Pendulum – Tarantula

 I’d been a rock kid for years until I went to university. I’d always looked down on electronic music as inferior. Oh how very, very wrong I was. I fell in with a bunch of friends who were really into their drum and bass, electro, techno and dubstep and started going clubbing with them. The first time I heard this Pendulum track was a total revelation to me – it was so aggressive, but the intro had all the soul and groove that I loved in reggae, dub and ska. There’s something beautiful and very different about a bunch of people all on the same journey in a club, compared to the gig experience. This track unlocked a whole new world of music for me and now I love all sorts of electronica. Not so much the clubbing anymore, though.

  Elliot Smith  – Alameda

 My friend Dan from university had much cooler taste in music than me and was into all sorts of stuff I’d never heard. He lent me a bunch of Elliot Smith CDs and I just disappeared into them for weeks. It’s such a shame that Smith died so young, he really was an incredibly special songwriter. I think there’s so much honesty and pain in his music, but it’s also very self-aware and self-critical. He’s one of those artists who I think I’ll listen to and love forever, and can really cut right to the heart of how I’m feeling when I’m anxious or depressed. There’s nothing I can say about him that hasn’t been said a thousand times before. He’s the king of bittersweet, beautiful music.

Chairmen of The Board – Give Me Just A Little More Time

 When I was in a band after university for a few years we ended up staying in Chicago for a few weeks while we recorded our album. Our guitarist Johnny got really into this track and played it on repeat the whole time. It firmly lodged itself in my brain and it’s kind of become my life anthem. I can’t even think how many times I might have listened to this over the years. It’s one of those songs that works whatever mood you might be in – you can be on top of the world and bounce down the street, or completely heartbroken and find a real sadness in it. Also has a fantastic breakdown section that just goes down to drums and a bass guitar, which is always a winner for me.

Brother Ali – The Preacher

 I got into Eminem, Dre and Snoop around the same time I was listening to a lot of metal and nu-metal, but it wasn’t until much later that I went back and listened to a bunch of old hip-hop and explored where that culture had come from. Once I’d started to write for music websites I had loads of great opportunities to meet people and I interviewed Brother Ali for The 405 a few years ago. He is still one of the most insightful, interesting people I’ve ever spoken to. I love the message of positivity in his music and the issues he addresses in his songs. He’s a very genuine spirit, and I respect that. When we chatted he completely schooled me on my privileged view of the nature of modern hip-hop and for that I think him.

Chilly Gonzales – Kenaston

This is another track that I just can’t get away from. My friend Gary is a really talented designer and did the artwork for Chilly’s The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales album, which is probably where I first heard him. I went to see him on the Solo Piano II tour in 2011 and this track just absolutely floored me. To see this grouchy, dishevelled dude in a dressing gown and slippers playing this utterly beautiful music was so surreal. This song is a total emotional journey from start to finish and runs through so many highs and lows. My granddad used to listen to classical music all the time (and conduct along with his baton at home) but I never really “got” it – something clicked with me when I listened to this record and over the last 7 or so years I’ve gotten way more into classical, neoclassical and minimalist composers.

Jamie has share his 10 Tracks That Changed His Life in a Spotify playlist which you can check out below and give it a listen. 

We would like to thank Jamie for his contribution and insight into his eccentric music taste.


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