Today’s Life Is Like A Box Of Records is with the right honourable Sander van den Driesche. Metal/heavy music editor for Echoes and Dust, ex-drummer and also part of team ConSouling Sounds and Sea Of Corruption Records. Is there no end to this man’s talent? With a bit of a change, Sander has picked his favourite albums as opposed to songs, immerse yourself!
Bruce Springsteen – The River (track: The River)
When I got asked to pick 10 records that have played a big role in my life I initially got very excited. Then I got a little bit anxious as it’s never easy making a top 10 list in anything really, especially a top 10 in music. I am 38 years old and I’ve been exposed to music all my life as my parents always played records when I was a kid and they took me to every concert they could drag me along to.
This started when I was 9 years old and Bruce Springsteen played De Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam. My parents decided I was old enough to come along with them and there was me jumping on a chair for nearly 3 hours with excitement during my first ever concert. This made such a big impression on me and I still remember the length of the setlist that included loads of covers. Because of this concert and amazing experience Bruce Springsteen always played a part throughout my life, even though I don’t listen to his music very regularly anymore. Of his extensive back catalogue it is ‘The River’ that made the biggest impression on me as it was one of the first records my dad passed on to me when I got my own record player in my room at my parent’s house and I listened to it numerous times. It’s the one record I keep on coming back to these days as well whenever I feel like listening to some Springsteen.
Prince – Sign ‘O’ the Times (Track: I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man)
See all music videos Prince
My parents had a friend around the time I had my gig initiation at the Bruce Springsteen concert who worked at the box office of Ahoy in Rotterdam, which is a venue comparable to Glasgow’s SECC. My parents were given lots of free tickets during those years and I again I was taken along to see big names in the 80s such as Sting, UB40, Tina Turner, Elton John, adding to my rapidly growing passion for music and gigs. The first artist I started to discover on my own was Prince. I remember being initially exposed to Prince through my father, but I took it a lot further and turned complete fanboy by the time I was 12. I owned everything he had released by that time, had a couple of t-shirts and seen him live twice by then. Then he released the Batman soundtrack and for some reason this didn’t go down well with me at all. I still love everything he’s done before that soundtrack, but not given the rest of his career as much attention. I absolutely love his ‘Around the World in a Day’ release, but it’s probably ‘Sing ‘O’ the Times’ that made the biggest impression on me. That album just rocks the whole way through, each song is just written superbly and Prince had an excellent backing band at that time as well.
Metallica – …And Justice For All (Track: Blackened)
When I started highschool I was still this big Prince fanboy, but very soon that would change when one of my new class mates asked me if I had heard of this band called Guns N’ Roses before, which I hadn’t. He had it on tape and let me listen to Paradise City on his Walkman during a break and I was blown away and hooked instantly. This was my turning point for me as from here on I dived into a long journey of discovering various sub-genres of heavy music. Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath came soon after, but then I noticed a CD copy for sale at my tiny local record store of Metallica’s ‘…And Justice For All’. I hadn’t heard anything by Metallica before, but I knew of the name and seen people wearing their band shirts. So I bought it and I was instantly impressed with the power of that record, the sheer heaviness combined with catchy hooks and amazing drum work and riffing. I realised I needed to explore more and very soon after I had every Metallica album released in my collection and I joined a music library place in Rotterdam where you could lend records for a week, so you could listen to them and even better, tape them as well. This opened up a whole new world and bands like Anthrax, Slayer, Testament, Megadeth and Suicidal Tendencies were soon my top favourites at that time.
Primus – Frizzle Fry (Track: Too Many Puppies)
I was 15 years old when I often met up with my best friend at the time David and we would go to one of the nicer coffeeshops in Rotterdam to smoke and play chess. As nerdy this may sound, it was an awesome time and we never missed a week. One of those chess sessions I noticed the music the barman had put on and it sounded completely new to me. And it sounded awesome. Lots of bass work, funny sounding vocals and lyrics, great drum work and one of the catchiest songs I had ever heard. I asked the barman what the music was he was playing and this is how I found out about Primus. The song in question was Too Many Puppies of their ‘Frizzle Fry’ album. The next day I went back to this local record store to check for Primus and they didn’t have ‘Frizzle Fry’ in stock, but I managed to get ‘Suck On This’ and ‘Sailing the Seas of Cheese’. I was hooked. And I was so impressed with the drum work of Tim Alexander that I had a new mission. I wanted to become a drummer. My dad managed to borrow an old basic drum kit from the music teacher at the school my dad was a teacher at and I started banging drums, not sure what to do. I very soon after became friends with a guy called Jill and he was an excellent drummer and taught me all the basics. Drumming was my new passion all thanks to Tim Alexander and Primus.
Nirvana – Nevermind (Track: Come As You Are)
I think any person who was a teenager in the 90s probably has some love for Nirvana. I certainly do. I remember school discos in highschool where we would go absolutely nuts when the DJ played ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, with the whole dance floor turning into a huge mosh pit, turning all the teachers into some sort of security guards, trying to make people to stop. ‘Nevermind’ was my introduction to Nirvana, but in retrospect ‘Bleach’ is probably my favourite album by them as it’s dirty and heavy as fuck. ‘Nevermind’ however opened yet more musical doors to me, such as Sonic Youth, The Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, Helmet and a whole bunch of alternative guitar/noise rock bands.
The Prodigy – Music for the Jilted Generation (Track: No Good (Start the Dance)
I am not a dance music fan at all, though there are a couple of artists that I don’t mind listening to from time to time, The Prodigy being one of them. Back in 1994 I was on holidays in Majorca for the first time ever without my parents. I had just turned 18 and we were supposed to go with a big group of friends to Santa Ponsa for a holiday of sun, beach and party. In the end it was just myself going with the only person in the original group who I didn’t know very well, like a friend of a friend called Dennis. We decided to go ahead after everyone else dropped out and we spent 2 weeks doing nothing else than waking up at noon, sleep on the beach, eat and get drunk during one of the bar’s happy hour and go to one of the two clubs Santa Ponsa had at the time. One song that was a huge hit and got everyone dancing was The Prodigy’s ‘No Good (Start the Dance)’. Everytime I hear this song it still brings back memories to that typical teenager holiday. That’s been the only party holiday in my life. It didn’t turn me into a dance fan at all, but it opened my eyes to some dance music and it made me appreciate it a bit more and I started listening to artists like The Chemical Brothers and Underworld.
Motorpsycho – Timothy’s Monster (Track: Wearing Yr Smell)
I can’t make a list about the albums that have played a big part in my life without mentioning Motorpsycho. This Norwegian band deserves to be a lot better known, at least in the UK where they don’t seem to have a huge fan base. To me they are one of the best bands out there. They started in 1989 and are still producing great releases nearly every year. They have a huge back catalogue and they have evolved quite a bit as a band, starting as an alternative metal band to gradually turn into one of the finest progressive, psychedelic rock acts I know. I’ve seen them twice when I was still living in the Netherlands, where they play a lot more often than the UK sadly. If you ever get the chance to see them live, go for it. They always play an amazing long live set, full of great jams and a varied selection of their records. They have released so many great albums and EPs that it’s hard to pick a release for this list, but I probably go with ‘Timothy’s Monster’, released back in 1994, although I had never heard of the band when it came out. I discovered Motorpsycho a couple of years later when I was studying at the University of Utrecht. Last time I saw them live was in 2004, shortly before I moved to Edinburgh, and they were absolutely amazing as always. I’ve been to loads of gigs and festivals in the Netherlands, but this last Motorpsycho gig is one I have very fond memories of.
Nick Cave – The Best of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds (Track: Into My Arms)
It might be a bit odd to add a best of release in this list, but there is a reason for it, as ‘The Best of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ was the first release of Nick Cave I listened to. I knew of Nick Cave, but I honestly only knew the duet he did with Kylie Minogue as that was all over the MTV channel back in the days when it was released. It was in October 2003 that I first met my wife Julie and she was the one who got me into Nick Cave’s music. I bought a copy of this best of on CD back then after Julie kept playing his music and from then on I started listening to more of Nick Cave’s music and I soon found out what an amazing performer, song-writer and poet he is. On our wedding day we played ‘Into My Arms’ as part of the music played during the ceremony and on the day of our 5th wedding anniversary we saw Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds live at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, which was absolutely amazing. He’s probably the best entertainer I’ve ever seen live. So, Nick Cave reminds me of the time I met my wife and the first couple of years of our relationship.
Amenra – Live (Track: Aorte.Ritual)
When I quit playing drums for A Fight You Can’t Win in August 2012, I felt a bit lost for a while. I wanted to be involved in music, but I didn’t want to play any music after having spent the previous 20 years playing drums in various bands. I wanted to spend more time at home with my family instead of playing for 5 people on a Sunday night in one of Edinburgh’s small venues. So I got in touch with Dan who runs Echoes and Dust and they reviewed one of the A Fight You Can’t Win EPs. I wanted to try being on the other side of the spectre, so instead of playing music I wanted to give writing about music a go. The first release I reviewed was the first ‘Live’ release by Belgium post-metal band Amenra. I had vaguely heard the name before, but I wasn’t overly familiar with the music, so I dived in and I couldn’t have picked a better release to start my music journalist career with. I’ve always listened to heavy music, but what Amenra was doing on this live release was out of this world. The intensity, passion, emotion and heaviness absolutely got me hooked from the first listen. A couple of more reviews later Dan asked if I wanted to run the metal/heavy music part for Echoes and Dust, which I happily started doing. This Amenra release was therefore a bit of the turning point for me from being a musician to being a music journalist and editor.
Conan – Monnos (Track: Hawk As Weapon)
Another great heavy band I discovered a couple of years ago is Conan with their ‘Horseback Battle Hammer’ release. But it was their ‘Monnos’ release back in 2012, which really turned me into a big fan. Even though doom metal had been around for decades, besides the occasional Black Sabbath and My Dying Bride it wasn’t my favourite genre. Oh how things have changed since I started listening to Conan! What probably did it for as well was seeing them live at the 13th Note in Glasgow. If you think you’ve seen a loud band live before, then think of this, double that volume and you probably get near Conan’s live volume, which is absolutely loud as fuck! Their self-styled brand of ‘caveman battle doom’ is highly addictive, varying in tempo at the right moments, and the addition of a great rhythm section, giving their music an amazing groove. This band was my gateway into doom and probably sludge metal as well, and I’ve been playing the catch up game ever since to try and get to listen to all the older doom classics and bands out there.