THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: SJD

 |   |  3 min read

SJD: On the Driveway
THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: SJD

With his new all-electronic album Elastic Wasteland picking up unanimously favourable reviews, it is timely to look back on the career of Sean James Donnelly, aka SJD.

Elastic Wasteland -- which is far from that, it is a nuanced and rich tapestry of sound, see here -- is Donnelly's sixth album and follows such diverse and mature collections as Lost Soul Music, Southern Lights, Songs from a Dictaphone and Dayglo Spectres.

He is first and foremost a songwriter ("the most criticly accalimed songwriter of his generation" says Gary Steel in Metro) and that craftsmanship is then embellished and reconfigured into fascinating sonic shapes.

He has also recently played in the Finn family's Pajama Club . . . but to have him back with such a fine outing as this means it is time he got to answer the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire

The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .

The first music I remember loving as a kid was the classical music my mum used to have on... Polovtsian Dances By Borodin, Karelia Suite by Sibelius, Tchaikovsky"s 1812 Overture....

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

The first album I ever bought was a Rolf Harris album when I was about eight ... then it was Jean-Michel Jarre's Oxygene ... I'm sure the Bee Gees were in there somewhere too...

Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?

Lennon and the Ramones over Jagger and Nirvana but then Jagger and Nirvana beat the last 4 by quite a long chalk....

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .

Building things out of Lego ... designing and testing new kinds of snack food ... I would love to make a film if I ever had a decent idea for one ....

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .

Any one song off my new album but they'd have to listen to it at least three times...(most of what I do seems to be something of an acquired taste)

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

My collection of synths seems to be expanding in the service of making synth pop albums. I still own the Casio VL Tone I bought when I was 14 - my first musical instrument. Lots of shitty vinyl but I doubt I own even one thing that would get a collector salivating...

200px_Revolution_in_the_HeadThe best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

Revolution in the Head by Ian McDonald. Many of his opinions verge on infuriating but I think music writing, much like music itself, is best when you can have a good argument with it...

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

I can honestly say there are no musicians I'd rather play with than the ones I already do or the ones I soon will...

The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

Brief Encounter

Annie Hall

Solaris (Tarkovsky not Soderbergh)

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

Probably haven't bought anything I could hold in my hand for quite a while. I did buy The Best of The Fourmyula for $10 in a bargain bin about two years ago ... I like vinyl but my turntable needs fixing...

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . . .

Strawberry Letter 23 [Shuggie Otis/Brothers Johnson]

The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

I would have to have the Rothko room in the Tate Modern as my bedroom...

You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .

Colin McCahon's Victory Over Death ... 'I AM' all over my back

David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?

Hanging with my friends and family but not having to do any housework or fill out any forms. Constant garden parties. Drinking great single malts and having loud opinionated discussions into the wee small hours.

Suddenly discovering hitherto unknown abilities to paint, make films, play all manner of obscure brass instruments and record every second of those five years for posterity on every medium available - newsprint, vellum, camcorder, cassette and canvas....

f748d946f9f75110701c0f4c74c2833fZl8RQY.pdf_thumbAnd finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”

This is my best album ever because I got really sick before I made it and there were a couple of times where I was potentially quite close to dying, but my friends and family made sure that wasn't going to happen.

When it came time to make my own music again, I realised that I had an opportunity to make something meaningful for myself and those people.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   The Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire articles index

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITERS' QUESTIONNAIRE: Ant Beard of Caravana Sun

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITERS' QUESTIONNAIRE: Ant Beard of Caravana Sun

Australian band  Caravana Sun may not be well known on this side of the Tasman, but that will doubtless change with their forthcoming tour (see dates below) and once songs like Whale Song... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Paul Ubana Jones

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Paul Ubana Jones

It is over two decades, and perhaps getting close to three, since I first met Paul Ubana Jones and I believe I described him then as a big man with big hair, a big voice and a big guitar sound. And... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Louisiana Red and Little Victor's Juke Joint: Memphis Mojo (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Louisiana Red and Little Victor's Juke Joint: Memphis Mojo (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Almost an octogenerian, Louisiana Red (aka Iverson Minter) has understandably become a fixture on blues circuits. Born in Alabama and his father lynched by the Klan, he once recorded for... > Read more

Chinbat Baasankhuu: The Art of the Mongolian Yatga (Arc Music)

Chinbat Baasankhuu: The Art of the Mongolian Yatga (Arc Music)

For those who haven't been paying attention, the Mongolian yatga is like a cross-border cousin to the Korean gayageum, Japanese koto and Chinese gu-zheng. We're joking of course. You're... > Read more