Pin It

Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth talks...

...about his record collection and the appeal of cassettes in the new issue of AnOther Man out today.

In the new issue of AnOther Man, Sean O'Hagan travels to the Massachusetts home of Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore to interview him about the past, present and future of the seminal band, who are about to release their 16th album The Eternal. Below is an extract from the text; to read the rest, along with features on Patrick Wolf, Ratatat, Jason Spaceman, and the best art, architecture, fashion and ideas, get AnOther Man issue 8, out today.

Before I depart for New York, Thurston Moore shows me around the basement of his big house. It’s a trip in itself. One section has been turned into a rehearsal space, and is littered with cables and instruments and amps. The other members of the group – Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley, Mark Ibold – come up to Northampton for a couple of days’ rehearsal every week. “We write a couple of songs, then go up to NY at the weekend and record them,” says Thurston. “It’s a new way of working for us and one that doesn’t allow for a lot of development. It’s more instant. It has,” he adds mysteriously, “been a challenge to some.”

The basement also contains Thurston’s record collection, wall after wall stacked high with rare and obscure records. It’s easily the biggest archive I have seen since I visited the late John Peel’s house back in the 1980s. The section devoted to Norwegian black metal is bigger than my entire record collection. He pulls out an album at random. The sleeve features a naked nubile covered in blood. “That’s a kind of generic death metal cover,” he deadpans. “She’s probably the drummer’s girlfriend.”

Another basement room houses his collection of cassette mix tapes, personalised compilations that friends and strangers have sent him from across the globe. “When you look at the detail that’s gone into not just the selection of music but the cover illustrations, it’s almost like outsider art,” he says. “These are valuable documents. I think they should be preserved for posterity as a glimpse of popular culture in a time of fragmentation.”