As a DJ and producer, the long and varied career of David Holmes - taking in soundtracks, DJing celebrity parties, cinema, and unique interpretations of acid house, Detroit and Chicago jams, and undiscovered gems - makes him an ideal choice to contribute to the Late Night Tales series.
His deep love of music, in all its styles and forms, shines through in the 18 tracks he chose, some of which are new compositions from the man himself. He gave DiS the lowdown on the songs that made the final cut, and why they couldn't be left out.
‘Great Father Spirit In The Sky’
I first heard this when I signed up for Andrew Weatherall's exclusive 7” series Moine Dubh, all limited to 300 copies for each release. It blows my mind and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets licensed for the right film further down the line. It was in many ways the perfect opener for this album as all the themes that I wanted to explore revolved around love, memory, death and the afterworld.
David Holmes & Steve Jones
'The Reiki Healer From County Down’
Inspired by Albatross by Fleetwood Mac and Deep Blue Day by Brian Eno, this is the first collaboration with my friend Steve Jones from Bangor in Northern Ireland. It’s dedicated to his mother, a very special woman. It features additional slide guitar and keys from our great friend and collaborator Leo Abrahams.
The Children Of Sunshine
‘It’s A Long Way To Heaven’
When I first heard this song it had echoes of the Langley Schools Project and although it’s sung by a group of children I really loved the fact that it carries an almost sinister feeling in the lyrics - it also makes me laugh. I had initially put this aside for a film I’m developing but couldn’t resist having it on here as it fits like a glove.
Composed by Hugo Nicolson, it reminds me of the Great Raymond Scott’s ‘Music for Babies’ series which was never off my record player when I first discovered it.
'Talking Judgement Day Blues'
Produced by Nina Walsh - another exclusive from the amazing Moine Dubh imprint - I immediately fell in love with the lyrics of this song which I’m sure deeply resonate with a lot of us: “That wasn’t me Lord...that was just the drugs and the drink”.
This was a big track for me when I used to DJ at the famous Cinespia nights at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in LA. Here you will find the crypts of Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, Johnny and Dee Dee Ramone, Cecil B. DeMille, and Rudolph Valentino. Imagine hearing this in this graveyard, with a little help from some Mexican mushroom pie, on the most amazing sound system as the sun sets over hundreds of palm trees - magical.
'Love Is Strange'
First heard this song by Mickey & Sylvia back in the early 80’s and it blew my mind and then I heard this version last year and my mind was blown even further. Written by Bo Diddley under the name of his wife Ethel Smith, which makes it even more special, the strings on this gem are amazing. I'm surprised this version hasn’t ended up in a David Lynch film.
Paradise Of Replica
Another favourite of mine from my time DJing at Hollywood Forever cemetery. Such a great piece of music first released in 1989, and later reissued in the early 2000s. The voice on this gem is Haco who is a Japanese singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist.
'Ru-ru' (Sleep Little Baby)
Lullaby Movement is a contemporary performance work incorporating music, movement and theatre, exploring lullaby rituals from around the world. 'Ru-Ru' is an ancient lullaby from Eritrea. The group is comprised of vocalist Sophia Brous and my great friend and collaborator Leo Abrahams and David Coulter.
Jeff Bridges And Keefus Ciancia
'Everyone Of Us'
Keefus Ciancia, who is my partner in Unloved, composed this with Jeff Bridges after hearing the Orb’s ‘A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre of The Ultraworld’. This track is very special to me and a very personal track for Keefus, when you listen you will know why. Check the full, uncut 17-minute version - it’s so great.
'I’m Not In Love'
Song Sung are Una and Georgina McGeough, identical twin sisters from County Monaghan. I first met them after they wrote to me asking me to produce them. After one bottle of red wine and some very poor quality demos of them singing I was sold. 18 months later we have created a 12 track album which should hopefully see the light of day soon. This cover of 'I'm Not In Love' by 10cc was produced by me especially for Late Night Tales at my studio in Belfast. The vocals were recorded in NYC with keyboards by Keefus Ciancia and mixing by Emre Ramazanoglu.
'I Won't Hurt You'
Originally recorded by the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, this is a very rare and magical version by the British psyche outfit Neo Maya. I picked up this version in LA and I think I love it even more. Arranged and conducted by none other than the great Ray Davies, it’s an unearthed classic in my opinion!
BP Fallon And David Holmes
I received a phone call from BP Fallon the day before Henry McCullough’s funeral. He was heartbroken having lost his dear friend, and asked if could he stay at mine after he returned from the funeral. After I picked him up from the train station he asked me if he returned early enough could we record something. I started working on the music that day and then I had an idea which was to record something about Henry and their relationship. When BP returned that evening I sat him down in front of the microphone and this happened in one take! We both knew we captured a very special moment that couldn’t have been created at any other moment - magic.
Documenta Drone Pop
'Love As A Ghost'
D.D.P are a seven piece band from Belfast lead by Joe Green. We had been talking for a while about recording something together, so when the opportunity arose to produce a track I jumped at the chance. Recorded and arranged at my studio and sung by Roisin Stewart, it’s a very personal song written by Joe. One that has resonated with me and a lot of other people, including Jarvis Cocker, who played the full eight minutes on his Sunday Service.
Keith Fullerton Whitman
'Stereo Music for Acoustic Guitar'
I stumbled across this great album by accident through a friend of mine Monia (DJ Mo Probs) who is one of my favourite DJs in the world. She’s pretty amazing and has better taste than most people I know. This track just felt right to me - it’s a transitional piece, a change of mood that I felt the album needed.
Eat Lights Become Lights
With every album I create I try to make sure that all emotions are covered. This track is filled with so much joy and positivity it simply had to be on here. I first heard it on Andrew Weatherall’s brilliant radio show ‘Music's Not For Everyone’. After 26 years of going to clubs the best DJ sets I have ever heard and still remember came from Andrew. A true inspiration who has turned me onto so much over the years.
Composed by the amazing Geese, this is yet another exclusive track for this comp. Vincent Sipprell and Emma Smyth never ceased to amaze me with what they could do with their instruments. Over the years they have collaborated with me on various film projects and did the most amazing remix of a track ‘The Ballad of Sarah And Jack' off my last solo album 'The Holy Pictures'. Very sadly Vince is no longer with us, but his music will live forever. I’m truly blessed and lucky to have known such a great guy and this unreleased track is testament to their talent. Never looking back, always looking forward.
De Lucille Campbell aka Die Hexen is a solo artist from Belfast. I fell in love with this track on first listen. It has such a magical sensibility that has both shades of dark and light, which is something that always appeals to me in music. Dee is a special talent and I hope this is the start of great things to come for her.
Jon Hopkins & David Holmes Featuring Stephen Rea
Before Jon became the world famous and respected composer he is today I had the privilege of doing some sessions with him. This is something that we started eight or nine years ago and the original idea was less than 90 seconds long. I always loved the feeling it gave me so I decided to develop it for this album as I felt it fitted into what I was trying to say. The words came last and this extract was shown to me by my friend and one of Belfast’s finest actors, Lalor Roddy. He thought it had a lot in common with a short film I directed called I Am Here, which deals with family and reconnection in the after world. It comes from a book called Aeneid VI, which was the last work Seamus Heaney translated before he passed. This made it even more special as I consider this to be a very Northern Irish themed album. When I first read it I was stunned by the similarities and wrote a letter to Mick Heaney (Seamus Heaney’s son) asking for permission. The Heaney Family gave me permission, which I am forever grateful for. The next step was securing the voice of another Northern Irish great, Stephen Rea. A huge thank you to Stephen and the Heaney family for helping me make this happen. It was a perfect way to finish this album.
Late Night Tales: David Holmes is out now.