Ride’s Andy Bell tells us about the influences behind his debut solo album
Ride's Andy Bell releases his debut solo album, The View from Halfway Down, this Friday via Sonic Cathedral. The record finds Bell exploring new sonic territory, dabbling in krautrock, drone and out-there psych, while still with the firm grip on melody he's always shown in Ride. You can check out the gorgeous "Love Comes in Waves" and the very spacey "I Was Alone" below.
Andy was nice enough to talk us through the album, offering up 10 artists and songs that had a direct impact on View from the Way Down, including Bowie, Big Star, Can, Spacemen 3, and more. Check out his list, complete with Bell's thoughtful, entertaining commentary below.
ANDY BELL - TEN SONGS THAT INFLUENCED 'THE VIEW FROM HALFWAY WAY DOWN'
1/ CAN - Halleluwah
I’ve never drummed on a whole album before. It was interesting learning what kind of a drummer I am. I would say the two biggest influences on the drumming me, are Jaki Leibezit (CAN) and Klaus Dinger (Neu!) The influence of this track can be heard pretty clearly on “Indica.” I’ve always loved this groove.
2/ NEU! - Hallogallo
And to complete the brace of drumming influences, here’s Klaus Dinger with the finest example of the famous Motorik beat, which you can hear the clear influence of on “Love Comes In Waves” and “Skywalker." It’s just a great backbeat which seems to propel tracks forward. Massively influential on this record also, is Michael Rother, whose guitar playing forms a huge part of who I am as a guitarist.
3/ The Stone Roses - Don’t Stop
One of the most innovative production ideas ever. To reverse a track and write a new song out of it. I especially loved it when on the reunion tour, they would play this live. An incredible record which spins "Waterfall" on its head, and turns it into something that pulls your mind inside out. I used this idea various ways on the album, “Indica” being an example of a reversed vocal from another song on the record.
4/ Sault - Living in America
One of the few contemporary influences that found their way onto my album. I heard this mysterious band on 6Music and immediately got hold of their albums. I love the minimalism of this song, it was something which had a direct influence on ���Cherry Cola” on my record.
5/ Spacemen 3 - Big City
My first plan for this album was that it would be a 12” single. I wanted to do two long songs and I remember telling Nat from Sonic Cathedral that this song was a reference for how it was going. At this stage the single would have been “Indica / Heat Haze”. But I realised that meant there would be no actual songs, so that’s when I started to rethink and expand my thinking on what the release could be, which led to it becoming an album. But Spacemen 3 are one of the central influences on my music since I first started a band.
6/ David Bowie - Lazarus
Bowie’s death was the wake up call which started me down a path of releasing solo music. I had a moment with David Bowie while driving my car and listening to this song a few days after he died. It led to me feeling the time was right to do something on my own. I love this song, it’s incredible. Bowie is a shining example of how to live your life as a musician and as a person.
7/ Tame Impala - Desire Be Desire Go
I was so into the early Tame Impala sound. I still like them a lot, but I preferred when it felt more like a rock band rather than a studio thing. This is my favourite Tame Impala tune, I would say that with tracks like “Aubrey Drylands Gladwell," I’m going for some of that same energy.
8/ Andrew Weatherall - Making Friends With The Invader
The invader of the title is a 1960’s Vox Invader guitar that I bought off Andrew a few years ago. When I came around to his studio to try it out, I ended up playing on this track he was recording, and the next, and the next, I ended up staying with him in the studio for two weeks, and had a brilliant time just playing on stuff and talking absolute nonsense with Andrew and Nina. A lovely memory to have of an absolute titan of music, and hero of mine, who very sadly passed away this year.
9/ Big Star - Kanga Roo
A magnificent, broken, atmospheric rock record from the legendary power pop group, Big Star. This is an influence over my whole sound. When I made my first solo single, which came out late 2019 on Sonic Cathedral, I was channeling this atmosphere on the song “Plastic Bag”.
10/ Ride - Catch You Dreaming
My day job! Since David Bowie died, and I started making this album, Ride have managed to make two albums and an EP. This is from the EP Tomorrow's Shore, which came out in-between the two albums. It’s probably my favourite of the tracks we’ve released since we got back together. I love being a member of Ride, we are going to be recording again soon, which I am really excited about. This tracks influence can be heard on “Heat Haze on Weyland Road” on my album.
Here's everything but the Andrew Weatherall track in one handy playlist: