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Guest of the Month September 2013: James Foley

James Foley is the Head of Editorial, UK and Ireland for Deezer – the global music streaming service which launched in UK in 2011 which has just been announced as the official digital music partner for the Momentum Music Fund.

One of the things that set Deezer apart from other services is their approach to editorial. In each territory where the service is available, real music experts on Deezer’s team spend time making recommendations and highlighting the best new music. No stranger to helping people discover music, his previous role was as Music Editor at influential industry publication Record of the Day.

On partnering up with Momentum Fund, he told us:

“Although the appetite for brand new artists and new music in the UK has never been healthier, it does feel like a disproportionate amount of energy and effort is geared towards debuts, first weeks of releases and initial launches. What I personally like about Momentum is that it looks beyond that launch moment, and helps inject support into an artist’s career at any stage beyond their initial debut. I’m interested to see how the funding is used and seeing projects from funding to completion. Of course, I’m also really pleased that Deezer is going to help give a further injection of support along the way.”

We asked James to tell us about some pieces of music and performances that have inspired him recently. He told us:

Nils Frahm at St John-at Hackney , July 2013
A German pianist signed to London label Erased Tapes, Nils is one of the most interesting contemporary classical composers I’ve had the pleasure to see live. He mixes classic synth and neo-classical piano melodies with arresting results. This show, in a magnificent Georgian era church, left a huge impression on me.

Pet Shop Boys – Electric
There is something hugely satisfying – and inspirational – about seeing the popstars you grew up loving still producing career-highs twenty-plus years on. This is a belter of an album, from the whopping dance bangers like Axis and Vocal to the  Example-featuring Thursday.

Other Voices London, Wilton’s Music Hall , April 2013
An Irish TV show which normally captures intimate performance from big artists in the setting of a small church in Dingle, Co. Kerry, Other Voices went on tour for series 11. In April it rolled into Wilton’s Music Hall, in co-operation with Barbican. There is some kind of magic in the show’s DNA -artists refer other artists to play and so that creates a really comfortable space for performers. Seeing John Grant and Conor O’ Brien (Villagers) perform ‘Glacier’ was so special, I’m a huge admirer of both.

Velociraptors, The Great Escape, May 2013
They’re a garage pop-rock band from Brisbane. There’s 12 of them on stage for a full show, we counted six guitarists at the Brighton gig for The Aussie BBQ. A young and explosive orchestra of guitars and gang vocals in Ramones tribute mode, with a front man channelling Iggy Pop. The show was just a blast – they masterfully conveyed the sheer joy of being young and in a band. I want to go on tour with them.

Sophie – Bipp
I don’t know anything about Sophie apart from that it’s one of those ‘projects of a London-based producer, shrouded in mystery etc. etc.’, and this came out earlier this year on Glasgow label Numbers. I found this on the always excellent Popjustice who called it “fantastically fresh-sounding and lightly demented”. It’s weird and I love it.