erasing clouds

100 Musicians Answer the Same 10 Questions

Part Seventy-Four: Roy Thirlwall of The Windmills and Melodie Group

instigated by dave heaton

Roy Thirlwall is a pop-rock craftsman, with a legacy of impeccably formed songs that are sad and sweet, wry and hopeful, and above all memorable. Anything with his name attached to it shares these qualities, whether it's his band the Windmills' albums (the most recent was 2003's Now Is Then) or his solo project Melodie Group. Both have releases on Matinee Recordings. Check out the Melodie Group blog and Windmills blog for more information.


What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?

I'm just embarking on a new and exciting collaboration with someone I have respected and admired for years and years.

What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged?

The lifetime that lies between thought and expression.

What are you up to right now, music-wise? (Current or upcoming recordings, tours, extravaganzas, experiments, top-secret projects, etc).

I refer the right honourable gentleman to the answer I gave for question 1.

What's the most unusual place you've ever played a show or made a recording? How did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

Southend-on-Sea. It has no qualities. It has the opposite of qualities, but I can't think what that word is. Those anti-qualities made every show there a nasty, hateful, shitty experience. S-o-S, see? It's not a coincidence.

In what ways does the place where you live (or places where you have lived), affect the music you create, or your taste in music?

Luckily Southend-on-Sea doesn't seem to affect my music too much because I live mostly in my own mind. I suppose living in Southend-on-Sea sent me there. Sometimes I think I'm a figment of my own imagination.

When was the last time you wrote a song? What can you tell us about it?

The last song I wrote on my own is called 'Sunlight.' It's eight minutes and seventeen seconds long, which is the time it takes for light to reach the Earth from the Sun. I'm not a big fan of long songs. Apart from anything else, I think it's incredibly rude to expect people to listen to songs for a long time. I start to get a bit dizzy on anything over two minutes thirty, playing or listening, or both, so I nearly black out when I play 'Sunlight.'

As you create more music, do you find yourself getting more or less interested in seeking out and listening to new music made by other people...and why do you think that is?

More interested. I like shiny new things. But sometimes less interested, because I don't want to be polluted. Depends where I am in my cycle.

Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener? (Old or new music? Music like yours or different from yours?)

I like anything with a good beat.

Name a musician or band, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE and think more people should be listening to. What's one of your all-time favorite recordings by this musician/band?

Myself, obviously. I really like 'When It Was Winter' by The Windmills.

What's the saddest song you've ever heard?

The trouble with the sad songs I like is they tend to be somehow uplifting, and not really sad at all. You know, that Joy Division thing. So it would probably be 'Give It Up' by KC and the Sunshine Band, because it reminds me of a time when I was very happy, and I know I'll never be that happy again.

To check out the rest of the Q&As, click here.

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