Soak: On My Culture Radar

Singer-songwriter on Jack Coulter’s paintings and why ‘Atypical’ strikes a chord

Soak: “I really like going to a city with not that many plans and seeing what happens.”

Soak: “I really like going to a city with not that many plans and seeing what happens.”

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Current favourite book 
I never read a book straight through, so I always have about five books on the go. At the moment I’m reading poems by Andrea Gibson, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein and King Ink by Nick Cave. That’s a collection of poetry, writing and lyrics, and it’s got a lot of his drawings in it too, it’s really cool. 

Restaurant 
I live in Manchester now and just went to a restaurant called Australasia. It’s a place for special occasions – I was celebrating finishing my album, and my girlfriend and I dressed up quite fancy for it. They serve Asian fusion food as small dishes, like tapas. The octopus balls were particularly nice. Manchester is incredible for restaurants. Whatever you want you can get it: Thai food, Jamaican food and I live right near the Curry Mile. There’s just so much variation compared to a smaller place like Derry, and it’s well-priced too.   

Comedian 
I really like Cameron Esposito. She had a podcast called Queery in which she interviews other comedians and LGBT women. She knows the questions to ask and she’s funny about it, which makes it a lighter topic.

Play/musical 
I recorded my album in London and had a lot of chill time, so I’ve been to almost every musical in the West End, on my own. My favourite show was Mood Music, which showed at The Old Vic. Seána Kerslake was in it, and she was incredible. The idea is that the stage doesn’t change at all. Depending on what area of the stage they’re on, they’re in a different room. It was an incredible thing to watch. 

Artist/designer 
Recently I’ve been admiring the work of Jack Coulter, who’s from Belfast. I’ve never seen anyone work from brush to canvas that way without using a computer. He has synesthesia, so when he hears something, it creates a visual image for him, and he paints that. You learn which songs he’s painted, and it makes sense when you listen to the song – it looks how it sounds. 

City  
I’d say Berlin. I really like going to a city with not that many plans and seeing what happens, and that’s the perfect city for it. It’s a creative place, although less so as it gets gentrified. When I go, I stay in Michelberger by the east wall and it’s the best place. It’s as if someone got a load of stuff from a dump and did it up so it looks really polished, and the rooms are compact and cosy. Every time I go, I end up having really deep conversations with the people in its bar.

Album 
I’ve been listening to a lot of Broken Social Scene recently. I like the most recent one [Hug of Thunder] but You Forgot It in People is my favourite, it’s like Pink Floyd but poppy and in 2002. Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl is the most nostalgic song in the world.

Actor 
I love Timothée Chalamet who’s in Call Me by Your Name. He just did an interview with Harry Styles from One Direction for Vice and they talked loads about how they can be effeminate but masculine at the same time. It’s an incredible interview not least because they’re both massive legends. 

Podcast 
The last one I enjoyed was Phil Taggart’s Slacker Podcast. We’re friends, he’s from Omagh. He interviews bands like Wolf Alice – that was a really good episode – and Slaves, and he’s very funny. Because it’s a podcast, he can really go into detail about into their career from the start, and he’s genuinely interested. 

Social media profile 
There’s an artist called Snailmail (@Snailmailband) and her Twitter posts are really funny. There’s one better than that: @perfumegenius. He’s funny and he hits the nail on the head every time. His music is similar.

TV show 
Atypical on Netflix is about a kid, Sam, who’s autistic, and how he goes through high school with those struggles. My little brother is autistic so I know how accurate it is. The first series concentrated on Sam, but the new second series goes into the common issues the families face. They have to exaggerate parts of it, as all TV shows do, do but it’s nice to see a programme accurately tackle autism whilst also being entertaining.

Film 
I just watched The Life Aquatic, the Wes Anderson movie. My girlfriend watches films based on the Rotten Tomatoes review and The Life Aquatic doesn’t qualify, so I watched it on my own and it was fantastic. Anything by Wes Anderson is high-quality. But it’s not his top movie – that would be The Grand Budapest Hotel

Soak plays Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast (November 26th) and The Grand Social, Dublin (27th). 

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