Get your freak on: 10 interviews with cult musicians that will inspire your inner eccentric

As any great artist will tell you, there are many ways of being and many different paths to take to get to where you need to go - in creative pursuits and life in general. The trick is to find the one that makes you comfortable (or uncomfortable, if you like a challenge) and stick to it.

Need a little encouragement along the way to help prevent you from blending in? Have a listen to these 10 interviews with highly individual individuals, taken from shows like Tom Robinson's on 6 Music and Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone that positively celebrate the beauty in being entirely unlike everyone else.

1. Julian Cope

There's nothing worse than people making an account of their lives and going, 'I meant to do that...'
Julian Cope

Julian Cope does not see the world the way other people do, and he's a wonderful storyteller. In this interview with Mary Anne Hobbs, the quotable moments come thick and fast, such as this perfect summation of the difference between punk and post-punk: "The way I define post-punk was that really they were the people who couldn't play but were big fans of punk groups. All the original punk groups could actually play. I was somewhat disappointed when I first heard Anarchy in the UK because only Johnny Rotten was a punk! The actual musical backing was quite capable."

Or this, on the art of writing a decent autobiography without undue historical revision: "There's nothing worse than people making an account of their lives and going, 'I meant to do that...' I think it was CG Jung who said - I'm paraphrasing - nobody can drink of the wineglass of life without dribbling a bit."

There's nothing worse than people making an account of their lives and going, 'I meant to do that...'
Julian Cope

2. Aquasonic

I took a microphone and put a condom around it and I was ready to go
Laila Skovmand

Aquasonic's revolutionary idea of taking a whole band and placing their instruments underwater began quite humbly, with a voice and a bowl, and progressed until an entire ensemble of instruments had to be developed (no chance of sticking anything electrical in there, after all).

Singer Laila Skovmand told told Stuart Maconie in June 2016: "I wanted to explore new ways of singing, so I thought if I sang on the surface of the water I might get a reverbed sound, a delayed sound... I had a kind of flight case that I covered with plastic, put water in the flight case, then I took a microphone and put a condom around it and I was ready to go."

I took a microphone and put a condom around it and I was ready to go
Laila Skovmand

3. Laurie Anderson

Get a really good bull detector
Laurie Anderson

There's a fuller excerpt of the great sonic explorer Laurie Anderson's interview with Lauren Laverne, and a lengthy chat with Stuart Maconie too, as well as a Key of Life interview with Mary Anne Hobbs, but this clip is perfect in its concision, and helpful nature to all free spirits. It's Laurie and husband Lou Reed's three rules to live by, the second of which is "get a really good bull [as in the cow-based word for nonsense] detector and learn how to use it".

Get a really good bull detector
Laurie Anderson

4. Scott Walker

I'm sure I'll let the critics down
Scott Walker

Scott Walker will always be an inspirational figure to anyone who wants to throw off expectations and tread their own path. He's been a pop star, a chanteur, a creator of palate challenging solo albums, and, as background to this interview with Stuart Maconie, worked with Sunn O))), the masters of sustained drones. And being a natural zagger in a world of zigs, it's his penultimate answer that is the most telling. When asked if he feels the critics have finally started to understand his more recent work, Scott quips, "I'm sure I'll let them down."

I'm sure I'll let the critics down
Scott Walker

5. Peaches

I have a disease called I Must Entertain You
Peaches

Peaches does not do things by halves. During this conversation with Tom Robinson, she reveals that this is less a matter of personal choice and more a compulsion. Asked what she has up her sleeve for an upcoming one-woman show, she replies:

"I have nothing up my sleeve, actually. I wear it on my sleeve and I throw it out there. I have a disease and it's called I Must Entertain You and so I have to give 500 per cent of my energy. I find if I hold back at all, it hurts more... I like to be very interactive and very raw."

I have a disease called I Must Entertain You
Peaches

6. Eugene Hütz of Gogol Bordello

There's art that strives on the form, and art that destroys the form
Eugene Hütz

Some bands are indelible from the moment you first set eyes on them, and Gogol Bordello are blessed with a leader who is not only vividly charismatic, but exceptionally good at talking too (having, he claims, learned to speak English by listening to Johnny Cash songs). Within seconds of starting this intriguing interview with Tom Robinson, he explains the boundary-free rowdiness of his band using a literary analogy: "There's art that strives on the form, and art that destroys the form. Nabokov is the form, it's all about form, and Dostoyevsky breaks the form and that's why Nabokov hates Dostoyevsky, but Dostoyevsky is way more advanced as a writer than Nabokov."

As glorious self-delight goes, that's on a par with Kanye West.

There's art that strives on the form, and art that destroys the form
Eugene Hütz

7. Squarepusher

There's disparity between the person listeners are talking to and yourself
Squarepusher

As Squarepusher, Tom Jenkinson is a one-man industry, making enormously fiddly electronica with strong jazz and drum and bass influences. As a cult star, meeting fans at his gigs, he's acutely aware that people interpret him in a way that he can't control, and, as he explains to Stuart Maconie, that makes him nervous:

"The guesswork that you make as a listener about the person who made that music is that, it is guesswork... you'll talk to some people who've got a very complete idea about what this person Squarepusher is going be like, so when you're conversing with this person, they're talking to an idea and you sense this really horrible disparity between this person they're talking to and yourself. And to be honest, I find that horrifying."

There's disparity between the person listeners are talking to and yourself
Squarepusher

8. Vashti Bunyan

I try to bring quieter music into the mainstream
Vashti Bunyan

Vashti Bunyan may no longer be biffing around Scotland on a horse and cart, as she did while making her pastoral 1970 masterpiece, Just Another Diamond Day, but she's staying true to her original motivation as a musician, which is to win an audience for non-rowdy music. She talks to Stuart Maconie about her mission to, "Try to bring quieter music into the mainstream. I never succeeded, but that was where I was trying to go."

And what may surprise fans of the rural charm of Vashti's music is quite how smitten she is with modern recording technology.

I try to bring quieter music into the mainstream
Vashti Bunyan

9. Michael Gira of Swans

I don't really care at all about the music industry, per se
Michael Gira

For everyone scared of standing out in a crowd, Michael Gira's rock solid sense of self, whether discussing new Swans music, paying for music or creating elaborate and silly metaphors, is tremendously reassuring. There's a great moment in this interview with Stuart Maconie where he's asked if there's something liberating about the new, post-internet way the music business operates, and with no scorn for the question at all, he stonily replies: "I suppose it's liberating in that it's also liberating if you're naked and being lead through a pine forest in your bare feet while being whipped by an over-sized monkey... But I don't really care at all about the music industry, per se."

I don't really care at all about the music industry, per se
Michael Gira

10. Wolfgang Buttress (and friends)

The bees themselves are actually in the key of C
Wolfgang Buttress

Wolfgang Buttress is an artist who created a giant hive of bees for the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo, and he brought in fellow honey-lovers Jason Pierce of Spiritualized and Youth to create a soundtrack using the hive sounds as inspiration.

Wolfgang explained the project to Mary Anne Hobbs: "The bees themselves are actually in the key of C and then we just had this moment of epiphany where we had the sound of the bees, we had the sound of the singing, the human voice and the cello, and it melded into this most amazing, amazing sound."

The bees themselves are actually in the key of C
Wolfgang Buttress

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