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On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast, we’ve put together the drummers from two of the UK’s biggest bands in recent memory: Dave Rowntree and Philip Selway.
Rowntree came to fame with Blur, one of the original Britpop bands of the early 1990s. I probably don’t need to give you much biography on Blur, but in the band’s couple of long hiatuses, Rowntree has lived about a dozen lives. He’s been an amateur pilot, a professional lawyer, an elected politician, and a social activist. On the music front, he found yet another career creating soundtracks for TV and film, starting with the Bros documentary After the Screaming Stops. Blur is back together for some massive shows in 2023, but during the pandemic Rowntree got together—virtually, of course—with producer Leo Abrahams to make his proper solo album. Freed from the constraints of both his bandmates and showrunners, Rowntree did his own thing, and the result is Radio Songs, a delightful 10-song album that flirts with Britpop here and there, but flirts with other interesting sounds as well. Here’s “London Bridge.”
Philip Selway is best known as the drummer for another huge British band, Radiohead, with whom he’s been making music since 1985. Though he always had the itch to write his own songs, it wasn’t until 2010 that Selway actually took the leap and released his first solo album, the gentle Familial. In between Radiohead duties, he’s found the time to release another one—the more sonically expansive Weatherhouse in 2014—and work on some soundtracks as well. Selway is now gearing up for the release of his third and most ambitious album yet: Strange Dance comes out toward the end of February, and it features a bunch of Selway’s musical friends on a very cinematic-yet-personal-sounding set songs. You can preorder various formats here; in the meantime, check out “Check for Signs of Life.”
In this conversation, these two drummers sound immediately chummy, though they were only passing acquaintances beforehand. They talk about stepping away from bigger bands to do your own thing, including the process of finding your own voice. “What if it’s rubbish?” laughs Rowntree at the top of the chat, proving that even the biggest stars can have doubts. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Dave Rowntree and Philip Selway for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all we’ve got to offer at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
(Photo Credit: left, Phil Sharp; right, Paul Postle; Edited by: Keenan Kush.)