Belle and Sebastian

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Stuart Murdoch

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Photo: Julio Enriquez for Flickr Creative Commons

Belle and Sebastian founder Stuart Murdoch on making 'Indie Pop'

As founder of the indie-pop band Belle and Sebastian, Murdoch has an affinity for popular music of the past. The Brit-pop movement of the 1980s or the sunshiny American pop of the 1960s are some of his favorite genres. The 1980s were a great time for the musician. He had little interest in creating music as a kid outside of a few piano lessons and recitals. Then there was the occasional DJ set during his formative college years. Still, being a spectator of music was very much a part of his life.

Around the beginning of the 1990s, though, that changed. Murdoch started to feel exhausted and sore pretty much all the time. He couldn't concentrate. Sleep would come, but it wouldn't help. He'd come down with chronic fatigue fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME. Murdoch dropped out of school, stopped running track, stopped DJing. At home, he started writing songs on the piano. And on the advice of his doctor, he took a class for unemployed musicians.

There he met Stuart David, and the music they made together eventually became Belle & Sebastian.

Since their debut, Belle and Sebastian records have made it on literally hundreds of top ten lists. Their second album, 1996's If You're Feeling Sinister, is routinely called one of the best albums of the 90s.

These days Murdoch still fronts the band and still writes music, he's got a wife and kids and through all that, he still deals with chronic fatigue.

The band is back with a new album. It's the original soundtrack to Days of Bagnold Summer. It features a breathtaking new track, Sister Buddha.

Murdoch joins Bullseye to talk about retro pop music, how meditation changed his music and songwriting. Plus, Jesse and Stuart talk about the great game of baseball. If you didn't know, Stuart's a Mets fan.

If you're traveling in Europe this fall, click here for Belle and Sebastian's upcoming tour dates.

For the rest of us, you can purchase their latest album on vinyl here.

This interview originally aired in February of 2018.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: David Wain and Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
David Wain
Guests: 
Stuart Murdoch

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo: Jesse Thorn

David Wain on his new Netflix film "A Futile and Stupid Gesture"

David Wain got his first big break very early on in his life as a co-founder of the MTV sketch comedy show "The State." He then went on to direct "Role Models" and the cult classic "Wet Hot American Summer," but the transition from hit network television show to popular movie director was neither clear nor direct. For a long time after "The State," Wain was down on his luck - he didn't have another job and was not being asked to work on anything else. Wain tells Jesse about his time in therapy and how that helped him plan his next move toward filmmaking, which ultimately, led him to where he is today.

His latest Netflix movie "A Futile and Stupid Gesture," is about the successful, yet tragic life of Wain's own comedic hero Doug Kenney. Kenney founded The National Lampoon magazine and made the movies "Animal House" and "Caddyshack" - two movies that had huge impacts on fans of comedy everywhere, including Wain.

Click here to hear the interview on YouTube!

Photo: Kmeron via Flickr Creative Commons

Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian on his latest EPs "How to Solve Our Human Problems"

The last installment of indie pop band Belle and Sebastian's EP trilogy "How to Solve Our Human Problems" is out this week. Stuart Murdoch is the band's founder and lead vocalist. Belle and Sebastian's records are on hundreds of top 10 lists and their second album "If You're Feeling Sinister" is considered by many critics to be one of the best albums of the '90's.

Murdoch admits that when he was young becoming a musician was never part of his life plan. His path to founding Belle and Sebastian actually began with an illness. In the 1980's, Murdoch first discovered his continued struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome. He dropped out of college, spent a lot of time in the hospital, and moved back in with his parents. It was there in the quiet moments that he began to write tunes on his piano. On the suggestion of his doctor, he joined a class for unemployed musicians where he met Stuart David, Belle and Sebastian's co-founder.

Murdoch also talks with Jesse about his passion for baseball, why many of the songs in the latest EPs are ones your uncle would want to dance to at a wedding, and how his interest in Buddhism and meditation play a part in the overall concept of "How to Solve Our Human Problems."

Click here to hear the interview on YouTube!

Bob Levey / Stringer / Getty Images

The Outshot: Scarface

And finally, on the Outshot, Houston rapper Scarface has shaped his career by directly facing the trauma and consequences of gang violence, not just the desire for power and fear that fuel it.

Click here to hear the interview on YouTube!

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