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Back to Mine with David Holmes

"I was a huge Sex Pistols fan when I was 8..."

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14:44 Tuesday 22 April 2014

Music producer and DJ David Holmes was Tom’s latest guest for ‘Back to Mine’. The Belfast native is best known for the music he has made for major films such as Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven and Steve McQueen’s Hunger.

Holmes’ credentials speak for themselves but where did his passion for music begin?

Remarkably, he is the youngest of ten children. He discovered music because his brothers and sisters were always playing records such as The Who, The Beatles and the punk bands as he grew up.

‘All those records were always in my home...so I never had to go looking for them...they were always on in the background. Rock history was given to me on a plate’.

He says, ‘I was a huge Sex Pistols fan when I was 8...it was such a racket and it sounded so exciting to me’.

For Holmes’ first song choice he picked John Barry’s main theme to the classic Jon Voight film Midnight Cowboy (see below).

“I just remember watching it and being so moved and excited, with this incredible soundtrack. It’s still one of my favourite soundtracks of all time,” he said.

Growing up in Belfast, Holmes was very aware of the Troubles as a youngster. He says the regular threat of violence meant that “you spent a lot of time just sitting in and living in your own world...and for me that was music and watching movies”.

He used to go to a mod club called the Abercorn in Belfast. One night the DJ didn’t show up and Holmes was asked to fill in because he had great records. “From that point I just started DJ’ing,” he explained. “My whole introduction to music production came from records”.

For his second song, Holmes picked Smoke Belch by the Sabers of Paradise.

“I’ve never heard a DJ inspire me as much as he has,” he said. He saw him DJ in Brighton once and “every track he played completely blew my mind”.

The acid music explosion in the late ‘80s made Holmes realise that he didn’t have to be a skilled, qualified musician to make good music.

“It would be impossible for me to orchestrate and sit and study score. If I’m doing a movie like Oceans Eleven, I’m working with my records but I’m also working with a lot of different musicians and we improvise and make things from scratch through the picture”.

Holmes was keen to stress the continuing importance of his hometown to his music.

“I lived in LA for 18 months but in the end I decided I wanted to come back to Belfast because there is just something about being at home...I actually think I make better music when I’m in my own studio in Belfast,” he explained.

Holmes chose Abandon Window by Jon Hopkins as his final song choice.

“Jon is one of the most inspiring musicians I’ve ever worked with...this song moved me to tears”.

 

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