MBW’s Key Songs In The Life Of… is a sequence during which we ask influential music trade figures concerning the tracks which have – to date – outlined their journey and their existence. This time, it’s the flip of Jérémy Erlich, International Head of Music at Spotify – and with it, one of the vital necessary decision-makers within the trendy enterprise. The Key Songs In The Life Of… sequence is supported by Sony Music Publishing.
At first look, you won’t assume that Jérémy Erlich is a musical mutineer.
Erlich is now comfortably established within the higher echelons of music biz company duties – not solely at Spotify, but in addition in his earlier job, as CFO & EVP of Enterprise Growth at Interscope Data.
He’s well-turned-out too, assembly MBW in Spotify’s Los Angeles places of work in a pointy blazer and crisp open-necked shirt.
He even – and it will get defined afterward on this interview – pronounces Serge Gainsbourg with delicate gallic aptitude, relatively than together with your writer’s leaden anglicized lumpiness.
Regardless of all of this, Erlich was, and to some extent nonetheless is, as he places it, “in love with the sound of offended protest”.
That is the enjoyment of MBW’s Key Songs… sequence: it reveals the autobiographical realness on which main execs/entrepreneurs’ modern-day presentation is constructed.
Within the case of Erlich (whose staff is getting ready for Spotify’s Stream On occasion later this week) that realness traverses the fury-infused sounds of Rage Towards The Machine and Ice Dice, by the use of Chic, The Grateful Lifeless, BLACKPINK, Bob Dylan, and the aforementioned Monsieur Gainsbourg.
But as Erlich explains under, his musical life, traditionally talking, begins in France, as a toddler, watching his dad spin Pink Floyd on the family turntable…
1) Pink Floyd, Want You Have been Right here (1975)
My musical style, my love for music, all began with my dad. And that is my first actual music reminiscence – my dad’s file assortment and, particularly, Pink Floyd’s Want You Have been Right here.
Want You Have been Right here triggered my love of music. That album and [its eponymous lead] track have all the time been with me.
I used to be born in France, then moved to the USA as a child, then moved again to France. Earlier than touchdown in France, each of my mother and father had been born in Poland, earlier than making their separate methods to Paris.
My dad has all the time primarily listened to American music, British traditional rock, and jazz; my mother has solely actually ever beloved The Beatles.
My dad’s jazz assortment was by no means my factor as a child. However the traditional rock facet [of his vinyl], from Deep Purple to Pink Floyd, resonated. The picture on the entrance of Want You Have been Right here, the person on hearth, is eternally ingrained in my thoughts.
I might have been 9 after I pulled out that album for the primary time. I simply bear in mind pondering, ‘What the F is that this?!’ And you then hearken to the lyrics – “two misplaced souls swimming in a fish bowl” – wow. I nonetheless hearken to that track at the very least as soon as every week.
2) Ice Dice, It Was A Good Day (1992)
I used to be born in Paris, then moved to Austin, Texas after I was seven. In Austin, I went to American public college, and that’s the place I discovered English as a French child… the arduous means! After which, aged 11, I moved to San Francisco, then to Houston – I went to French colleges each instances – and at 15, I moved again to France.
I used to be dwelling in San Francisco after I first heard Ice Dice. I’m unsure when you bear in mind this, however there was the Columbia Home CD factor – when you might purchase 5 albums for a penny or no matter, then cancel [the subscription] instantly as a result of it was too costly.
Ice Dice’s The Predator was a kind of albums. The remaining I’m not significantly happy with! However I’ve all the time been drawn to lyrics, and that album was very present, and really lyrical.
“I’m a fan of socially aware, form of offended, the-world-is-fucked-up music. Ice Dice actually opened my eyes to part of that world, as an 11-year-old child going to a French college in San Francisco.”
If somebody ever asks me to explain my favourite style of music, it’s protest music. I’m a fan of socially aware, form of offended, the-world-is-fucked-up music. Ice Dice actually opened my eyes to part of that world, as an 11-year-old child going to a French college in San Francisco.
This track began my love of hip-hop. From there I went to Dre, to NWA, to Tupac, and that form of led into everybody I like at the moment, like Kendrick Lamar.
It Was A Good Day is protest music in a really totally different means than protest music from that traditional rock protest period; it’s a catchy, optimistic track, however the subject material is an actual perception right into a world which I used to be fully unfamiliar with.
It moved me and impressed me, as a child attempting to determine what the world means.
3) Chic, Santeria (1996)
Once I was dwelling in North California [San Fran], I might have been 13 or so, and this period of [mid-nineties] various rock turned vastly influential in my life.
Santeria by Chic sums all of it up. I can nonetheless sing each lyric of that track when it comes on the radio or on a playlist.
I began attempting to sneak into Grateful Lifeless reveals [in this era]; I bear in mind being out attempting to scout a ticket, after which Jerry Garcia died. That was essentially the most traumatic day of my life as a 14-year-old.
4) Rage Towards The Machine, Killing In The Title (1992)
Rage Towards The Machine was the primary live performance I consciously went to with my very own cash. I completely beloved Rage, and I really like them to today.
Killing In The Title is clearly pure protest music that opens your eyes to the plight of various individuals on the planet.
Once I first heard this, I’m in all probability in Houston, and I’m 15 or 16. You may really feel the anger, the riot, within the devices. I believe the Rage Towards The Machine album and Evil Empire are among the greatest items of protest music which have ever been recorded.
“I saved the Rage T-shirt I purchased at that present for about 10 years too lengthy.”
They’re all geniuses in that band, however Zach’s lyrics, his efficiency on stage, “Fuck you I received’t do what you inform me”… I imply, it’s not Shakespearean, but it surely’s among the greatest lyrics that I’ve ever heard. His cadence too, for a ‘rock’ band, it was so totally different on the time.
I saved the Rage T-shirt I purchased at that present for about 10 years too lengthy. Each time I’ve heard a track like this in my life, it’s triggered a lot deeper issues – and a need to study what these causes are.
5) Bob Dylan, Blowin’ In The Wind (1963) / Leonard Cohen, Chook On The Wire (1969)
I may have picked any track by these two artists.
I used to be in faculty in Chicago, my early 20s [studying Economics and International Relations at Northwestern], after I actually began appreciating Dylan and Leonard Cohen.
Bob Dylan is Godlike in my thoughts, and I believe Leonard Cohen’s an in depth second. Each of those songs, I want I had written. They’re lyrically excellent.
“It’s pure poetry, Nobel-worthy literature. It’s all the pieces that I believe a track must be.”
Each of those artists are ‘distinct’ vocalists, and the melodies of those songs aren’t significantly sophisticated, but it surely’s all concerning the phrases. It’s pure poetry, Nobel-worthy literature. It’s all the pieces that I believe a track must be.
Creating songs which can be lyrically timeless is such a tough factor to do. These two songs are perfection.
6) Serge Gainsbourg, Je suis venu te dire que je m’en vais (1973)
Serge Gainsbourg deserves to be in the identical class because the Dylans and the Cohens. He’s an incredible lyricist, and that is merely the perfect unhappy love track that’s ever been written.
It’s all about leaving somebody, but it surely’s simply such a superbly written piece of music.
As a really proud Frenchman, I wanted a French track in right here as a result of French music total has had an enormous affect on and in my life. I toyed with this one: Do I put a Daft Punk track in? However they’re largely in English so it doesn’t actually matter! Gainsbourg to me is among the greatest French lyricists there’s ever been.
“That is merely the perfect unhappy love track that’s ever been written.”
We spoke French at residence, I went to French colleges, there was sufficient French affect in my life [to expose Erlich to French music as a teenager]. However I’d additionally watch MTV, I’d attempt to sneak into Grateful Lifeless concert events, I’d go see Rage Towards The Machine – the tradition round me was very American.
Then after I moved again to France aged 15 or 16, dwelling within the suburbs of Paris, I dove into this music that I knew tangentially, however I’d by no means been immersed in.
That’s the place my deeper appreciation of French music emerged. I’ve by no means misplaced that cultural connection since.
7) DDU-DU DDU-DU, BLACKPINK (2018)
My good friend who I went to highschool with in London, JJ [Joojong “JJ” Joe], who labored at YG North America, would all the time ship me emails about Korean music. And at some point, whereas I used to be working at Interscope, he despatched me this track by BlackPink.
I watched the video and was like, ‘Holy shit, that is nice music’ – regardless of, clearly, not talking Korean. BTS was turning into one thing [in the US] presently, however Ok-pop wasn’t the place it was at the moment, it was nonetheless within the early part.
“This was the primary track the place [as someone working in the music industry] I actually believed in an artist, and risked my very own popularity on saying, We’ve to do one thing with them.”
I simply actually believed in [Blackpink] and the flexibility for these 4 girls to cross over. I ended up going to Korea a bunch, falling in love with Korean tradition, signing them to Interscope through the YG partnership, and I’ve been near the band ever since.
This was the primary track the place [as someone working in the music industry] I actually believed in an artist, and risked my very own popularity on saying, ‘We’ve to do one thing with them. They’re glorious, and I’ll proceed to do no matter I can to assist them fulfill their full potential.’ As quickly as I heard it I assumed: ‘We don’t have something like this within the US.’
I’m nonetheless near all of the members: they’re improbable, such arduous staff, and so proficient. However they’re additionally the proper group: they’re all very opinionated, they’re all very totally different, they’re very proficient in several methods – however convey them collectively and it simply clicks.
I really feel so privileged to have had a entrance seat to observe them develop to what they’re at the moment. They’re wonderful.
Key Songs In The Life Of… is supported by Sony Music Publishing. SMP represents traditional catalogs together with The Beatles, Queen, Motown, Carole King, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Leiber & Stoller, Leonard Cohen, Stevie Marvel, Michael Jackson and The Rolling Stones, in addition to beloved modern songwriters similar to Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé, Woman Gaga, Olivia Rodrigo, Calvin Harris, Daddy Yankee, Gabby Barrett, Jay-Z, Ye, Luke Bryan, Maluma, Marc Anthony, Miranda Lambert, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, Sara Bareilles, Sean “Love” Combs, Travis Scott and lots of extra.Music Enterprise Worldwide