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Mix Sessions: Nicky Wire - Q Magazine, February 2008

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Title: Mix Sessions: Nicky Wire
Publication: Q Magazine
Date: February 2008


Tunes to do the housework to. By Manic Street Preachers' Nicky Wire.

I'm not an expert on techno, but this is a fantastic piece of music. It's an instrumental and very soothing at the same time as being very disciplined in a marching, Teutonic kind of way. The start is ominous, like an electronic version of the Get Carter theme. It's my making-the-beds song. Would I describe myself as being obsessed with cleaning? There have been periods in my life when undoubtedly, yes, it has become too much, I'm not sure I've ever had OCD, but I definitely got close to it. I've always been hyper-organised. When I was at university in Swansea I didn't leave my room for a year. I used to cook beans by putting the tin in the kettle and boiling it. I felt totally alienated, and I missed [Manics bandmates] James [Dean Bradfield], Sean [Moore] and Richey [Edwards]. But I stuck it out and it got better, and I got some good lyrics out of it.

That Petrol Emotion were a really underrated band- I can still hear John Peel's voice introducing one of their sessions. They were really politicised and did these great press releases to try to change people's perception of Northern Ireland. This is two-and-a-half minutes of pop joy I like to listen to it during my next job, which is washing the dishes. It's one or the better cleaning jobs because you get a real sense of achievement from doing something easy Why don't I use a dishwasher? Dishwashers are despicable inventions, I hate them, They never do it properly You have to scrape the plates, but there's still always stains on them and they scorch everything, My wife uses the dishwasher and it drives me mad. No, I like washing up with my hypo-allergenic gloves from Boots - I'm allergic to rubber - and my eco-friendly washing up liquid.

This is perfect doing the polishing. It's almost philosophical, polishing. You're polishing away with your Mr Sheen wipes, and the ebb and flow of the work, together with this beautiful song, is very calming. It's like an RS Thomas poem: it really gets to the heart of what it is to be Welsh. What's that? Being extremely pessimistic and fucked-up, I suppose At least that's what people from South Wales are like. The perception of the Welsh has changed in the last 20 years. When we started out, all the articles about us had headlines based mound leeks and sheep - stuff like Merthyr Fuckers and Meek Leek Manifesto. They weren't racist, they were just stupid, I'm not a nationalist or anything, it's just where I come from, but I think we're a much more confident place than we used to be. If there's an embodiment of an optimistic Wales, then Super Furry Animals are it.

This song is perfect for your mid-morning coffee. It reminds me of the smell of Bondi Beach. The first time I heard it we were touring Australia. It was my 30th birthday, we were staying in Bondi and I played the album over and over. What does Bondi Beach smell like? A shithole. i'd rather go to Barry. Bondi is the most overrated beach in the world. It's a seaside town but worse because there are surf shops. If there's anything that's going to depress the fuck out of me, it's surf shops.

This is just a stupendous rock record, with incredible guitar and astounding lyrics - I think is a really underrated lyricist. "Mental wounds not healing/Who and what's to blame?" You can tell he's at the precipice; he's being serious; he's not the caricature we know now - It's a great song for hoovering because Ozzy's vocal is one of the few that can lacerate through the sound of my Dyson doing the business. It makes you power on through the dust. Not that there's much dust in my house.

This is another good hoovering song, Johnny [Rotten]'s voice could cut through anything, too. People forget the awesome power and presence the Pistols had. Steve Jones's amazing guitars, [Paul] Cooky's brilliant drums and Johnny on top. I hate the way people don't take them seriously. They were the perfect incarnation of what a British rock band can be.

NWA were the Sex Pistols Of hip hop - quite nihilistic - and Public Enemy were The Clash - putting something forward that you could believe in. In 1988, the two most important bands to us were Guns N' Roses and Public Enemy. James could rap every line off [PE album] It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back. This song usually coincides with cleaning the bathroom and the toilets. There's a sense ofs truggle to the song and it gives you a bit of perspective. Y'know, you're bleaching the toilet and Chuck D is urging you on to do something more important with your life.

Rush were my brother's "band" and he'd been trying to get me into them for ages, but I never really liked them. Then when Moving Pictures came out in 1981, when I was 12, I connected with it. Before I got into Morrissey and Oscar Wilde and Jack Kerouac, Rush were really important for me. Sometimes you don't need the most intellectual thing to click with. They used to record in Rockfield in Wales where we recorded If You Tolerate This [Your Children Will Be Next]. I remember saying, "Rush recorded on this very desk and must have pushed up this very fader."

My last two songs are about the glory of finishing the cleaning and just sitting back relaxing I think this song is the single of the year. Everyone wrote Pete Doherty off, but I've always believed he's a real talent, especially lyrically. The chorus on this song has got a gorgeous lyrical flow. Of course, he pushed everyone's patience to the limit with the first Babyshambles album, If the Manics had done Fuck Forever it would be one of the great rock records of all time.

This is one of the saddest songs ever written and puts everything in perspective. You listen to Elliott Smith and you think. "How could someone so unbelievably talented and beautiful disappear." Cleaning the house helps me get some of what I call "euphoric realism". Having been surrounded by quite a bit of disaster and misery within the band, I think small things are the stuff of life that keep you going, whether it's sport, watching the TV, listening to music or doing the cleaning Euphoric realism is about doing the little things that give you a sense of achievement and happiness every day.