20 questions with… Laura Dean

20 questions with… Laura Dean

To celebrate God Is In The TV’s 20th birthday, we’ve been reflecting on the last 20 years.

Behind the scenes of God is in the TV is a team of talented writers with a passion for all things music related – and we thought that it’d be nice to put them in the spotlight.

Some of our writers recently sat down to answer a series of questions about the last 20 years in the music – covering their favourite albums, memorable live performances and much more.

Today we’re chatting to Laura, who has been writing for God is in the TV for 2 years.

What was your first review for God is in the TV?

My first review was of All the Colours of You – the sixteenth studio album from James. The first album that I ever reviewed was La Petite Mort by James in 2014, so it felt like I’d come full circle!

What’s your favourite album?

Of all time, Death on Two Legs by Queen. Of the last twenty years, it’s probably Blink-182’s self titled album – the way that ‘Easy Target’ so effortlessly goes into ‘All of This’ is utter perfection.

Which artist has had the biggest impact on your life?

Johnny Marr. I’ve been listening to him since I was about 14/15, when my Uncle gave me a copy of The Queen is Dead by the Smiths, followed by a tonne of guitar magazines about his work in Electronic. Everybody has their favourite artists, but I do think it’s quite rare to find an artist where you genuinely like everything they’ve done – it’s interesting to think about really as I’m 32 now, so associate different parts of my life with what he was up to career-wise at the time.

Aside from the above and the fact that I’ve met a lot of my friends at this shows, I’d say that his lyrics have also contributed to him having a big impact on my life. There have been several occasions where he’s released a track that I’ve instantly connected with – whether they’ve reminded me of somebody close to me, or they’ve just perfectly synced up with what’s going on in my life at the time.

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What’s your favourite soundtrack?

I’m a bit of a video game nerd, so I’m going to have to choose The Music of Red Dead Redemption 2, which features tracks by D’Angelo, Daniel Lanois and Willie Nelson. It’s poignant, reflective and expertly captures the tone of the game. It does help that I love a Western vibe.

What’s the best show that you’ve attended?

Blondie at the Round Chapel in Hackney, which was September 2017. Blondie are one of my favourite bands and I just never expected to see them in such an intimate venue – it was filmed for Amazon, so I’ve been able to watch it back a tonne of times. As far as I know, it was the only time that they’ve played ‘Tonight’ live too.

What’s your favourite review that you’ve written for God is in the TV?

Definitely Self Esteem’s second solo album, Prioritise Pleasure. I’d seen her for the first time at Neighbour Weekender a few weeks before its release and had come away from her set obsessed and desperate to hear everything that she’d ever done. It’s such an important album and I felt like I went on a personal journey during the time that I spent with it before putting pen to paper.

What’s the most memorable show that you’ve reviewed for God is in the TV? 

I covered this year’s Parklife Festival, which came to a halt because of a thunderstorm. Everybody was just stood being pelted by rain for an hour, not knowing whether the event would go ahead. In the end, it did but a lot of sets were cut short and Confidence Man’s set was scrapped completely. It was a fun day though, nevertheless!

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What’s the most disappointing show that you’ve attended?

I went to see Morrissey in 2009 at what’s now the M&S Bank Arena. After one song, somebody in the crowd threw a pint at him –  he walked off and didn’t come back. We did get a full refund though, so technically we heard ‘This Charming Man’ for free.

What’s been your greatest musical discovery writing for God is in the TV?

Tom Rasmussen, who I hadn’t heard of until I reviewed Self Esteem’s Nottingham show in February of this year and they were supporting. I went on to review Tom’s album Body Building, which is without a doubt going to be my favourite album of 2023.

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Which artist have you seen the most?

Johnny Marr – his recent show in Wrexham was my sixtieth time seeing him, but every show feels like my first.

The furthest you’ve travelled to a show?

Last Summer, I saw two shows in Portland, Oregon – Modest Mouse at Pioneer Courthouse Square and The Killers with Johnny Marr at Moda Center.

Do you have a favourite collaboration?

I love New York Dolls and caught them live a few times when Steve Conte was with them. Steve’s one of my favourite guitarists and I’ve followed him ever since, so I was delighted when he released a track titled ‘Gimme Gimme Rockaway’ – featuring Clem Burke and the late great, Andy Rourke. A triple whammy of greatness! It deserved greater recognition than it got.

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What’s your favourite venue?

Brudenell Social Club in Leeds – it was my local when I was at University, so I’d end up catching a lot of shows by just being there at the time, hanging out with my friends. I also really love Arts Club in Liverpool.

Is there a show or a tour that you missed, which you bitterly regret?

David Byrne’s ‘American Utopia’ tour in 2018 – it blew my mind when I watched the footage and I don’t think there’ll ever be another show like it.

Also, Tim Booth’s ‘Love Life’ tour in 2011. I was criminally shy at the time and wouldn’t go anywhere on my own, so unfortunately missed out – it’s frustrating to think about! He played The Cockpit in Leeds on that tour which was such a great venue. Albeit a little sweaty.

What’s your favourite music video?

This is difficult as I religiously watched the music channels when I got home from both school and college. I think they used to be a lot better back then though as they seem few and far between these days. I’m a huge Tom Hanks fan, so adore the video for ‘I Really Like You’ by Carly Rae Jepsen. Honourable mention to ‘Dashboard’ by Modest Mouse though – that’s really great.

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Who’s the most impressive support act you’ve seen?

I saw Bastille support Two Door Cinema Club in 2013 and talked about nothing else for at least a week. It was just before they released their Bad Blood album, so I had time to act like the next John Peel before they were everywhere. 

Who do you think is the most overrated artist?

I’m putting my head on the line with this one, but Beyonce. I just don’t understand what the fuss is all about – and before anybody asks, I have seen her live.

Who do you think is the most underrated artist?

Lucy Spraggan. Since her time on X Factor, she’s released seven albums, relentlessly toured venues of all shapes and sizes, packed a multitude of festival tents out and released a book – boasting a magnitude of talent, she deserves the utmost success and it baffles me why she doesn’t receive regular radio play. 

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Would you say that your music taste has changed?

I would say that it’s become more extensive. Twenty years ago, I didn’t really divert from pop and indie, but my playlists are all over the place these days. I’ve gotten into Lo-fi quite recently and can’t get enough of Message To Bears, which is pretty funny as the idea of listening to instrumental music years ago would have sent me into a cold sweat.

Have you met any musicians? If so, what was your favourite encounter?

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a fair few musicians that I admire over the years. I can’t pinpoint a favourite encounter, but I can certainly pinpoint a favourite person – and that’s Johnny Marr, who I met for the first time when he launched his solo career in 2013. I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I’ve met him since, which I certainly don’t take for granted. A genuinely lovely person who has a lot of time for his fans, he’s everything you hope your hero would be.

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