We spoke to RTE 2FM DJ and new author Dan Hegarty, about his new book Buried Treasure: Overlooked, Forgotten and Uncrowned Albums.
Buried Treasure is composed of Dan's choices of revered albums that may not have been hugely commercially successful or appreciated worldwide, but that remain brilliant nonetheless. In addition to his own musical choices, Dan asked a myriad of creatively-minded people in the arts, entertainment and music industry to each handpick their own 'buried treasure' of an album.
The result of this collaboration is a joyful and diverse book filled with music recommendations, with a personal story behind each choice. For example, Aidan Gillen's writes about what Sun Kill Moon's album April means to him here.
From A Tribe Called Quest to Buck 65 to Saul Williams...prepare to start frantically updating your Spotify account once you begin reading!
Dan, what inspired you to write Buried Treasure: Overlooked, Forgotten and Uncrowned Albums?
I always had a plan that I would write a book at some point, I just had to figure out about what! The idea for ‘Buried Treasure’ came from a feature of the same name that I have on my radio show. There is so much amazing music around, and not all of it gets heard by a big audience. It seems a shame that people don’t get to hear some of it, so I wanted to remind people, introduce music to people, and give some praise to some wonderful music that I feel hasn’t received anywhere near enough.
If this comes across as idealistic; I stand guilty as charged! Aside from that, I’ve been such a big music fan for as far back as I can remember; it’s an obsession at this stage. Doing the radio show still an amazing experience after all these years, and writing this book made perfect sense as something that would stand alongside that.
How long did the process of writing the book take, from the idea to actually writing it, to the editing process and up to the day of publication?
I had the idea for the book a couple of years ago, but I had to shelve it for a little bit because my youngest daughter was born; I thought that this was the least that I could do for her! Once I started putting the book together, it took 12 months to finish completely.
I had a fair bit of tracking down and hustling to do, which took a while; it wasn’t just a case of sitting down and writing it myself. I think the best way to describe the book came from Zoe at Liberties; ‘This book has many moving parts!’
Who is your musical hero?
I don’t really do heroes, but I do admire many people in music. U2 and Dave Fanning are the reason that I got into music to the extent that I have; they have a lot to answer for! There are loads of other people that have really had an impact on me over the years; some established names like Moby, Santigold, and Rage Against The Machine. Also lesser known names such as Rollerskate Skinny, Bantum, and Gavin Friday too.
Did you face any difficulties in writing Buried Treasure, other than having to cut down your (presumably very large) original selection of albums?
I had a list of over 230 albums that I wanted to write about, so choosing that down 55 was slightly traumatic! There are so many other albums that I would have loved to feature. Does this mean that there might be a Buried Treasure part 2? It’s possible, but the thought of diving right back into a project of this size now isn’t on top of my list!
The premise of the book as a whole focuses on undiscovered or uncrowned albums. Focusing in on the single song, if this isn't too difficult a question: what's your favourite song?
I couldn’t answer this. There are so many songs that I love, and even more that I like. Certain songs like ‘Their Law’ The Prodigy, The Altered Hours’ ‘Sweet Jelly Roll’, Ashley MacIsaac ‘Sleepy Maggie’ and ‘The Fly’ by U2 come to mind, but there are a thousand (or more) others that I could mention too.
If you can pick from the choice of fifty albums that you personally chose for the book, can you choose a favourite, and tell us why?
‘Shag Tobacco’ by Gavin Friday was the first album that I wrote about for the book. It’s an album that really changed how I listen to music. That’s a pretty big statement to make, but it’s a pretty special album. Others like ’20 Odd Years’ by Buck 65, and ‘2 Hell With Common Sense’ by Power Of Dreams, and Compulsion ‘The Future Is Medium’ mean a lot to me too.
Have you thought about making a public playlist with all the albums of the book, so readers could listen along while they read?
I kind of do this all the time with my radio show!
You're at a dinner party: choose your top five musical guests that you want to spend it with.
Do you mean, what five guests would I subject to having a meal with me, and talk about music at length?! To be honest, I’d much rather go for a few pints...
What’s next? Will there be a second book?
I probably will write more at some stage. I really want to see where this book goes first.
Buried Treasure features a lot of Irish albums. What are your current 2015 music recommendations, both for international bands and within the Irish music scene?
There are loads of really gifted artists in Ireland right now – The Altered Hours, Tvvins, Spies, Meltybrains?, Inni-K, and Otherkin are some of the names to watch this year.
Here's a full list of the contributors to Buried Treasure below.
Order your copy here.