Arts

Arts Q&A: I've reclaimed my Freddie Mercury Strut says Omagh DJ Phil Taggart

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, DJ Phil Taggart

Omagh man Phil Taggart, whose podcast ChillDaBeats is available on Spotify. Picture by Michael Leckie

1. When did you think about a career in music and what were your first steps into it?

I used to watch all of the old VHS tapes at my next door neighbours' house of The

Clash and Queen and saw absolutely no reason as a nine-year-old why I couldn’t be up there. I had a pretty decent Freddie Mercury strut in primary school but you couldn’t carry that over to secondary school in the 90s – you’d get your head flushed. I’ve reclaimed that strut now.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to?

Slane Castle in 2003 was a life-changing moment for me. I managed to see Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, PJ Harvey and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, all in their prime. That was my first proper crowd surf. I must have done it about 20 times throughout the show.

3. Fantasy birthday party band?

I’d reform the original Slipknot line-up and put them on at 1am when I wanted everyone to leave. Then I’d join in and play my birthday cake like a drum kit.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island?

I’d take Brian Eno’s Desert Island Selection album because why bother trying to think of a good record when Brian Eno has taken the pain out of it for you? If I couldn’t take that it would have to be something hopeful, like Beverly Glenn Copeland.

5. And the book you’d take?

I’d bring the remaining 50 copies of my own Slacker Guide to the Music Industry, tie them together with some twine and make a bed out of them. And I’d probably bring a book to teach me French. I couldn’t pick it up at school so I may as well now I’ve got nothing better to do.

6. Top three films?

Withnail and I. It’s a movie I keep going back to. It’s the classic buddy movie, but if the buddies hated each other and were struggling, addled, out-of-work actors. It’ll make you want to drink wine.

Lost in Translation. The slow pace, the cast of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson mixed with the incredible soundtrack. It’s a really beautiful piece of cinema.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If you don’t cry your lamps out to this then you are made of cold hard stone. Jim Carrey is a really fascinating character actor – just read about him staying in character on the set of Man on the Moon.

7. Worst film you’ve seen?

The bad films never really stick with me that much. I thought Designated Survivor was the worst TV series I ever watched. I have no idea why I kept watching it.

8. Favourite authors?

Cormac McCarthy, Darach MacDonald and Flann O’Brien.

9. Sports you most enjoy and top teams?

Manchester United are my team and I love getting away to see them at Old Trafford as much as I can. As a good Omagh man I obviously keep a keen eye on Tyrone. Now that I’ve just moved home I’ve recently joined a GAA and a soccer team. I’m looking forward to starting training to show off my overwhelming lack of fitness.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

There’s a little island in Greece that I am very fond of called Kefalonia. I had my 30th birthday there and loved it and can’t wait to go back.

11. Pet hates?

Loud eaters. There’s no need. If you are an adult and you chomp loudly on your food your parents should be brought before a court to explain why they never taught you how to eat properly.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner: Italian and Mediterranean are my favourite types of cuisine but it’s hard to look past a really well made lamb stew.

Dessert: All desserts. I’ve a big (decayed) sweet tooth. I prefer chocolate-based desserts, or a really trashy horrible pint of Ben and Jerry's.

Drink: Guinness or tea.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

Michael McCullagh has been my confidant for well over half my life at this stage. He’s a strange man. He goes under the name Muck and plays music and writes comedy. I met him walking home from Omagh Town Summer Soccer School as he lived beside my Auntie Julia. Him and Paul Mellon enjoyed wrestling role-playing online, bleaching their hair and Nu Metal. This is all punishable by lynching now but in 1999, when you were 13, it felt like the makings of a good friendship.

14. Is there a God?

There is when you’re in bad turbulence on a long flight.

Phil Taggart’s Podcast ChillDaBeats is on Spotify. It is 'two hours of the finest curated chill sounds that comes out every Sunday and perfect for destressing to'. You can buy The Slacker Guide to the Music Industry from Philtaggart.co.uk

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