Suart Murdoch

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian

Stuart Murdoch

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Photo: Julio Enriquez for Flickr Creative Commons

Belle and Sebastian founder Stuart Murdoch on making 'Indie Pop'

As founder of the indie-pop band Belle and Sebastian, Murdoch has an affinity for popular music of the past. The Brit-pop movement of the 1980s or the sunshiny American pop of the 1960s are some of his favorite genres. The 1980s were a great time for the musician. He had little interest in creating music as a kid outside of a few piano lessons and recitals. Then there was the occasional DJ set during his formative college years. Still, being a spectator of music was very much a part of his life.

Around the beginning of the 1990s, though, that changed. Murdoch started to feel exhausted and sore pretty much all the time. He couldn't concentrate. Sleep would come, but it wouldn't help. He'd come down with chronic fatigue fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME. Murdoch dropped out of school, stopped running track, stopped DJing. At home, he started writing songs on the piano. And on the advice of his doctor, he took a class for unemployed musicians.

There he met Stuart David, and the music they made together eventually became Belle & Sebastian.

Since their debut, Belle and Sebastian records have made it on literally hundreds of top ten lists. Their second album, 1996's If You're Feeling Sinister, is routinely called one of the best albums of the 90s.

These days Murdoch still fronts the band and still writes music, he's got a wife and kids and through all that, he still deals with chronic fatigue.

The band is back with a new album. It's the original soundtrack to Days of Bagnold Summer. It features a breathtaking new track, Sister Buddha.

Murdoch joins Bullseye to talk about retro pop music, how meditation changed his music and songwriting. Plus, Jesse and Stuart talk about the great game of baseball. If you didn't know, Stuart's a Mets fan.

If you're traveling in Europe this fall, click here for Belle and Sebastian's upcoming tour dates.

For the rest of us, you can purchase their latest album on vinyl here.

This interview originally aired in February of 2018.

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