Catching Up With…David Bryan from Near FM’s Pure Phase

Spinning a broad variety of genres every Tuesday night on Dublin’s Near FM (90.3 FM) from 10:30pm –  11:30pm, David Bryan’s Pure Phase is a blissful hour for avid listeners of everything from Psychedelic rock and Shoegaze to Garage rock and Krautrock; from Ry Cooder and Love to Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Timber Timbre. I spoke to the Dublin based DJ about discovering music in his early teens, his favourite albums of 2014 and why everyone should hear The Cure’s Disintegration.

Pure Phase DJ David Bryan.

Pure Phase DJ David Bryan.

What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

Tough to say, musically. There have been a few very good albums released so far: The Afghan WhigsDo To The BeastDoug Tuttle‘s eponymously titled début; PixiesIndie CindyThe HorrorsLuminousDamon Albarn‘s Everyday Robots; Dirtmusic‘s Lion City. Album of the year, so far? It ‘s a toss-up between Gallon Drunk’s re- emergence with The Soul Of The Hour and a brilliant record from a brilliant band: Lay Llamas’ Ostro.


When did you first realise you wanted a career in music / media / radio?

I have always loved music. It struck me more so during my early teens. I had originally been listening to mainstream stuff: George Harrison, Dire Straits and the like in the 80’s. A guy I knew introduced me to The Cure and my cousin introduced me to Pixies and Sonic Youth and, from that point onwards, I was hooked.


Describe the five minutes before a gig / broadcast.

Pretty chilled, quite honestly. Once I have the first few tracks lined up and Twitter set to fire, I like to sit back and enjoy the music.


How do you wind down after a gig / broadcast?

Not a lot…


In three words, describe the live scene in Ireland.

Generally very good.

There are a good few good Irish acts currently making a dent and a good few international acts make a point of playing here.


Whose career do you envy and why?

Envy is maybe a little strong; I know it’s a cliché, but everyone is their own person. “Whispering” Bob Harris, however, had- and still has- a great career in music. I would be envious of the artists that he has met down through the years.


Vinyl or digital downloads?

I know it’s not one of your options, but I do like CD’s for their lossless quality.  So…CD’s for a proper listen, downloads for being handiest on the move.


What is your favourite record shop anywhere in the world?

I do like Tower Records in Dublin; they have a good selection of records and, particularly, a great psych collection. Rough Trade and Sister Ray in London are great. I recently found two great record stores in Rome; Transmission and Soul Food: definitely worth checking out.


Name one rare record you don’t own, but you want more than anything.

An original pressing from 1963 of ‘Surfin’ Bird’ by The Trashmen.


Name one piece of music memorabilia that you wish you owned.

Albert Bouchard’s cowbell on Blue Öyster Cult‘s ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’.


What is the one thing in your life that you couldn’t go without?

Good music.


Name one record, one book and one film that everyone should hear / read / see.

Another tough one: there are so many!

Album: O.k., if push came to shove, I’d have to say The Cure’s Disintegration. It really is the pinnacle of The Cure’s career. Robert Smith had the “classic” lineup of the group on board and, together with co-producer David Allen, they got it so spot on. It’s bleak, it’s happy, it’s deep; very deep.

Book: I have always been amazed that, whilst a lot of adaptations of Philip K. Dick’s made it to the big screen, The Maze of Death has never been adapted for the screen. It’s Dick at his very best: part sci-fi, part existentialist (as he did so well). It is also one of his darkest works.

Movie: Well, just for fun, The MonkeesHead always brings a smile to my face. A complete Monkees farce with a heavy dose of surrealism (I’ll blame Frank Zappa for that…).


Name one overrated TV series and one underrated TV series.

I never could hack Lost. I’m not sure if one could class it as underrated but Ronnie Barker’s Porridge is so good. The interplay between characters is brilliant and the writing is so good.


Pick the director and lead actor for a biopic about your life.

Michael Bay and Roger Moore.


Describe the perfect night in.

Good tunes on the stereo, couple of beers, couple of mates to enjoy it with. I’m easy going that way.


Describe the perfect night out.

Good gig, couple of beers, couple of mates to enjoy it with. I’m easy going that way.


Where did you grow up and what are the best and worst things about that place.

I grew up in Dublin.

The best thing about Dublin: The vibrancy.

The worst thing about Dublin: The crime, particularly that of the last 20 – 25 years.


What is your biggest fear?

Missing a penalty in the World Cup Finals.


Who is the person in your life without whom your life wouldn’t be the same?

It’s impossible to answer that question. I am lucky to have had great parents and friends, not to mention the better half.


What is the most important lesson life has taught you, so far?

Enjoy it while you can.


If you could give one piece of life advice it would be…

Keep the eyes and ears open to new experiences: it’s worth trying everything at least once…


Pure Phase is broadcast every Tuesday night from 10:30pm to 11:30pm on Dublin’s Near FM (90.3 FM). Click here to listen back to previous shows.

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