Music Influences | Jim Read

We asked Newgate founder and head designer Jim about his musical influences. From Bowie to Pink Floyd to a flip flop pipe playing busker, we find out what Jim listens to in our British design studios when working on Newgate’s clock and watch collections.


Jim, where did your music influences start?

My dad owned a record shop when I was a kid. I worked there on Saturdays and sometimes after school, serving customers with chart singles and doing odd jobs like punching the centres out of vinyl records for juke box orders in local pubs. It was an independent record shop so the clientele and their taste in music was pretty cool. The first albums I bought with my (not very) well earned cash were; David Bowie – Scary Monsters and Kraftwerk – Man Machine.

David Bowie Scary Monsters album Kraftwerk Man Machine album

Dad played the clarinet in a jazz band so always had jazz playing at home, something that stuck with me, and my older brother and sister and had a big influence on me. My brother indelibly marked me with Pink Floyd and Talking Heads and my sister with Grace Jones and Bob Marley.

Bob Marley & The Wailers album Pink Floyd album Grace Jones album

Did your music tastes change as you got older?

They did and they were particularly influenced by a group of party going friends in my late teens. They introduced me to rare groove, funk and soul, and got me into James Brown and ‘Van the man’!

Van Morrison album James Brown album

Who is your favourite artist/band?

Radiohead through and through. I know every lyric to every song, and every musical detail on every album, they are all the most incredible albums. My current favourites are; OK Computer and Moon Shaped Pool.

Radiohead OK Computer album Radiohead Moon Shaped Pool album

Do you still listen to music a lot?

Yes. I listen at home and all the time when travelling. I have a current throwback obsession with jazz, back to the days of watching my dad play vinyl from his collection. I also find YouTube a great resource for this, there’s so much on it, loads of live stuff that’s often much better than over produced studio recordings. I’m currently addicted to a drummer called Mark Guiliana from New Jersey who has a quickly amassed a cult following. See him play here with Brad Mehldau. I also really like the very clever Binkbeats and here’s one of the best buskers I’ve ever seen, playing the pipes with flip flops!

Do you share your musical influences with your kids?

Well yes, they are forced to listen to a lot of my music by default with them being around me, and while they would like to think it doesn’t influence, I hear them singing some tunes often enough. Mind you it’s a two-way thing, as my daughter has got me listening to Mac Miller.

How do you listen to your music?

I use Spotify and am still bowled over by how mind boggling’ly good it is. I listen to it through Amazon Echo connected to my music system, it’s a nice easy way to use Spotify wirelessly. If I’m watching music on YouTube I often use a projector and surround sound speaker system in our lounge. And when we’re throwing a party, we have a PA system that gives a good old thump to the chest. No wonder I can’t hear what anyone says anymore!