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Illustrated Tapes 013: Row E Nostalgia
Curated by Shelf Heroes

Mixloud / Spotify

Shelf Heroes is an illustrated film fanzine that celebrates cinema one letter at a time, created by London based designer Ben Smith.

Hello there Ben, can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

I have to say, this is one of the hardest briefs I ever had to look at. I make playlists for myself and mates all the time, but doing it to spec was super tricky. As I’ve been deep into the new issue of my film zine, I thought it made sense to lock it into a cinema theme. So this mix collects a selection of songs from movies that have stuck with me in recent years. They’re definitely not THE BEST SONGS IN MOVIES EVER, but they’re from moments that have resonated with me personally, and created a sense of nostalgia for a flash of the past that only ever belonged to fictional characters. Some a lot of people will share (”Visions of Gideon”), and some that probably don’t mean much to anyone else (”My Favourite Girl” from Scott Graham’s Shell).

How did you go about the artwork for the tape?

It’s a found image of 35mm cinema film, zoomed into the audio tracks. I’ve read up on the technology countless times, but I still can’t really fathom how those waves and blocks can translate to sound.

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

I’ve never really had that relationship with album art that other designers have. Possibly because a lot of the stuff I liked had crap art? I had a giant …And Out Come the Wolves poster which covered my entire bedroom wall, so I must’ve been pretty into that.

Bad Religion - Suffer
1988, Epitaph Records
Artwork: Jerry Mahoney

This is such an evocative killer illustration. Completely feels like the record.

Various -Low Life’s Main Courses ‘Food’
2003, Low Life
Design: David Byrne

Always loved this one as it’s the opposite of what you’d expect from hip-hop comp. Looks as British as all the artists on it.

Descendents - All.
1987, SST

Stripped back, loud, no nonsense.

What did you listen to growing up?

Inherited bits of dad rock and folk from my parents, but then pretty much a solid diet of punk, ska-punk and all the myriad subgenres around there. Basically whatever Household Name Records was putting out, and whoever was playing my local venue.

Here are the bands I described as ‘my favourite band’ from ages 13-23:
Rancid / Less Than Jake / Blink 182 / Farse / [spunge] / The Suicide Machines / The Menzingers / Lemuria

Special mention to FilmFour’s Essential Soundtracks album which I also played to death.

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

Paying the bills freelancing from studio to studio while I’m cooking up the next issue of Shelf Heroes. Onto the letter H this time, which is shaping up to be a good one.

Where to find Ben and Shelf Heroes:

︎ shelfheroes.com
︎ shelfheroes


01. Punch-Drunk Love - Here We Go
02. Marvin Gaye - Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)
03. Doris - You Don't Have To Worry (Guts Remix)
04. Razzy Bailey - I Hate Hate
05. Johnny Moore's Three Blazers - Be Cool aka Keep Cool
06. Billie Holiday - Easy Living
07. Patti Cake$ - Thick N’ Thin
08. Van Morrison - Wild Night
09. Flowers Forever - Hanging On The Telephone
10. The Band - The Weight - Remastered
11. Mazzy Star - Fade Into You
12. Electric Wave Bureau - Colours
13. Sufjan Stevens - Visions of Gideon
14. Paul Dano - God Only Knows - (From “Love & Mercy: The Life, Love And Genius Of Brian Wilson” Soundtrack)
15. King Creosote - My Favourite Girl