Bread As An A&R Tool

I’m a breadhead. Not in the sixties sense of the term you understand. If I was truly one of those I’m in the wrong line of work right now, I’d be developing apps, creating complex financial products or running a sweet shop, or whatever.

No, in the true sense I’m a breadhead and spending my saturday trapping wild yeasts and making them yield to my bakerly ways. It’s relaxing, but most of all it’s a superb A&R tool. The time it takes to go along with the convoluted ways of the sourdough make it perfect for fixing long periods listening to albums in the kitchen, playing, re-playing and playing again of demos, mixes and final album masters while the wild yeast accepts it’s been house trained.

I’m sure there are various music styles more suited to the many ways of the dough, at present I’m making a spelt sourdough while listening to new material by SVIIB and Craig Finn. I’d imagine a bagel would work well with new material from Malcolm Middleton and Pinkunoizu would be a treat with something I’ve yet to try, something tricky and complex but ultimately satisfying and long lasting like a dark rye loaf.


sourdough at the demo stage

The world of bread has it’s John Peels, too. Check for instance Richard Bertinent and the work he does with books like Dough or Crust, an obsessive bread enthusiast he thinks nothing of exhorting his followers to start a process that can take a couple of weeks before you can get your choppers around a slice. Or the myriad blogs dedicated to baking, like which is a bit of a favourite.

I read somewhere of an indie label head comparing the music they released to a three course meal with likes of X Factor and the pop world having the transient satisfaction of McDonalds. Similarly in the world of bread, taming the wild yeast and spending the time and effort to produce a loaf with taste, texture and smell makes the toil worthwhile and stays with you. Or, you can nip off for a cheeky white sliced bacon butty as your guilty pleasure.


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