Question of Taste: Craig Walker, Power of Dreams 

Now based in Berlin, the singer is back with a new album under his old band name 
Question of Taste: Craig Walker, Power of Dreams 
Craig Walker, lead singer Power of Dreams.

Craig Walker is lead singer with Power of Dreams, the Dublin band who broke through in 1990 with their debut album Immigrants, Emigrants & Me. 

They've recently released some tracks from their forthcoming album, Aüslander, due later this year on Cork label Fifa Records. Walker has been living in Berlin for the past five years, where he works with a number of artists in the techno/electro pop areas. He also co-wrote 'Fade Out Lines' with Phoebe Killdeer, which made it onto the Obamas' summer playlist in 2019.

Best recent book:

Astral Weeks - A secret history of 1968 by Ryan H, Walsh.

It’s a fascinating insight into the less well documented counter-culture movements from that period. Weird and wonderful. 

Also some revealing stuff about the creation and formation of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, by people who were involved. 

If you are a fan of that album as much as I am, it is worth buying it for the chapters on that alone.

Best recent film:

Joker was the last movie before lockdown that really moved me. I’m not a fan of comic book character movies usually. 

But I thought it was exceptional. New York looked sinister and seedy in the movie. 

It was a nice reminder of what the city was like before it got taken over by corporations. Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in that setting, being super weird, was just excellent.

Best recent show/gig you’ve seen (in pre-Covid era):

I saw two great shows before lockdown here in Berlin. Raphael Saadiq and then A Certain Ratio. Both at the same venue, Columbiahalle, and both excellent shows.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old):

Jordan Lehning - 'Little Lie' is amazing. I’ve worked with Jordan in Nashville and he is super talented. He has an album coming out soon.

First-ever piece of music or art that really moved you:

Probably 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen, I would imagine. 

I remember being floored as a 4/5 year old by its sheer imagination and hugeness. It fascinated me that the song made me feel different emotions in the different sections. 

My nine-year-old son has just got into it and he likes it for exactly the same reasons I did. It’s funny.

The best gig or show you've ever seen (if you had to pick one!):

Nirvana - Reading Festival, 1992.  

Power of Dreams were meant to play in the tent at the festival on the same day. But the stage collapsed due to the torrential rain all weekend. We didn’t get to play. 

But we got to see Nirvana. They were amazing. Everyone loved Nirvana. Punks, Indie kids, rockers, ravers. It was the closest I ever got to feeling what the people in the '60s described as universal love. 

One hundred thousand people in a field, all in love with the most important band since the Sex Pistols.

Tell us about your TV viewing:

I haven’t had a TV for more than 15 years. I watch stuff online on Netflix and Amazon Prime. 

I’m currently watching the excellent Japanese show Midnight Diner on Netflix. It has been the perfect end-of-day calming tonic during these topsy-turvy times we are all going through.

Radio listening and/or podcasts:

I listen to the Paul McLoone and Dan Hegarty shows from back home online. 

Also some local Berlin radio stations. But these days I listen to a lot of podcasts. I like ‘I am the EggPod’, ‘SodaJerker on Songwriting’ and ‘Is it Rolling, Bob? Talking Bob Dylan’ at the moment.

You're curating your dream festival – which three artists are on the bill, living or dead?

The Beatles (1966), Kate Bush (1985), Serge Gainsbourg (1971) 

Your best/most famous celebrity encounter:

I sang at the wedding of a French movie producer friend, on the beautiful island of Porquerolles, in the Côte d’Azur.

 I sang in the tiny chapel that held 20 people. 

Sitting five feet away and straight in front of me was the famous French movie director Luc Besson. 

I had to sing the Serge Gainsbourg, French standard, ‘Javanaise', in French to him and the other famous guests in the church. It was a very surreal moment. But they all seemed to like my ‘cute’ pronunciation.

You can portal back to any cultural event or music era – where, when, and why?

The late '60s in London. I lived in London throughout the whole britpop era in the '90s. It was a fun time for music and culture. 

Although everyone really just wanted it to be the '60s all over again. The music from the swinging '60s I have to say was a lot better than most of the '90s stuff. 

So I had a taste of how great it must have been back then. The late '60s was awash with great artists, consistently pushing the boundaries and barriers of what popular music could be.

You are king of the music biz for a day – what's your first decree?

I would increase all the percentage shares that streaming platforms pay the writers of songs. When you look at the figures, it is truly appalling how badly we are paid. 

The whole streaming thing has been set up to benefit the priority major label acts. 

Everyone else is left in a constant battle to survive.

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