Phil Haigh ✍️
Steve Davis has always kept his snooker and music lives separate, partly not to disrespect the two art forms, but also because no one else in the sport has the same niche taste in tunes as him.
The six-time world champion has just released a new album – International Treasure – with his band Utopia Strong. Variously described as an ‘experimental psych-electro trio’, ‘Transcendental, ambient, prog-rock’ and ‘psych-prog’.
The 64-year-old has long been into non-mainstream music, but has never really mixed the two great loves in his life, only ever focusing on either snooker or tracks.
‘They’re totally different worlds, but I think that’s quite nice,’ Davis told Louder Than War’s John Robb. ‘Having a sport, or doing something like that which is a very controlled thing, it’s nice to have hobbies away from it and this was my hobby.
‘I’ve always been really interested in weird and wonderful music and also repetitive music. It appealed to me.
‘I’d never play music and practice, I’d keep the two separate. Never want to listen to music when I was playing.
‘You’re immersed in the table and the balls, to even think about having something taking your mind off it would be disrespectful to both activities really, I think.’
Davis retired from playing in 2016, still pundits and commentates on the big events for the BBC but seems to have much more of his attention on DJs than baize these days.
He admits that his style of music is not one that many – or any – other people in the snooker community are into.
‘I don’t think there’s any in the snooker world really,’ he said. ‘Everyone likes music, it just depends on the styles you like, but there’s nobody coming up to me saying, “I hear Art Zoyd’s got a new box set out!” Nobody’s doing that.
‘The snookery world, they’re all on a mission. I’m still a snooker fan, but it’s nice when you bump into people who’ve got the same passion as you.
‘Every now and again you’ll get a fan who’s also a music fan, but no other snooker players are.’
The Nugget remains one of the most important figures in the history of snooker, but says he feels more comfortable in his musical world than alongside his sporting friends and rivals.
‘I feel much more at home among people who are music people than actually among people who are my own,’ he said.
‘I fell in love with snooker, but the laddy snooker player who also likes football and horse racing, I don’t feel like I’ve got much in common with, in a way.
‘Sometimes you’re sitting around in the snooker world, I’ve got the same interests in some way, but I don’t want to talk about football. I’m just not interested. I’m not interested in the game where people fall over fresh air. I don’t care about a team, just no interest whatsoever.
‘I don’t care what horse beat another horse, no interest whatsoever. But if someone’s talking about music I’m much more likely to go off with them.
‘Talk about snooker, that’s our life. But other from that, chat in the player’s room will be about football teams and s**t.
‘I love them as well, I’m like them, but I want to talk about music stuff if I’ve got the chance.’
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