Saturday, 13 November 2010

FINKPOINT | MIXTAPE | Mixtape XVI, iLiKELiTERATURE (iNLEEDS), by I LIKE TRAINS


Music As Reading: Mixtape XVI, iLiKELiTERATURE (iNLEEDS), by I LIKE TRAINS (FINKPOINT)

A Mixcloud (back with Spotify next weekz, kidz) collaboration between Silkworms Ink and Drowned in Sound – as orchestrated by Finkpoint. For I come bearing internet contacts the popinjays who usually run this calls-itself-a-website could only dream of, y’all. 

This mixtape represents the coming together of Silkworms Ink’s Music As Reading project, The Best Music Website In The UK Drowned in Sound’s current Blackberry-plugging mixtape competition, and (Dave from) I LIKE TRAINS, a band what do much more interesting things with literary tropes than most – having previously turned songs into vessels for condensed accounts of depressingly English (Englishly depressing?) moments of historical failure, and having now decided to turn their musical attention to issues and depictions of climate change, both ancient and new. In the end, Dave decided to make his tape a Leeds affair, cos he’s all into Leeds an’ stuff, and here’s the result. (In case you’re wondering why the mixtape title’s like that, it’s cos that’s how I LIKE TRAINS used to write their bandname, silly boys. In case you’re wondering why the mixtape is, in essence, a week late, LET ME TELL YOU, GETTING SOMETHING THIS HIGH-PROFILE TOGETHER IN A WEEK IS PRETTY GODDAM IMPRESSIVE. YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN WHAT SILKWORMS HAD PLANNED FOR THE WEEKEND I DECIDED TO SHOW UP. SIX WORDS: PAM AYRES. OCEAN COLOUR SCENE. COLLABORATION.)

If that tracklisting’s turned your pretty, pretty head, you can read mine and Dave’s DiS INTRODUCTIONS TO THE MIXTAPE HERE, along with the highlights of the miniature literature-focussed interviews Dave conducted with each of the contributing bands, and a RECOMMENDED READING LIST I threw together out of their answers HERE. (In case you’re wondering why both pieces appear under the name Sam Kinchin-Smith, I nicked his DiS identity because he’s the handsomest of all the Silkworms editors. By a country mile.)


Here, though, for the dedicated followers of Silkworms Ink, are those interviews in full. Because you’re worth it. THIS HAS BEEN A FINKPOINT PRODUCTION, MTHRFCKRS.


Napoleon IIIrd (James Mabbett)


iLT: Have you read any good books lately?
I finally got round to finishing Hell’s Angeles by Hunter S. Thompson, I’ve been trying to read it for ages but just kept forgetting about it. I have always loved the way the he wrote.


iLT: I find that I’m mostly moved to write a song after reading a good book. Is that something you can relate to?  If not, can you put your finger on what it is that does inspire you to create?
I don’t really find that it is one particular thing that inspires me to write a song, it could be anything that sparks an idea off – be that a book, an overheard conversation or a wet journey home on a train.


iLT: If your band were a book, which would it be?
How To Lose Friends and Alienate People by Irving D. Tressler.


s k e t c h e s (Matt)


iLT: Have you read any good books lately?
I just (just!) finished George Orwell’s Books vs Cigarettes. It’s a collection of essays on the impact of literature with regards to art, politics and society. Well worth a read if analytical literature is your thing – as is his essay ‘Why I Write’ which is an insight into just that.


iLT: I find that I’m mostly moved to write a song after reading a good book. Is that something you can relate to? If not, can you put your finger on what it is that does inspire you to create?
I find that it’s usually the process of reading that inspires me to write, rather than the books themselves. I’m fascinated by the sound of certain words and that is usually a starting-point. I enjoy distorting regular syllabic inflections, putting emphasis on a syllable that wouldn’t normally be emphasised.


iLT: If your band were a book, which would it be?
I would like to say a hugely successful novel by a wonderful author, Jules Verne or somebody, but in reality we would probably be The Average American Male by Chad Kultgen. If you haven’t read that you should definitely give it a whirl.


iLT: Finally, to bring this full circle, literature inspired by music: can you recommend any good books inspired by music?
My initial thoughts are the poetry of Leonard Cohen and Murakami. Murakami’s writing is heavily influenced by The Beatles (and pop culture in general). Norwegian Wood (as the title shows) is a prime example of this. Very easy reading but still thought-provoking.


The Wedding Present (Dave Gedge)


iLT: Have you read any good books lately?
I’ve not read an actual book for years, I’m kind of ashamed to say! I never seem to find the time these days. Do graphic novels count? The best one of those that I’ve read recently is Marvels – written by Kurt Busiek and painted by Alex Ross, Marvel Comics published it in the 1990s. It’s a delightfully illustrated and innovative re-telling of the classic Marvel tales done in a contemporary way.


iLT: I find that I’m mostly moved to write a song after reading a good book. Is that something you can relate to?  If not, can you put your finger on what it is that does inspire you to create?
I do refer to popular culture quite frequently, but most of my references tend to be filmic or inspired by television. But the main source for my lyrical ideas tends to be hearing people speaking to each other. I’m kind of obsessed by what people say, why they say it, how they say it…


iLT: If your band were a book, which would it be?
Breakfast At Tiffany’s by Truman Capote, because it’s romantic, sexy and messy. And like Holly Golightly, I think you never know what you have until you’ve thrown it away.


iLT: Finally, to bring this full circle, literature inspired by music: can you recommend any good books inspired by music?
Being a long-time fan of the work of Mark E. Smith I enjoyed The Fall – the biography by Mick Middles. It’s probably a bit too fawning in parts, but I think the fact the author is obviously an old acquaintance of Mark’s does mean he manages to get close to his subject – which is probably not an easy task! I loved the story about how Mark got a round of drinks in for all his band members… except one. That was his unique way of telling that particular band member that he was sacked!


I Concur (Tim Hann)


iLT: Have you read any good books lately?
I’m currently reading Berlin by Antony Beevor which seemed logical as I recently finished reading Stalingrad by the same author.  I also read a novel by Willy Vlautin called Lean on Pete which I really enjoyed.


iLT: I find that I’m mostly moved to write a song after reading a good book. Is that something you can relate to?  If not, can you put your finger on what it is that does inspire you to create?
Radio 4 tends to be my main source of inspiration. Ideas usually come from programmes that report on stories you don’t usually read about in the press.  ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ is probably the best programme for this.


iLT: If your band were a book, which would it be?
We’re more likely to be a hurriedly put-together manual for a dishwasher or blender.


iLT: Finally, to bring this full circle, literature inspired by music: can you recommend any good books inspired by music?
Willy Vlautin’s novels are rather like extensions of the songs he writes for Richmond Fontaine. Obviously you can write much more to describe characters and situations in novels, so reading his books is like reading lyrics to a very long song of his! Books of his I’d recommend: Motel Life, Northline and Lean on Pete.


The Rosie Taylor Project (Jonny Davies)


iLT: Have you read any good books lately?
The Bathroom or Le Salles de Bains by Jean-Phillipe Toussaint. Man, in somewhat of a rut, takes solace in his bathtub and ponders whether it is worth the risk getting out. Short, too: all the best books are short, perfect for dipping into you might say.


iLT: I find that I’m mostly moved to write a song after reading a good book. Is that something you can relate to? If not, can you put your finger on what it is that does inspire you to create?
Most start with a book, principally novels – poems are already set up, but taking the essence of a sentence and succinctly working it into a melody is where a lot of songs begin. In a less direct way the song ‘London Pleasures’ is to me very visual, like a montage of literary Londons from Defoe’s (Moll Flanders) to Orwell’s (Keep the Aspidistra Flying).


iLT:  If your band were a book, which would it be?
Probably a city A to Z, in the sense that it is well worth investing time and exploring every corner to get the most out of it.


iLT: Finally, to bring this full circle, literature inspired by music: can you recommend any good books inspired by music?
Not really, not off the top of my head, though I’m told Iris Murdoch was very suspicious of music, and couldn’t understand others’ fascination with it.


Lone Wolf (Paul Marshall)


iLT: Have you read any good books lately?
The last book I read that genuinely blew my mind was Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. It’s set in post-nuclear Britain (we’re not sure just how far post-) where the people have no knowledge of things like Jesus Christ, or any of the religions we follow. They have their own language (‘Riddley speak’) which is a kind of step backwards in English, and they are mapping out the world and giving everything new names. Any relic they find from a pre-nuclear existence is considered extremely sacred, and this is where their source of religion comes in. It’s an extremely wonderful, yet bleak insight into how things could actually end up. A masterpiece.


iLT: I find that I’m mostly moved to write a song after reading a good book.  Is that something you can relate to?  If not, can you put your finger on what it is that does inspire you to create?
I don’t read as often as I’d like to, and so I can’t say I can 100% relate to your method, however I used to be a movie director and I do know that much of my inspiration comes from reading between the lines whilst watching some of my favourite movies and analysing quotations.


iLT: If your band were a book, which would it be?
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks.  I love the imagination that the kid has in that book despite how dark it is.  He lets his mind wander to places you can’t imagine.


iLT: Finally, to bring this full circle, literature inspired by music: can you recommend any good books inspired by music?
Another of my favourite books is Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. A wonderfully written story about, well, everything!  Life, death, love, hate, friendship, sanity, insanity the list goes on, and it’s all spurred by a memory of hearing ‘Norwegian Wood’ by The Beatles.


Sam Airey


iLT: Have you read any good books lately?
I’m really getting into reading the classics at the moment. There’s so much amazing literature I feel I need to catch up on I sometimes think why bother with anything new. Though I guess you could also take that attitude with music if you wanted to. I’ve just finished Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert. I’ve not read much realist stuff before, but his perfectionism and constant search for the right word is an approach I should really try to adopt whilst writing lyrics.


iLT: I find that I’m mostly moved to write a song after reading a good book.  Is that something you can relate to?  If not, can you put your finger on what it is that does inspire you to create?
I’d say that on the whole I tend to find more inspiration in people and places, but occasionally this happens. Usually when it does it’ll just be a particular line or idea that grabs me – at other times it can be the book’s central theme, but it helps if it’s something I can relate to personally. I read a fair bit of Romantic poetry which has definitely had a big influence – though Wordsworth encapsulated the beauty of the natural world a lot more eloquently than I ever could.


iLT: If your band were a book, which would it be?
Either Herman Melville’s Moby Dick or Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. I grew up near the coast, and though I no longer live there, there’s still some sanctuary to be found in reading or writing about it. My fascination with the sea is almost on a par with Ishmael’s, and though I harbour no pressing desires to set sail, there’s something very romantic about the idea of it. Plus, there’s a running joke that all of my songs are about either death or the seaside. Let’s just say that it isn’t completely unfounded.


iLT: Finally, to bring this full circle, literature inspired by music: can you recommend any good books inspired by music?
Perhaps an obvious choice, but High Fidelity by Nick Hornby is certainly one I can relate to. I spent much of my childhood and teens trying to perfect the fine art of mixtapes, and I was almost as meticulous as Rob in my preparation of these. Also, Hornby’s depiction of the average independent record store and its staff is, though perhaps somewhat of a generalisation, actually pretty bang on.


Duels (Jon Foulger)


iLT: Have you read any good books lately?
I’m currently reading Albion by Peter Ackroyd, which is a history of the English imagination. And Ill Fares The Land by Tony Judt, a polemic about the current political and economic climate.


iLT: I find that I’m mostly moved to write a song after reading a good book. Is that something you can relate to? If not, can you put your finger on what it is that does inspire you to create?
Definitely, books have consistently been the most important source of inspiration for my songs. If I’m having trouble writing I make sure I read a few more books, it always works.


iLT: If your band were a book, what would it be?
Something with a slightly troubled and ropey few chapters that finds its feet later and becomes a lot more readable.


iLT: Finally, to bring this full circle, literature inspired by music: can you recommend any good books inspired by music?
You can’t really beat Patrick Bateman’s eulogies about Phil Collins and Huey Lewis in Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho. In terms of memoirs, I’m reading John Cale’s What’s Welsh For Zen? which is fascinating and inspirational.


¡Forward Russia! (Tom Woodhead)


iLT: Have you read any good books lately?
I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy in the summer, which was bleak but great. There’s a tremendous combination of extremely showy, literary prose and very stark, matter-of-fact writing that brings you back to earth at irregular intervals. I’m reading Lord of the Rings at the moment (I’m currently two thirds of the way through The Two Towers) which is good but not as good as I imagine it would have been had I not seen the films.


iLT: I find that I’m mostly moved to write a song after reading a good book. Is that something you can relate to? If not, can you put your finger on what it is that does inspire you to create?
I am certainly moved to be creative after reading a good book but I’m not sure I’m always inspired to write songs as such. Whenever I try to write something that is directly inspired by another work of art, it usually ends up being pretty insipid and gets scrapped. The stuff that inspires my lyrics tends to be more personal or based on things that I have seen or experienced, with ideas from other art sprinkled in for flavour.


iLT: If your band were a book, which would it be?
Maybe The Castle by Kafka: the protagonist is crippled by unflinching bureaucracy and infuriating secrecy and the book was published unfinished after Kafka’s death. Read into that what you will!


iLT: Finally, to bring this full circle, literature inspired by music: can you recommend any good books inspired by music?
The Mixerman Diaries is a great read – it’s the diary of a recording engineer who has just started the session from hell. Frequently laugh-out-loud funny but also at turns perceptive, cringe-inducing and depressing, it’s by far the most enjoyable book about music told as a story that I’ve ever read.


Vessels


iLT: Have you read any good books lately? 
Lee: Yes. Just finished the first book in the Earth Chronicles by Zecharia Sitchin. He’s the guy that translated a bunch of Sumerian cylinder seals and came to the conclusion that earth was visited by people from a planet called Nibiru thousands of years ago. This planet is on a 3600 year elliptical orbit around the sun travelling in the wrong direction. Apparently it’s due back around pretty soon and will cause havoc with our planet because of it’s gravitational influence. Next week I’m reading Advanced Potting Techniques by Charlie Dimmock.


iLT:  I find that I’m mostly moved to write a song after reading a good book. Is that something you can relate to?  If not, can you put your finger on what it is that does inspire you to create? 
Lee: I think what I read in books hopefully sinks in enough to influence what I write to some degree, but I wouldn’t say it was the bulk of the motivation. It just gets logged away somewhere and maybe shows its face again at a later date – and even then I probably wouldn’t recognise it to be specifically connected to a particular book or event or whatever. The way I write music is mostly influenced by the pure childish exploration of sound and energy. It feels more like a game or a puzzle. The process is generally fun, which I hope translates into the actual performance of it.


iLT: If your band were a book, which would it be?
Lee: My Shit Life So Far by Frankie Boyle.
Tim: Life and Fate by Vassily Grossman, because being in this band is a bit like the Battle of Stalingrad – the odds are stacked against us but we are hanging on out of sheer tenacity. Actually, that is an absurd analogy, I just wanted to plug one of my favourite novels which doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves.  I think that Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole is more appropriate.


iLT: Finally, to bring this full circle, literature inspired by music: can you recommend any good books inspired by music?
Tim: Not Fade Away by Jim Dodge. This is an excellent book by a great author, a fictional account of an amphetamine-fuelled road trip – inspired by a search for the crash site of the Big Bopper and Buddy Holly, who were killed when their plane went down.


Glissando (Elanor Irving)


iLT: Have you read any good books lately? 
A few come to mind as having inspired me: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie and The Rainbow by D.H Lawrence.


iLT: I find that I’m mostly moved to write a song after reading a good book. Is that something you can relate to?  If not, can you put your finger on what it is that does inspire you to create?
I can definitely relate to that, I often find myself marking pages and highlighting passages in books that inspire me to think about something more deeply – or that have explained or expressed something beautifully.


iLT: If your band were a book, which would it be?
That’s a difficult question... maybe The Rainbow I guess: it takes a long journey through the passage of time and is very swirling and almost too intense at times. I often feel that Glissando is like that, that we are on a constant journey moving and swirling.


iLT: Finally, to bring this full circle, literature inspired by music: can you recommend any good books inspired by music?
Everyone should read Things the Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett from Eels, it’s a journey through his life right through to recent times, and it’s very inspiring for musicians and, well, anyone. He’s had a lot of tough times but he talks about how it’s made him realise how important life is, as well as playing music you love and feel passionately about.

2 comments:

  1. I hear the fiction editor at Silkworms Ink is always raving about Russell Hoban, and in particular, his post-apocalyptic masterpiece for children, The Mouse and His Child.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Generate FREE satoshis from DailyFreeBits Faucet. Up to 1,000 satoshi every 60 minutes.

    ReplyDelete