Literary influences explored...

Their Library is an excuse to let musicians mouth off about a subject which might otherwise be neglected - books.

The influences which sluice into your favourite album are not merely restricted to music - literature, cinema and more help inspire and provoke new artworks.

London newcomers Zulu Winter have been causing ripples of hype over the past 12 months, and finally deigned to release their debut album 'Language' earlier this week.

Tracking down drummer Guy Henderson, we probed the musician about the literary influences which drive him forward.

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What is your favourite book and why?
'The Secret History' by Donna Tartt. I read this book as a student in the 2nd year of my degree course and found it particularly poignant as at the centre of the story is a young man going through student life, making new friends and growing up. There's a sense of danger and mystery surrounding the central characters of the book that's exciting and the plot unravels very cleverly. The thing I find most incredible is the way that Donna Tartt is able to get inside the head of a young man and write in the first person of a male character so truthfully.

What other authors do you like?
Martin Amis, Mikhail Bulgakov, Charles Bukowski, Ayn Rand to name a few I've recently been enjoying.

What draws you to certain books?
With books, as with films, I most often pick up books that come as recommendations from friends… As a band we're always throwing copies of this and that at each other and it's fun when a book does the round and we can all chat about it. Right now I've just been reading a lot of classics.

Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting? Personally speaking I'd be lying if I said I'd specifically fed my literary influences into songwriting. However I do believe that the music your writing at any given time will draw influence from many different things going on in your life and that might often be a book your reading. As a band a very important part of our writing process is to share influences with each other… Obviously its mostly music that we share that influences us but equally if there's a book we've all read at the same time, or a theatre production we've all been to or an art exhibition we've all enjoyed then we might find a shared mood that comes across in the music we're working on. I also know that lyrically Will often get's strongly influenced by what he's reading.

What are you reading at the moment?
'The Plague' by Albert Camus.

What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
'The Twits' by Roald Dahl.

Did you make good use of your library card as a child / teenager?
I was very lucky to have a great Library attached to the school I was at and I did use it a lot.

How do you think literature achieves timelessness?
I believe the most important element to contribute to all timeless art is that it's honest and comes from a truthful place. Particularly with literature I think is very important that it's rooted in the human condition.

Do you read book reviews?
I rarely do.

Would you ever re-read the same book?
I've never actually completely re-read a book before but there's been a couple of occasions when I've read half or 2 of a book and then lost and come back to it from the beginning.

Have you ever identified with a character in a book? Which one and why?
I frequently identify with character's in books I read and think the best books always make you do that…

Do you read one book at a time or more than one?
I usually like to just read one book at a time although I'l quite often be reading a book of non-fiction alongside a novel.

Is there an author / poet you would like to collaborate with?
At the moment I'm very interested in collaborating with a playwright. There is a playwright/writer called Kenny Empson that I've known for a few years who I'm keen to pin down for a collaboration at some point (although he can be rather elusive). I haven't seen him for a while and I'm pretty sure he's not aware of it so if he's reading this itcould be an odd way for him to find out.

Photo Credit: Tom Oxley

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'Language' is out now.

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