Today, Clash invites Envelopes into our wood paneled sitting room to chat about their literary influences and how they impact on their music.
The Franco-Swedish quintet have just released their second album ‘Here Comes The Wind’ on the hyper cool Brille Records and revel in an idiosyncratic sound that include ‘unusual’ touches such as the much highlighted yodeling which opens the album.
We caught up with French vocalist/guitarist Audrey Pic for a revealing chat about her reading habits :
How do you approach books written in English? (if you read English language books)
Audrey : Well, I skip a lot of words. I invent the meaning, It works pretty good most of the time.
Long “complicated” words are the easiest. All scientific words are the same in French and in English. I learned English a lot by reading Raymond Chandler. Straight and short sentences describing actions and a lot of dialogue. But, for example, Edgar Allan Poe was too hard at the beginning. Fred really likes to read hunter s Thompson.
What’s your favourite book and why?
A: I have several favourite books. I don’t really think its a good idea to tell what´s your favourite books in a interview ‘cos then you feel like you have nothing left after. It’s like you became a projection of yourself, a empty ghost with specific opinions and tastes. Sometimes I can talk about my favourites books of course, when the situation makes me think about it, but not as a “label” for myself.
What other authors are you into?
A : Well ok. I mean, let´s say for the all band all mixed up :
English modern : Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates,
English old : Lewis Caroll, …. can´t think of anything else just right now
French : Celine, Proust, Flaubert, Aragon
Stuff like that ?
Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?
A: Well, not consciously.
What are you reading at the moment?
A: A history of economical theories from Aristotle to nowadays.
What was the first text you remember reading as a child?
A: I’m not 100% sure, maybe “The Crow and The Fox” by la Fontaine?. All French kids learn this by heart.
Or I have a memory of reading a Christmas story with a book and listening to a vinyl where someone reads the story too. It was with a guy called “Scrooge” that is really rich and not generous and then some ghosts visit him on Christmas day and show him the way to universal love.
How do you think literature acquires timelessness?
A: First, as a practical down to earth reason I would say because language doesn’t evolve very fast. So, the way sentences are built and words used are mostly the same for several centuries, so it’s not like we have to learn a foreign language every 20 years to read novels. As well, literature has a more distant relation to reality than any other sort of writing production, so in the same way that we can read stories about things that doesn’t exist, it’s not a problem either to read about things that once existed but don’t anymore. Read old books from centuries before, ‘cos it doesn’t matter, literature is connected to imagination.
And most of all I think, even if some concepts and things have disappeared, and the contexts are different, maybe we could say that what is left and common and understandable through the ages, is some kind of human universal perception?
I don´t know really.
Do you read book reviews?
A : Not really, but it happened.
Would you ever re-read the same book?
A: Of course, it’s not about knowing the end sometimes.
Is there a character in a book that you’ve ever most identified with?
A: Not really.
Are there certain qualities that you look for which will draw you to a book?
A: No, I haven’t identify anything yet. I mean, I know fast if I can stand the style or not but I don’t know what I want to find. I like to be impressed.
Do you read one book at a time or more than one?
A: Depends. Sometimes just one ‘cos it’s so intense but sometimes several if it’s not that intense.
Are you ever tempted to write your own book? What would it be?
A: Yes. Only tempted. But it will be ready when I’m 70 I think, which is good. Writing is the perfect activity when you can not walk anymore, right? I’m looking forward to it.