Their Library: Beechwood Sparks

Literary influences explored...

These things take time.

Beechwood Sparks burst into life with the release of their self-titled debut album, and expertly pieced together amalgam of soul, country and a whole lot more besides. 2002's tripped out follow up 'Once We Were Trees' was accompanied by a quickfire EP but then… silence.

Stirring back into life, new album 'The Tarnished Gold' was released earlier this month. Ending an eleven year wait for new material, Beechwood Sparks picked up exactly where they left off – yet with their sun-drenched sound having a distinctly ageless quality, perhaps that's not too surprising.

Attempting to peer behind their songcraft, ClashMusic asked Farmer Dave Scher to enter Their Library.

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What is your favourite book and why?

The favorite book position changes over time, here are the latest few I can mention:

'Swann's Way' by Marcel Proust 
'Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World' by Haruki Murakami 
'Against The Day, Inherent Vice, Mason & Dixon' by Thomas Pynchon 
'Trout Fishing in America' + 'The Pill Vs The Springhill Mine Disaster' by Richard Brautigan 
'Black Elk Speaks' by Richard Neidhardt 
'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee' by Dee Brown 
Bob Dylan + Quincy Jones + Keith Richards Autobiography 
'Hawaiian Myths and Legends' by His Royal Majesty King David Kalakaua 
'Tropical Truth' by Caetano Veloso 

What other authors do you like?

Mark Twain 
William Shakespeare 
Lao Tsu 
Robert W. Service 
Kahlil Gibran
Charles Portis 
Hazrat Inayat Khan 
Phillip K. Dick 
Jorge Louis Borges 
John Steinbeck 
Hunter S. Thompson 
Kenneth Grahame 
Haruki Murakami 
William Blake 
Nanao Sakaki 

What draws you to certain books?

Often a friend's recommendation… the books timeliness or cultural impact

Have you ever discovered a real lost classic? What is it and why?

I don't know that I'm any sort of Vasco de Gama. Someone like Brautigan who all my friends love but maybe isn't as famous? I'm in a micro-climate as far as that goes.

Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?

100 percent.

What are you reading at the moment?

I'm reading a book called 'Understanding Your Own Shadow' by Robert A. Johnson… kind of Jungian look at what we as a culture don't do with our shadow side and the ways it can come back to haunt you… see the paradoxes, man..

What is the first book you remember reading as a child?

'Troubloff, the Mouse Who Wanted to Play the Balalaika' and a picture book about helicopters.

Did you make good use of your library card as a child / teenager?


Have you ever found a book that you simply couldn’t finish?


Do you read book reviews?

No, and I avoid music and movie ones for the most part

Would you ever re-read the same book?

I do so often.

Have you ever identified with a character in a book? Which one and why?

Lately, I identified with Doc Sportello in Pynchon's 'Inherent Vice'. There's a frequency you can tune into, and Los Angeles gets Pynchonian real fast. 

Do you read one book at a time or more than one?

I usually read several at once, in different locations around the house and outlying areas

Is there an author / poet you would like to collaborate with?

Pynchon, Brautigan, Dante , Dylan thomas, Garcia Marquez.

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'The Tarnished Gold' is out now.

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