Soon to release their third studio LP, ‘LOSE’, New York City indie-rockers Cymbals Eat Guitars are hitting some career-high form and no mistake. Every aspect of their sound has been switched up a gear or three, so when you read critics using words like “epic” in regard to their latest wares, yup, that’s on the money.
Ahead of the release of ‘LOSE’ on August 25th – coming via Tough Love in the UK – Clash asked CEG frontman Joseph D’Agnostino to pull together some of his most prominent literary influences. Right after their new track ‘Warning’, lifted from ‘LOSE’.
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What is your favourite book, and why?
Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson, The Sound And The Fury by William Faulkner, Actual Air by David Berman, Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor, Independence Day by Richard Ford, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver, Hunters by James Salter, Angels In America by Tony Kushner. I can’t pick one, don’t ask me to!
What other authors do you like?
Many! John Updike, John Cheever, John Ashbery, other guys named John.
What draws you to certain books?
Style, characters, plot.
Have you ever discovered a real lost classic? What is it, and why?
A friend of mine recently hipped me to the work of Breece D’J Pancake.
Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?
Yes, for sure. Especially when I was in my Smartass Phase in 2011. (Second CEG album) ‘Lenses Alien’ had some very lofty literary aspirations. Now that I’m older I’m less concerned with showing everyone how terribly well read I am. I just want to have a voice of my own... which I think I found on ‘LOSE’.
What are you reading at the moment?
Canada by Richard Ford, and I’m working my way through Faulkner’s collected stories for the umpteenth time.
What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
The Wind In The Willows.
Did you make good use of your library card when you were younger?
I did, but mostly I just checked out various Goosebumps books and drew the covers.
Have you ever found a book that you simply couldn’t finish?
(James Joyce’s) Ulysses, same as everybody else.
Do you read book reviews?
Only if they're takedowns.
Would you ever re-read the same book?
I would, and have, and will again!
Have you ever identified with a character in a book?
Do you read one book at a time, or more than one?
Oftentimes I’ll have a novel going and I’ll pick at some short stories or poetry on the side.
Is there an author or poet you would like to collaborate with?
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‘LOSE’ is released on August 25th. Find Cymbals Eat Guitars online here.
Related: more Their Library features