Their Library: Deep Throat Choir

Their Library: Deep Throat Choir

Exploring the collective's bookshelves...

Multi-member choral ensemble Deep Throat Choir are a striking phenomenon.

An all-female wall of voices, they've grown from those early performances to become a distinct creative entity, with a sharply defined identity.

New album 'In Order To Know You' is out on December 3rd, a collection of songs that twist and turn, surprising you at every corner.

Out shortly, Deep Throat Choir are also set to perform at London's historic Union Chapel, part of Bella Union's Winter Wonderland on December 11th (grab your ticket HERE).

Ahead of this, Clash tracked down the various members of Deep Throat Choir to explore their literary inclinations in Their Library.

- - -

- - -

What is your favourite book and why?

Beka Diski (Sop 2): The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin because it is wonderfully written, and it describes a very different, beautiful, anarchic, complex world that is completely plausible and is as relevant today as it was in the 1970s.

Katy-Beth Young (Alto 1): For a long time I have said One Hundred Years of Solitude and I did absolutely love the magic and the sprawl of it but I recently read this quote in an essay by Ellena Savage that I think is a more true way of thinking about favourite books (for me anyway): ‘Right book at the right time. Is like the right friend inviting you to stay with them a night.’

Elly Condron (Sop 1): V impossible to answer with just one … but I loved Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and how she managed to turn an infamous, roundly disliked historical figure into a heroic misunderstood agent of a corrupt king. There are so many other books where I have felt bereft upon finishing but my god damn mind has gone blank!

Miryam Solomon (Alto 2): “Freshwater” by Akwaeke Emezi was a great read. Maddie Rix (Sop 1): Favourite books prob relate to favourite reading experiences for me. Normally on holiday when you have time to smash through a book in a comfy chair or on the beach - pure heaven. Fave reading experiences are A secret history by Donna Tartt, Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid and the Ferrante quadruple. Also, despite being very bleak I think The Bell Jar by Silvia Plath is a masterpiece. The first book I properly read and fell in love with was Wuthering Heights, it floored me at 13. Holly Perman Turnbull (Alto 2): Soooo hard I can’t choose one.

Zara Toppin (Drums): Best books this year: Shuggie Bain, the Pisces, Cookie Mueller, Walking Through Clear Water, Michelle Tea, Against Memoir, Amelia Abraham (shoutout!) We Can Do Better Than This. NO ONE listen to Detransition Baby on audiobook it ruined it for me.

Sarah Anderson (violin, Alto 2): The Third Policeman - Flann O’Brien.

What other authors do you like?

Sarah Parkes (Sax, Sop 1): One is too hard so I’m combining one and two. My three favourite books I’ve read this year are Black Wave by Michelle Tea, Detransition Baby by Torey Peters and Paul Takes The Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor. All of them are observant, original and full of passages that are so tight and funny I instantly distribute them as voicenotes to everyone I know.

Luisa Gerstein (founder): Historically I’ve loved reading a lot of short stories, and often return to the collected works of Lorrie Moore, Lydia Davis, George Saunders, and David Sedaris. There’s a deftness and economy to the form that I really like. All of these writers make me laugh a lot too.

KBY: Iris Murdoch, Sheila Heti, Frank O’Hara, James Baldwin, Jenny Offil, Milan Kundera, Deborah Levy, Ta-nahesi Coates, F Scott Fitzgerald. EC: Tolkien, Max Porter, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Annie Proulx, Carmen 

Maria Machado Tanya Auclair (synths, pads, Alto 2): Octavia Butler, Jesmyn Ward, Albert Camus, James Baldwin, Barbara Kingsolver, Oliver Sacks, Akwaeke Emezi, Miranda July, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Saidiya Hartman. 

MR: There are loads but Im a big fan of Tim Winton, Toni Morrison, murakami, David Sedaris, Alice munro, Tessa Hadley, mfk fisher’s food writing and Diana Henry’s cookery books.

HPT: Gabriel García Márquez, Roberto Bolaño, JD Salinger, Patti Smith, Earl Lovelace, Bruce Chatwin, Barbara Kingsolver. 

What draws you to certain books?

SP: A really soft matte pastel cover.

LG: As of now, books recommended by choir!

HPT: Authors that express the everyday and the mundane in a vivid, magical way.

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

KBY: I don’t think it’s really lost but I just read The End Of The Affair, which it turns out is excellent and funny.

EC: “Lost classic” feels a bit like an oxymoron, but I was very late to the Jane Eyre party (as I have been with a lot of classics!) and was absolutely blown away by how relevant it still felt to contemporary feminism (or maybe just to aspects of my feminism) Parts of it read as a rousing manifesto.

MR: Lost classic would be Stoner by John Edward Williams. Recommend.

HPT: Oooh agree with Maddie on this Stoner by Williams is excellent. I also really enjoyed a wartime coming of age diary but cannot remember name… will try and report back!

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

LG: Often, yes. Specifically in this album, 'Unstitching' was inspired by a short story of the same name by Camilla Grudova, given to me by choir member Thalia Allington-Wood. Together we penned the lyrics springing from the themes of that story - twisted and surreal interior bodies just beneath the skin. And 'Camille' is named for The Camille Stories: Children of the Compost by Donna Harraway, a type of fiction she names speculative fabulation. To write the lyrics for that one, me and Tanya lay on the floor and did some free-writing with Donna Harraway lectures quietly murmuring in the background. It’s a song about feeling that the boundaries between yourself and nature and those around you to be entirely porous.

KBY: Yes massively. Directly in terms of certain words and images that get stuck in my head and then I find myself borrowing (stealing?) from them a year or two later. And also indirectly, in terms of the ideas and perspectives within books influencing the whole way I see and speak about the world and therefore what I have to say.

EC: Umm.. no. Or not yet...

HPT: Very much, use of non linear narrative from Garcia Marquez. Loads of poetry - Alfonsina Storni, Neruda...

What are you reading at the moment?

BD: The Right to Sex, Amia Srinivasan (would recommend!)

SP: Big Magic by Liz Gilbert. Beautiful World Where Are You by Sally Rooney. Somatic Internal Family Systems Therapy by Susan McConnell. An Apartment On Uranus by Paul B Preciado. How To Do Nothing: Resisting The Attention Economy by Jenny Odell.

LG: I’ve just finished The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye, which is brilliant and illuminating and hopeful, and I’m just in the final pages of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, which is wild! Starting on Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Sadiya Hartman, and The Right To Sex as recommended by Beka.

KBY: I’m listening to Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson. It’s beautiful and romantic and true and he reads it himself which always feels like an extra gift from a writer. And also, A Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion; Magnolia by Nina Mingya Powles; Changing My Mind by Zadie Smith.

EC: Reading Outline by Rachel Cusk and listening to The Right to Sex by Amia Srinivasan.

TA: Listening Exercises by Annea Lockwood and Ruth Anderson. MR: Reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo at the minute, it’s very good. HPT: The Dispossessed, Úrsula Le Guin (thanks Beka!)

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

BD: Goodnight Moon.

SP: The Hungry Caterpillar.

LG: In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak was a constant.

KBY: The Wind in the Willows.

EC: Velveteen Rabbit.

TA: One, Two, Three and Away series by Sheila K McCullagh (aka the Roger Red hat books) - they had me at red, blue, yellow and green.

Fran Lobo (Alto 2): Funnybones.

HPT: Spot the dog!

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

SP: As someone who has spent quite a lot of time in law libraries, the answer to that question is an emphatic yes.

LG: Couldn’t get into Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. That’s the one the springs to mind but there are too many to mention!

KBY: Many yes! Sometimes annoyingly - like The Heart is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. It’s a beautiful book and I got stuck on it about a third of the way through, I just wasn’t in the right mood for it. I keep trying to go back and reread it but I’ve haven’t forgotten it quite enough yet and I’m making it worse for myself. But other books that I couldn’t finish I’m fine with - I think real life is too annoying to not love what you’re reading.

EC: No, I’m quite militant. But a few books that I started and wasn’t enjoying within 20-50 pages to put down. Is that the same? Took me aaaaaages to finish The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson but I loved it in the end.

TA: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. So - many - footnotes. HPT: Vargas Llosa, The Feast Of The Goat - so extremely violent.

Would you ever re-read the same book?

SP: Yes, sometimes I like to listen to an audiobook then read it on kindle so I can highlight the best jokes.

BD: I’ve read His Dark Materials trilogy twice and I’m very excited to read it again to my kids. Same for the Earthsea trilogy (Le Guin again).

EC: Yeah loads! Usually fantasy novels tbh (His Dark Materials, Hobbit…)

TA: Rarely, my reading list is ridiculously too long for a rewind. MR: Books I read again and again are the Philip Pullman series and Harry Potter. But on audiobook, if that counts…

HPT: Yes did it loads in lockdown - Bruce Chatwin, the Songlines; JD Salinger, The Catcher In The Rye; Earl Lovelace, The Dragon Can’t Dance.

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

SP: Matilda because she would make a great internal family systems therapist.

TA: Azaro from The Famished Road, he lives in both the spirit and the ‘real’ world, and at the time I felt like yeah, that’s a much more relatable version of reality. Not that I see spirits everywhere, but in my family lots of the stories of the dead are often told like they’re in the present.

MR: Character I really identify with is Golem in Lord Of The Rings. Lol but true! 

HPT: Holden Caulfield, Catcher In The Rye and that sense of adolescent isolation. Also Sheila Heti author of Motherhood and grappling with that question.

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

SP: I’d like to be in a punk band with Paul B Preciado.

LG: We made a round using lines from Gertrude Stein poems, although I guess that isn’t really a collaboration. It’s certainly something I would love to do more of.

EC: Emily Berry.

TA: Akwaeke Emezi!

- - -

- - -

Photo Credit: Zora Keuttner

Follow Clash

Buy Clash Magazine