Music and books can both transport you to a different place, illuminating the everyday in an aura of inspiration.
Their Library is our regular series focussing on the bookshelves of some of our favourite musicians. Sometimes they take it seriously, sometimes they don't – whatever their choice, it's always revealing.
Jesca Hoop recently completed a full collaborative album with Sam Beam, the pair working on 'Love Letter For Fire'.
Out now via Sub Pop, the easy-going musical conversation between the two artists results in something charming and intimate, a natural follow-on from their solo work. Intrigued, Clash invited Jesca Hoop to take part in Their Library.
- - -
- - -
Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?
Yes... a jaw dropper or a mind bender will inevitably spur me on to write... if not just provide a note or two. I will look to a book for this purpose. Poetry... a good poem of course is a song in itself and not without music, even if read in silence.
What are you reading at the moment?
Sapiens - A Brief History Of Human Kind by Yuval Noah Harari. This book is one of those mind benders and curiousity quenchers. Yuval, brings us through evolution from the womb of our mother chimp to the rise the lasting (for now) Homo Sapiens and our journey through the ages. I have just passed through the age when we Sapiens were nomadic hunter gatherers, before agriculture and, realised, I most certainly got off the bus at the wrong stop.
What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
The first book I was introduced to was The Book of Mormon. It was morning and bedtime reading for the whole family. The first book I remember chosing for myself was Ramona Quimby. I LOOOVED Ramona. I thought she was me in all of her precocious mischief and tomboy ways with her scraped knees, messy hair, loose shoe laces and dirty face. Looking Back Ramona was a perfect counterpart for the gospel stories.
Did you make good use of your library card as a child / teenager?
I was a nightmare with a library card... Yes I made good use of it but was absolutely useless in returning the books. I was a downright abuser of that public service. Shame on me. I think it effected my credit score eventually
Have you ever found a book that you simply couldn’t finish?
Yeah... they were soooo good I have forgotten their names.
Do you read book reviews?
Would you hate me if I said no ? Yes...no...YES...no... NO.
Would you ever re-read the same book?
Absolutely... especially if it's fact heavy like the one I am reading now. Also a provocative tale could do the trick. Lysistrata by Aristophanes, for instance, inspired me to write the song 'Peacemaker' for my album 'The House That Jack Built'. This story is set in Ancient Greece and the women of Athens vow to withhold sex from their men until they agree to put an end to all war. It’s a comedy.
Have you ever identified with a character in a book? Which one and why?
Of course, Amelia Bedelia is one. She's a character from a children’s book. She is always making really silly mistakes and everything nearly falls apart around her but then she saves the day with a healthy dose of charm.
Do you read one book at a time or more than one?
No, not unless its a cookbook.
Is there an author / poet you would like to collaborate with?
Why don't I just live large and go with Shakespeare? We are both April babies. They say he died on the same day he was born... different years of course.
- - -
'Love Letter For Fire' is out now.