Their Library: No Windows

Edinburgh duo on their literary influences...

Almost the first thing you notice about No Windows is how young they are. The duo – who have already won the Sound Of Young Scotland award – are still in their teens, yet make the kind of touching, fragile indie pop that would best artists twice their age.

Comprised of 18 year old multi-instrumentalist Morgan Morris and 19 year old vocalist Verity Slangen, their slim but immaculate catalogue is rapidly gaining attention. New EP ‘Point Nemo’ lands on May 3rd, with a flurry of tour dates planned – including a visit to London’s Third Man (Blue Basement) on May 14th.

The EP has a literary flair, with much of the lyrics owing a debt to the group’s bookshelves – including tomes by Daniel Keyes, Hubert Selby Jr., and Kazou Ishiguro. 

Perfect candidates for Their Library, then…

What is your favourite book and why? 

My favourite book is Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, it’s my favourite because it’s so empathetically written, and I have never been so invested in a character before. The book has inspired so much of my writing with its detailed descriptions of close relationships, it’s something I’m always trying to re-create. 

What other authors do you like?

Other writers I like are Albert Camus, Douglas Stuart, Irvine Welsh, and Guadalupe Nettel although I rarely read two books by the same author. 

What draws you to certain books?

I think a mix of a dystopian element and something that explores close relationships. I really enjoy books that focus on some element of our world changing, but instead of focusing on the event the book focuses on how this effects an individual’s life and how this changes their relationships with others and the world.

I think a good example of this is The Plague by Albert Camus, it is such a bleak and horrible world that they are living in, but the relationships of the main characters (especially the way it explores male friendship) makes the book beautiful and even more impactful. 

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

Hmm, it’s not that underrated but I recently read Blindness by Jose Saramago; I found the book in an AirBNB that my parents and I were staying at a couple of years ago and read the first fifty pages and absolutely loved it but forgot to take it home! I then found it in a book shop a couple of months ago and read it and it lived up to my expectations.

I did find out it is quite popular so maybe not quite a lost classic but it’s a great dystopian that I think could defiantly be up there with the likes of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.

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

Yeah definitely, sometimes it impacts the songs directly, in song one I based the lyrics of Flowers For Algernon and the longing portrayed in the book. I think most of the time though, my songwriting is indirectly affected as reading helps me become a more empathetic but also poetic person in general. That’s my favourite thing about reading, being able to see beauty in everyday interactions. 

What are you reading at the moment?

Woman On The Edge Of Time by Marge Piercy, it’s really good so far! A bit slow moving but very interesting. It’s a feminist dystopian, the main character is wrongfully put in a mental hospital, cannot get out and is subjected to horrible inhumane treatment. She has a skill where she can see into the future though, and with this the author creates a eutopia in which everyone is equal, lives of the land and decisions are made by the whole community. 

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

Wow there was so many! My parents are both very avid readers, and I was always surrounded by books, but the Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson comes to mind!

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

Oh yeah so many, I have so many on my shelf that are half read… mostly it’s just because I lose motivation not because of the actual book. One day I will get round to finishing them! One in particular is the divided self by R.D Laing, it sounds super interesting, and I really enjoyed it I just lost momentum with it. 

Would you ever re-read the same book?

I haven’t since I was younger, because there are so many I want to read but I definitely would in the future.

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

I would say I definitely would have identified with Deborah Blau from I never promised you a rose garden by Hannah Green a few years ago, not because I had a similar experience to her but the writing encapsulates being an awkward teenage girl who can’t really figure things out very well. 

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

Hmm definitely, any I have listed in the questions before and also Jacqueline Harpman! I recently read her book I who have never known men and fell in love with her writing. 

No Windows will release new EP ‘Point Nemo’ on May 3rd.

Photo Credit: Rosie Sco 

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