Fred MacPherson reveals his literary tastes...
Spector

Spector have always had a literary flair.

It's there in the band's lyrics for a start - check out the subtle evocation of austerity-era ennui in 'All The Sad Young Men' or even the complex characterisation in 'Bad Boyfriend'.

New album 'Moth Boys' will be released on August 21st, and - with the band already peppering their live shows with new material - it promises to be something worth checking out.

With that in mind, Clash invited Spector frontman Fred MacPherson to take part in Their Library. Offering up a series of literary observations, it's a wry and intriguing read in its own right.

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What is your favourite book and why?
That's a tough question. I probably wouldn't be able to tell you my favourite book, album or film but I always have top fives. Off the top of my head I guess I really like The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, The Fountainhead and Borges' Labyrinths. The last book I read that completely floored me was Moby Dick. That's got to be up there. Second only to that other great American epic: Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis.

What other authors do you like?
I really like horror. Current 93's music led me on to Thomas Ligoti (who True Detective ripped off a lot in the writing of Matthew McConaughey's character) which in turn led me to HP Lovecraft and then Arthur Machen. Growing up, Billy Childish was the first writer that really absorbed me and more recently I like Camus, Kurt Vonnegut, Evelyn Waugh. I spent a lot of my early twenties reading Ayn Rand but though I loved the storylines I'm not really a big fan of her politics - so I slightly regret the six or seven months I spent on Atlas Shrugged.

What draws you to certain books?
I really trust the recommendations of people I love and respect. At least half of what I read comes from people saying "you have to read this" and I'm like ok, I trust your judgement so I will. If I hate it I won't take their next recommendation on board.

Have you ever discovered a real lost classic? What is it and why?
I doubt it. Most of the stuff I read is available at Waterstone's so probably not. I was sent a .pdf of a book called The Christ At Chartres by Denis Saurat which really moved me. People should read more stuff that's out of print.

Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?
Not consciously no. I wouldn't necessarily say I have 'literary influences' any more than I have computer game influences. In the same way I don't necessarily know what bands or artists have influenced a song until I listen back a year later and see it.

What are you reading at the moment?
I just read Kierkegaard's The Sickness Unto Death and now I'm reading a 'How To Read Kierkegaard' book I bought off Amazon... half way through lol. That kind of makes me feel stupid but it's helped me understand him a lot more. I'm going to read Fear And Trembling next. Although he can be pretty heavy going he also has an amazing way with one-liners which is something I love.

What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
Something by Roald Dahl or maybe Narnia. I loved the religious overtones of Narnia as a child. Like everyone I started with The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe but I think Magician's Nephew was my favourite. It got me into biblical imagery before the Bible, tbh.

Did you make good use of your library card as a child / teenager?
No I only used my library card as a teenager to get in the school library to check my band's MySpace and listen to Larrikin Love.

Have you ever found a book that you simply couldn't finish?
I started The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich a couple of times when I was younger and just got intimidated by the thickness. I tell myself I'll read it next year most years. I find the best time to start a long book is January 1st because you're generally at your most focussed (or at least hopeful) at the beginning of the year.

Would you ever re-read the same book?
Absolutely. Right now I feel like I'm trying to catch up because I didn't read at all for about three years in my late teens but there's a lot of books I'd love to go back to in the future.

Have you ever identified with a character in a book? Which one and why?
Machiavelli's The Prince? Joke. I'm not sure. I remember at school when loads of my friends got into The Catcher In The Rye and I thought Haulden Caulfield was a real prick. I read Casanova's diaries and really liked his attitude. Not so much the sexual conquests but his absolute dedication to adventure. That said I barely leave Zone 1 most weeks so I can't say we're all that similar.

Do you read one book at a time or more than one?
I feel like I can do that if one's fiction and the other's a biography or history or whatever but I always mix up storylines if I try and read more than one novel at a time. I'm always impressed by my mum who can have loads of books on the go at the same time and doesn't find it a problem.

Is there an author / poet you would like to collaborate with?
We've actually done something for the artwork of our new album with the poet Sam Riviere which I'm really excited about. He has a couple of collections out on Faber and Faber which are just amazing. I spent a year deciding whether to email him or not because I didn't think he'd necessarily be into the idea, but he's written something great for us. It's an honour.

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'Moth Boys' is due to be released on August 21st.

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