August 23, 2012
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, David Peace, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.
Shane Jones' Daniel Fights a Hurricane is a whirlwind of a novel, a surreal examination of reality and the imagination beyond.
W magazine wrote of the book:
"[Daniel Fights a Hurricane] reads like if Franz Kafka and Anne Carson got together and re-wrote The Wizard of Oz, with occasional in-text illustrations by Dave Eggers. . . . A surreal and playful postmodern fable about an epic struggle against a villainous force-of-nature, with a surprisingly human love story of intriguing complexity.”"
I've been trying to calculate how often I listen to music while writing and the number I come up with is sixty percent. For Daniel Fights a Hurricane I listened to more music than ever, and the percentage is probably higher, especially during the writing of the first draft. I'm thinking of a number closer to one hundred percent!
I think I use music to push me along during first drafts and to create a lightning fast pace without interruption of my own thoughts. Without music, the first draft gets bogged down with my own questions. I don't want any questions because I just want speed.
So here are the songs I listened to most during the writing of Daniel Fights a Hurricane. Many I listened to close to a hundred times.
"Mildred Pierce End Titles" by Carter Burwell
The piano here kills me. I was writing a lot about water, and heartbreak, and things being destroyed, and this song deepened the sadness factor. The single note hit over and over again starting at the one minute mark is painfully beautiful, and I played just that section over and over again. Isn't it sick that I did that? This song digs a trench for you to lie in and just listen and write away.
"Foreground" by Grizzly Bear
The ultimate sad-sack track for hipsters. I hate myself just a little for liking this song so much. Basically, if you give me song simple piano and a dude who sings like he's about to cry, I'm buying that bullshit.
"Ruination Day Pt. 2" by Gillian Welch
I'm not a huge fan of Gillian Welch, but this song is great for setting a mode. Really, I just like how she sings the chorus, holds and draws out the words. I thought a lot about my main character, Daniel, while listening to this song.
"Parachute Panador" by Prefuse 73
Listened to this weird space song more than anything else. If this song was 48 hours long, I listened to it. The accelerating and decelerating beat drove me forward from page to page, and the odd little sound effects played right into some of the fucked happenings throughout the book.
"Infinitum (Exile Remix)" by Flying Lotus
Dark-power mood-setter. I listened to this song a lot, over and over again for days while writing. Before my cat chewed the chord, I had a pair of Bose headphones and when the song enters into the last minute I'd turn the volume up just a little and get into a good grove where I was just typing and typing like I am right now while listening to this song, minus the Bose headphones, and probably looking like the white nerd that I am.
"Today" by Jefferson Airplane
It's a little sappy, but that's kind of what I like about it. There's nothing cynical or sarcastic here, which is refreshing. Feels like a true love song and it gets me every time.
"Tair" by Salem
I'm one of those assholes who got obsessed with this group of fuck-ups but I love them. I listened to a bunch of Salem while writing Daniel Fights a Hurricane, but this song stands out for the most plays and how effective it was on getting me going. Most people find the song really dark, but I think the opposite. It puts me in a good mood, and a lot of the imagery throughout Daniel's world came from this mood.
"Avon (Live At Reading)" by Queens of the Stone Age
QOTSA is a big guilty pleasure. Dudes in cut-off shirts playing stoner rock is something I'd like to pretend I'm better than, but I'm not. I could listen to this stuff all day. Avon is a personal favorite. Something about the drums that brings out the inner meathead in me and makes me want to write more. Seems slightly pathetic.
"K-Hole" by CocoRosie
Some of the playfulness and child-like vibe in Daniel Fights a Hurricane comes from this song. Plus, it's really messed-up and sad, which is my wheelhouse. I especially like when she raises her voice and it cracks during: "What's God's name I can't remember." I'd like to meet CocoRosie if I wasn't so scared of them.
Shane Jones and Daniel Fights a Hurricane links:
The Awl interview with the author
BOMB interview with the author
Flavorwire piece by the author (his 10 essential surrealist books)
Giganticide interview with the author
HTMLGIANT interview with the author
Metroland interview with the author
The Milan Review interview with the author
Tottenville Review interview with the author
VICE interview with the author
also at Largehearted Boy:
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
52 Books, 52 Weeks (weekly book reviews)
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from the week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists