Lots of writers use playlists when they work: I’ve seen some great ones online over the years, for all sorts of different books.
I’ve lost track of the number of songs I’ve killed by listening to them over and over and over and over again while I’m writing – a couple of Nero’s songs being a case in point. I had the two of them running as background while I wrote “At The Sign of the Black Dove” – my story in “Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse”.
The problem was that I put in a lot of hours on that story. Which meant the same two songs on a loop for many hours. This isn’t exactly helped by the fact that they turn up very early on the album, and it’s one of my husband’s favourite records.
We have the routine down to a fine art: he goes pottering off down to the kitchen. He puts some music on. Two chords later, there’s a howl of despair from my study, followed by my stomping down the stairs, grabbing the remote control (all the while muttering expletive-laden things like “Are you trying to kill me? Are you? ARE YOU?!”) and then disappearing back into my study. Door slamming optional.
It’s not that I don’t like the songs – I do – and it’s not like I’m scarred by the process of having written a story to them (well, only a little) but the second I hear them, I’m back in “work mode”. It’s the strangest thing.
Anyway. Because someone asked me a while back about the music I wrote to, I thought I’d round up the obvious ones. I do rather give away my love of dubstep, particularly when it comes to the short stories, I’m afraid…
BLOOD & FEATHERS:
I relied on this massively when I was writing. Given I wrote it in 4 different places: my old house, two rented flats and – most memorably – the balcony level of the Barbican Foyer (and yes, I still remember exactly which scenes I wrote there!) the playlist was the rock I clung to in order to keep things on an even keel. Now there’s a nice mixed metaphor for you.
Some of the songs go with particular scenes, some with particular characters, but the song on here which matters the most, if you like, is Linkin Park’s “When They Come For Me“. In part that’s because, hey, I like Linkin Park – but it’s also because this is where it all made sense. I can hang the whole book on this song.
All the Right Moves: OneRepublic
Make Me Wanna Die: The Pretty Reckless
Believe Me: Fort Minor
Slip Out the Back: Fort Minor
It’s Not the End of the World: LostProphets
Only Man (Jakwob Remix): Audio Bullys
Burning in the Skies: Linkin Park
When They Come For Me: Linkin Park
New Divide: Linkin Park
Dreamcatcher: Unicorn Kid
The Island, Pt I (Dawn) & Pt 2 (Dusk): Pendulum
Witchcraft (Rob Swire’s Drum-step Mix): Pendulum
Ich Tu Dir Weh: Rammstein
Bulletproof Heart: My Chemical Romance
The Only Hope For Me is You: My Chemical Romance
Teeth: Lady Gaga
Walking in Circles: Dead by Sunrise
Dead Reckoning: Clint Mansell
End Credits: Chase & Status with Plan B
For those of you on Spotify, my friend Paul (better known as @pablocheesecake on Twitter) has been an absolute sweetie and put a Spotify playlist together for all your BLOOD & FEATHERS listening needs. And you can find it here: spoti.fi/zGhqZN
The only thing not on there is Rammstein (which, let’s face it, isn’t surprising…). It’s very neat, and I’m incredibly grateful to Paul: thank you!
At The Sign of the Black Dove – Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse.
An apocalyptic story needs an apocalyptic soundtrack… and in my head, this is exactly what the end of the world sounds like…
Nero – Doomsday
Nero: Fugue State
Murderess Lane: Hub Fiction
“Murderess Lane” is a story about another London – a London which always was, and always will be: the kind of London which has flagellants roaming the streets, and an underground chamber hung with bodies hidden in the heart of the City. It’s not a very nice place, and it’s confusing and noisy and frightening. So, naturally, while I was working on it, I listened to this.
Pendulum: Through the Loop
Kudos and cookies if you can name the sample. It’s easy, honest.