10 non-musical influences on the music of Stricken City

11.09.09 Words by: Charlie Jones

STRICKEN CITY are lush and Rebekah (singer) and Iain (guitarist) kindly wrote us a list of non-musical influences, which is totally more interesting than a bunch of bands that they sound like (ORANGE JUICE, SUGARCUBES, YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS etc, by the way), I think. They are releasing an awesome mini-album called ‘Songs About People I Know’ in a few weeks, and their romantic jangly C86 indie is really remarkable.

Rebekah Raa:

BIRDS

I am constantly blown away by the colours and shapes and feathery bits on birds. My obsession started with cockatiels with the pale yellow head and fleck on coral on his cheek. I was like WOW this is so random how did this happen, this is amazing. And then I started looking at other birds and was like O MY GOD nature is incredible. Like a peacocks feather, who would have even dreamed that up?! The colour palettes in birds are great, colours you would never put together and beautiful gradients. Top five birds are cockatiel, flamingo, black crowned crane, penguin, male bird of paradise from Papa New Guinea (apparently there are 42 types and they all do weird dances).

DOGS

I’ve just been looking through an old picture book of dogs, there are so many varieties it’s unbelievable. I desperately want a little dog, I’m writing a song about it. I think I’ll put one on our next album sleeve, maybe a dark grey poodle. We have a Zebra on the current one. I know a Zebra is not a dog, but I like it.

VODKA

Fewer calories than wine or beer and gets you drunk a hell of a lot quicker if you drink it straight. This is good for when you need to write lyrics but something (like some kind of unconscious embarrassment or repression) is stopping them from coming out. Also good for partying.

EMPIRE CASINO

When I work at this place, I see so many different types of people, a whole spectrum of people I didn’t even know existed. You will see someone playing poker one night who will still be there 48 hours later, or someone losing £2000 on black jack in 10 minutes. There are no windows and people play all night through, like a little night-time world when everyone’s asleep. There’s something comforting about it, but also something quite scary. It makes good inspiration anyway for writing songs about people.

THE VIEW FROM PARLIEMENT HILL ON HAMPSTEAD HEATH

Living here can make my brain feel like cotton wool. We breathe a lot of toxins and fill our lives with work. Our lines of sight are always being blocked by something big, like a building or a car or a crowd. Standing on the hill and looking over the whole of central London with all the air and space and the trees, I find it helps to clear my mind and allow it to expand.

Iain Pettifer:

TEST MATCH SPECIAL

There’s no better time to sit down and come up with ideas than at 4am in the morning listening to England play in New Zealand or somewhere on Test Match Special. We both seem to live quite nocturnal lives, so knowing that somewhere it’s a hot summer’s day and people are playing Cricket is always a nice thought. Also this year I wrote two songs whilst listening to the lunch break of the 2nd day of the Ashes Cardiff Test. Productive

JEAN LUC GODARD & HARMONY KORINE

Hard to write about this without sounding massively pretentious but whatevs. It applies maybe more to being 16 and becoming more aware of not just different types of music but also books, art and film Stuff that you didn’t know existed, since you weren’t taught it at school and the local cinema just showed the usuals. I remember the two of us travelling up to London to watch ‘Two Or Three Things I Know About Her’ by Godard and being pretty amazed, a bit like hearing the Beatles for the first time only not everyone you know was constantly going on about it, so it was pretty exciting. Also seeing ‘Gummo’ and ‘Julien Donkey Boy’ by Harmony Korine had a big effect, watching those movies was very inspiring and just made us want to create something and write music. Also bear in mind that this was all pre ‘The Strokes’ so music at that time was pretty dire, it made sense to find something else to be motivated by

TELEVISION POST PRODUCTION

I went from getting into to Godard, to moving to London to study film to working nights in Television Post House where they edit TV shows, some good, mostly awful. Somewhere I went a little off course. Sitting at work in the middle of the night digitizing footage of bad game shows and reality TV is all you need to make you work hard at being in a band. At the same time, my boss is a good one and gives me time off for touring so I shouldn’t complain. Got to make money some how, turns out pop music doesn’t actually pay anything

THE PARANOIDS IN THE CRYING OF LOT 49

OK, so this list isn’t meant to be about music but The Paranoids are a fictional band in a novel by Thomas Pynchon so it’s allowed. I’ve read this book about three times, mainly cos I ain’t that smart and had to keep starting again, but there are some great passages where ‘The Paranoids’ keep turning up and narrating stuff in song. If this was ever turned into a film it would be fun to play them. This book also has a character called ‘Dr Hilarious’

MANCHESTER CITY FC

Actually not an influence but a MASSIVE distraction. No one else in the band likes football so it annoys them when I go on about it, plus I spend too much time on websites like www.tldorc.blogspot.com and not doing anything productive. Still, we’ve got Robinho!

Stricken City release their mini album (with a DVD as well!) on Puregroove on October 12th, you should buy it. They are also touring in October.

You can buy Stricken City tee-shirts in the Dummy Shop

Stricken City’s myspace

We interviewed Gold Panda (who remixed early SC single Lost Art, downloadable above) here.

Buy a Stricken City t-shirt.