Wyrd Question Daze: The Leaf Library

This is Matt Ashton (guitar, words) and Simon Nelson (guitar, synth) from The Leaf Library, a drone pop band from Walthamstow in North London, UK. We have released three albums over the last few years, as well as a number of compilations, EPs, remixes and side projects. We are currently working on our fourth album as well as the second part of a piece for Sonic Fields at the Broadway Studio Gallery in Letchworth Garden City. 

(The Leaf Library by Emily Mary Barnett)

Where did you come from and where are you going?

Matt: I came from the suburbs in the South East of England. I hope I’m going back outside again; to the seaside, to the studio with the rest of the band, to Europe.

What preoccupies your mind these days?

M: On good days our new songs – they’re slowly arriving like small, weird creatures from out of the woods and we have to do our best to look after them and see how they develop. No idea whether they’re ugly or nice at the moment – either is fine. We’re experimenting with ‘chord changes’ and ‘choruses’ for this next album (concepts that are reasonably new to us). Once they’re all written we’re going to go to a studio and record them and I spend a lot of time thinking about that and what it might all sound like in the end. I’m not trying to plan it, just excited about where these new things might take us.

Simon: How to sync up my tremolo pedal and Lewis’s laptop/drum machine for the next time we play Asleep Between Stations.

Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell.

M: A post-soundcheck/pre-gig beer, the ridges on my Bic biro pen, my son asleep, coffee.

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares

S: I dreamt that in my childhood basement was a big silver VHS machine that you could connect to your brain and tape your dreams. Still waiting for that to be invented.

Have you ever had an uncanny experience?

M: The idea of ghosts, or at least my very personal interpretation of them, has started to crop up more and more in things that I’m now writing (one working title for the new album is More Songs About Ghosts And Tiredness). But no, not really. Perhaps I’d like to! Ghosts to me are so wrapped up in memories, very subjective and slippery things in themselves. I don’t believe in the supernatural, but that strange, in-between place between awake and sleep is a place I’d like to spend more time in.   

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?

M: I’ve lived in a city for so long it’s difficult to tell. I don’t really feel like I belong here, but I’m not sure where I do. Perhaps that explains why we’re always trying to create atmospheres or environments to escape to in our music, rather than telling stories or making character studies. There are places I love to be (by the sea, in the countryside) but so much has been written and made about that sort of thing that I’m a bit tired of it. So we need to find somewhere new to travel to.

S: Not sure about this one. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt like I’m an intrinsic part of any particular place, so not sure it has an effect. The people in a place can make a place feel more welcoming or hostile despite the place itself. However I once saw Mike Nelson’s ‘To the Memory of H.P. Lovecraft’ at the Hayward Gallery and the air of malevolence was remarkably strong.

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

M: Music by Flying Saucer Attack, The Reds, Pinks And Purples, Thibault, Cindy, Charlie Butler, Seefeel, Big Eyes Family, Yo La Tengo, Peel Dream Magazine, all the amazing music that people gave us for our Object Ten compilation, Brian Eno’s Diaries, Lesley Chow’s You’re History, Ithell Colquhoun, Weird Walk zine, Agnes Martin, Richard Long, Zakia Sewell’s Saturday morning NTS radio show, all of our talented and creative friends that keep upping the bar. 

S: Cute animal videos on Twitter mainly.

Tell us a good joke, story or anecdote.

S: The one about George Clinton keeping a giant rock of crack as a good luck charm on tour, and then setting his hotel room curtains on fire when he eventually tried to smoke it. You had to be there.

M: I once lent Bjork a pen!

The Leaf Library : Bandcamp / Twitter

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