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

Wyrd Question Daze: Keith Seatman

Hello. I am Keith Seatman. I record clunky electronic music, which has been described by Bob Fischer (Haunted Generation, Fortean Times) like this. “Write his name in the centre of a crumpled notepad, and – as this extraordinary musical adventure unfurls – let the comparisons explode around it. You’ll end up with Syd Barrett, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, even Tommy Cooper and the remnants of Music Hall” This I think is a fine description because I really do not know how to describe in detail what I do? Bob hit the nail on the head there. I have a new album coming out on Castles in Space in Feb 2022, this will be my 7th album and 2nd release on CiS.

I also have a couple of tracks on some compilations coming up, but Mums the word on them for the time being. You can, if you have the time, bimble over and listen to what I do at Bandcamp:

https://keithseatman.bandcamp.com/
https://castlesinspace.bandcamp.com/artists
https://www.youtube.com/user/keithseatman1
Full Bob Fischer interview here: https://hauntedgeneration.co.uk/2020/03/12/keith-seatman-doctor-who-and-time-to-dream-but-never-seen/

Where did you come from and where are you going?

I come from here, which is just over there. As for where am I going I really have no idea? I have given this a lot of thought and I genuinely am not sure. I tend to plod along hoping for the best and keep my fingers crossed. However at the time of doing this I am about to go for a very long walk on the South Downs with friends (Mr Jupp, Powell, Stevens and McAlpine) and hopefully end up in Lewes West Sussex.

What preoccupies your mind these days?

Getting by. Everything is all over the place and a bit of a mess, no one knows what the Autumn is going to be like and our so-called leaders have lost the plot. My Daughter is going to University this year and I am constantly fretting about this. Not because she is going away, but because of all the chaos and confusion around Covid at Universities last year and how it was handled (or not handled)

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

Taste – Curry every time or something spicy.
Touch – Stroking our Cat.
Sound – Cats Purring, it is very relaxing and calming.
Sight – After being in a 2nd hand record shop for hours and hours you finally see exactly what you are looking for.
Smell – Yet again it has to be a Curry

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares/ Have you ever had an uncanny experience?

Have combined these together because they cross over. I tend to get nightmares/terrors quite regular. I used to sleepwalk a lot when I was about 7/8 yrs old and wake up in all sorts of odd places round the house and garden. I remember waking up once in the corner of my bedroom, which scarred me quite a lot. So with that in mind my dreams/nightmare’s have always been a tad odd and sometimes seem very real.

A couple of years ago I had quite a vivid nightmare. I remember opening my eyes and noticed a very old Woman standing over me. The old Woman was leaning forward with her hands at waist height palms up. I started to shout at her and went to push her away. My wife woke me up and I put the light on. No one was there. It was as I was trying to go back to sleep that I suddenly realised that I was not 100% sure if I had in fact even been in a deep sleep when this happened, or one of those drifting off states of half sleep, when you are quite conscious of everything around you. I really cannot say for sure what happened that night. It was very uncanny.

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

Sense of place and memories regarding that place definitely affect me and how I express myself.

It might only be a fleeting memory or feeling of that place, which is how the whole idea and concept for the last album (Time to Dream but Never Seen) came about. The idea for the next album Sad Old Tatty Bunting came about because of very early morning walks, walks that were in the past very familiar to me but because of lockdown had changed. With this change I noticed things, which I had not seen or maybe had no memory of ever seeing. Situations like this will often contribute to the confused and back to front way I work and make music.

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

Finally catching up with friends after being locked down and isolating. When I started completing this (Wyrd Question Daze) I was about to catch up with Mr Jupp, Powell, Stevens and McAlpine. This did happen, however Mr Powell has recently been a tad poorly so could not make it. What was so lovely and inspiring about this mighty South Downs walk was I realised that apart from going to work I have not really seen and spent much time with anyone outside of my family for way over a year. The conversations, humour and laughter that weekend were inspiring and truly wonderful.

Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke.

Mr Stevens was recently telling a story, he mentioned Vienna. I stopped him and said, “Sorry I missed what you said…where was it?” “Vienna” he replied. “Sorry,” I said “it means nothing to me.”

Wyrd Question Daze: Ana Rita de Melo Alves

Hi, I’m Ana and I’m behind the project anrimeal. I also run my own label/art project called demo records, where I focus specifically on demo/homemade/DIY recordings. To find out more, please visit the following: anrimeal.wordpress.com / demorecords.org

Where did you come from and where are you going?

I originally come from Porto, Portugal. I personally come from a place of conservatism and moderation, although I think I’m moving towards a place of bigger freedom and self-actualisation.

What preoccupies your mind these days?

Probably the use of my time is what preoccupies my mind the most. I want to feel like my time was well spent and that I have generated something that is useful and meaningful.

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

Favourite taste is probably coffee! I love coffee so much that I have to be very disciplined about when I drink it.
Favourite touch is either of sunlight or water.
Favourite sound is a bit of a torturous question but maybe I’ll go with the sound of delay.
Favourite sight is definitely of the sunlight hitting things!
Favourite smell is either of the sea or freshly cut grass.

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares

I once dreamt about encountering some people who were dying of thirst. In the dream I knew of a tap, so I took off my shirt to soak it in water and take it to the people to drink. But in my mind I felt conflicted because I knew I couldn’t tell them where the water was coming from, because if I did they wouldn’t drink it and would die. And then the dream revealed to me that the tap was inside a church. That dream has really stuck with me, perhaps because of some personally repressed religious inclinations, it felt really symbolic. I still think about it regularly.

Have you ever had an uncanny experience?

My life is a bit dull, actually. But sometimes I have weird clairvoyant moments, where I think of something really specific that ends up happening. That’s quite uncanny, right?

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

Oh my god, it affects it so much and in so many different aspects! The light of a space is probably what affects my creativity the most, I need natural light to have any deeply pleasant aesthetic experiences. Then there’s the resonance and actual size of the room, which inspire me to use specific types of sounds that play the room as much as themselves. And then there’s the level of comfort, so how comfortable I can be in that place affects the type of work that I do. If I’m in my bedroom, where I am most at ease, I allow myself to try things I wouldn’t try elsewhere, it’s my most experimental setting. But sometimes being in an unfamiliar environment (i.e. place), can also allow me to access sides of my creativity that I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise, there’s a feeling of novelty that I can’t get from my own space.

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

Brian Eno’s diaries from 1995 were really inspiring, and ‘Afropessimism’ by Frank B. Wilderson III was a really moving read.

Tell us a good joke, story or anecdote.

Yikes, I have a very hard time telling entertaining stories, I think that’s why I write music and poetry. Too serious for my own good…

Wyrd Question Daze: Stephen Buckley

I’m Stephen James Buckley. I write and perform with a modular synthesizer, under the name Polypores. You can buy or listen to my music at polypores.bandcamp.com

Where did you come from and where are you going?

I come from the interiors of collapsing stars, via 4 billions years of biological evolution. I’m going into the ground, where I will eventually be reincarnated as fungus.

What preoccupies your mind these days?

I’ve recently cleared out my back yard, built some planters, and planted some plants. I’ve also put out some bird feeders, and as a result, am getting visits from some birds. Currently I’ve got a magpie and a few bluetits who visit several times daily. I find them fascinating to watch. I have a bit of rapport with the magpie. I feel like we have a connection. An understanding.

I’m hoping for more visitors once the plants attract more insects, and word gets around the bird networks that this is a good place to eat. It’s almost become like a game, where I’m trying different foods, building different structures in order to attract more species. But then I also have to make sure I maintain those I already have. One of my neighbours gets regular visits from starlings, which I’m very jealous of.

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

Taste – Fried Halloumi
Touch – Moss
Sound – Dawn Chorus
Sight – Fractals
Smell – New books

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares

There’s a particular place I often visit in dreams. There’s a park with a huge slide and swings. It’s very near a motorway. Here’s what bothers me though: When a person goes to the same place in multiple dreams, is that actually the case? Or does the sense of familiarity/deja-vu come WITHIN the dream? So the dream gives you that feeling, and you wake up convinced that you’ve dreamed about the same place again, whereas it was actually somewhere totally different, the dream just generated the feeling of a familiar environment. I suppose there’s no way of knowing.

Have you ever had an uncanny experience?

No, but not for want of trying. I guess the UFOs just aren’t that interested in me.

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

I think I’m most creative when I’m relaxed and in a familiar environment. A couple of years ago I spend a few days in a cabin in the countryside, with the idea of going to this really remote and beautiful place to make some music. I lugged all my equipment there, and basically came up with nothing, because I wasn’t properly relaxed. I’m a very anxious person, and I need home comforts and familiarity to get creative.

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

Aside from my budding friendship with the magpie, I’ve also been inspired by the idea of meme theory, the scientific reasoning behind the seemingly trivial images that propagate and mutate on The Internet. I’ve found that juxtaposition between supposed “low” culture and “high” culture quite an interesting and inspiring dynamic.

I was recently moved by the experience of receiving my Covid vaccination. It was so well organized. I received both injections within one month. I felt immense gratitude for the people involved in making this happen, and felt a rare sense of kinship with those around me, despite them being masked strangers.

Tell us a good joke, story or anecdote.

Call it a hunch, but I think I’ve got chronic curvature of the upper spine.