Six Of The Best: District Attorney | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

South Shields music outfit, District Attorney release their latest single, Someone Is Safe, a dark and atmospheric offering reminiscent of Nick Cave with lurking bass, ominous guitar and rich baritone vocals.

Here, the band give us their six of the best…

What a delicious task to be asked about your influences. To cite six total belters that have indelibly left their mark. The only problem is; narrowing the field to just six.

I could have easily done sixty-six of the best & being honest most of them would have been novelists & poets. 

Writing lyrics is the most gratifying part of making music for me & it’s usually writers of fiction & poetry that get me moving to pick up a pen & start something. I’ve tried not to think too hard about my choices here & namecheck the first folks that came to mind. Pinning down people who’ve influenced how I play is a thornier prospect altogether but they’re in here too. 

So this list is a set of catalysts that would make me sit down & get to work on a District Attorney song.

1. Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
In my opinion the greatest novel ever written. Bleak, thrilling, poetic, beautiful & ugly all at the same time. The language is so exciting it’s been a constant inspiration for as long as I’ve been writing songs. 

I don’t think there’s a part of our songwriting process that this book hasn’t touched in some way.

2. The Thing – John Carpenter
What can I say? Just the coolest horror film ever. An essay on paranoia, it’s got the best effects, soundtrack & Kurt Russell’s lustrous beard. The song Who Goes There on our first record is named after the novella that the film is based on.

3. And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out – Yo la Tengo
This record completely changed my outlook on music. Before that I had seen songwriting as a bit of a mystical process. 

Something other people did. Listening to this astonishing & underrated album when it first came out gave me the confidence to try my hand at doing something similar.

I’ve never quite reached the heights that they achieved but I’ll always keep trying.

4. Angela Carter
The late novelist, poet, critic, essayist & short story writer Angela Carter was an absolute genius. There’s No other word to describe her. The breadth of her vocabulary & her playfulness & precision with language is just mind-blowing.

My copy of her collected short stories goes with me whenever I travel. There are references to her writing in so many of our songs. She was a class act.

5. Palace Music/ Palace Brothers/ Palace Songs. – Will Oldham
The earliest incarnations of Mr Oldham’s oeuvre well before he became Bonnie “Prince” Billy. I listened to these records obsessively when I was younger. Studied them like hallowed texts. They’re so sparse & frail but so impossibly powerful.

They made me realise sometimes all you need is an instrument and a voice to make something devastating. 

6. Kim Deal
The high priestess of rock. The world’s best singing bass player and fearless leader of, when it comes down to it, my favourite band: The Breeders. She’s my musical hero & her songs are so wild and strange but always irresistibly poppy. A total force of nature & someone I think about every time I pick up an instrument.

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout