Ulrika Spacek
Exploring the London group's literary inspirations...

Ulrika Spacek's curious evolution takes another step forward on new album 'Modern English Decoration'.

Making full use of their expansive five musician line up, the band inject an artful air of the unexpected into the psychedelic format.

Sidestepping expectations in the process, Ulrika Spacek toasted the release with a flurry of inspired live shows.

Set to hit the road once more in Autumn, the group will play a series of headline dates before supporting Ride.

Ahead of this, Ulrika Spacek's Rhys E spoke to Clash about his literary influences and the contents of his book shelf...

- - -

What is your favourite book and why?
Down And Out In Paris & London by Orwell. It was the first book I read after moving to London. It's the first full length written by Orwell, a memoir about his time living in both cities in poverty. I found it very poignant and could relate to his descriptions of working in kitchens/hospitality. I can't wait to read it again a few years down the line.

What authors do you like?
Orwell, Hemingway, Bukowski.

What draws you to certain books?
I'm really interested in titles, guess it comes from a similar place to titling albums or songs. I would also say that the reputation of certain books draws me to them.

What are you reading at the moment?
Just finished The Outsider by Camus. It had been recommended to me by Ben in the band. The first half I was thinking that it was an overrated book then the last third really showed itself why it's so highly regarded. I will definitely read more of him.

What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
It was a book called Dig. I found it in my school library and every page just said Dig next to various illustrations of JCB Diggers, I remember being disappointed but finished it quick at least.

Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?
To be honest I wish I read more as I do think it opens doors for songwriting, especially lyrics. As my girlfriend lives in Stockholm I fly quite regularly, and for me this is the time I read, it's probably not a coincidence that this is also a time when I often end up writing quite a lot of lyrics. I would say usually it's more of an indirect influence but it definitely allows you to see a canvas of words, this can be very effective in sparking things lyrically. That said, the final lyric of our second record is based on the very last line of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.

Have you ever identified with a character in a book? Which one and why?
Of course, I think relating to the protagonist is one of the main reasons why people feel that there is something of them inside that book. I really liked Winston in 1984. That said, it is possible to enjoy a book without personally identifying with the main character, for instance for most of The Outsider I didn't particularly feel anything for Meursault, that perceived coldness and nonchalance was captivating however.

Have you ever started a book you simply could not finish?
Plenty, a friend of mine lives by the adage that if you are not into it after 100 pages put it down.

Do you read book reviews?
No, but I definitely listen to friends recommendations. Word of mouth is a beautiful thing.

Would you ever re-read the same book?
I haven't but I will. Reading a book locks it with a memory of a certain time. I am looking forward to using books in the future to unlock some sort of nostalgia. I think I am going to reread the S.C.U.M. manifesto again very soon, I read it first time around in a bath, might do that again actually.

Do you read one book at a time, or more than one?
Always one at a time, that can be annoying though. I want to read Infinite Jest but fore well know that will be to the detriment of reading anything else for a long time.

- - -

Catch Ulrika Spacek at the following shows:

6 Nottingham The Angel
7 Dublin The Workmans Club
9 Glasgow Hug and Pint
10 Manchester The Soup Kitchen
11 Bristol Louisiana
12 London Oslo
13 Brighton Sticky Mike's Frog Bar

7 London O2 Forum Kentish Town*
8 Birmingham O2 Institute*
9 Bristol SWX *
10 Leeds Beckett University*
12 Liverpool O2 Academy 1*
13 Newcastle Boiler Shop*
14 Edinburgh The Queens Hall *

* - supporting Ride

Buy Clash Magazine


Follow Clash: