Blanket have been on our radar for a little while now, last year’s Ep Our Brief Encounters was a fine record, so we were very much looking forward to their debut album, How To Let Go, which was released last week (18th May) through Music For Nations.
To coincide with that release, we asked the guys to pick the books, films & music that have influenced where they are as a band today.
Matt Sheldon (bass) – Zen Arcade by Husker Du
The artwork for Husker Du’s Zen Arcade has always held a special place for me, before I discovered this record I thought that artwork should essentially always be some kind of cool photograph, maybe of the band, but more often something abstract and interesting. The idea of an actual drawing or even painting as artwork seemed time consuming and pointless – all of my early bands used photographs smothered in grotesque filters as to us that was what artwork was. The moment I saw the artwork for Zen Arcade I was transfixed and couldn’t stop looking at the art as I listened the almost two hours of bizarre conceptual proggy post-hardcore (or whatever the hell it was supposed to be).
It feels almost cinematic, as you can envision the pictures moving and telling a story with the record as the score. This had a huge influence on me and the way Blanket operates as a band, as we have always used conceptual paintings for our artwork, and we feel that the artwork is a part of telling the story that the record is the score for, much in the way I personally interpreted Zen Arcade.
Bobby Pook (guitar and vocals) – Donnie Darko
I think movies, on the whole for me are about escapism. I love films that create their own believable world and make me care about what’s going on. This is such an amazing piece of work and still stands up well – it influenced me in the way I approach filming and cinematography, the soundtrack and score is just intricate and menacing and really sucks you into that world.
The alternate universe theory shown in the film is so interesting and mind bending, I saw the Horizon documentary about the same subject years ago and it has always interested me. The most inspirational message for me in the film is the journey of awakening and the haunting ending to the film which really stuck with me for years.
Simon Morgan (guitar) – Cloud Atlas
One piece of art that’s had a big influence on me personally is the book ‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell. I’m really into big, expansive stories and this book certainly delivers that. The author weaves an extraordinary tale, which spans from the turn of the nineteenth century all the way to a far away, post-apocalyptic future.
This is told in six seemingly disparate stories which are somehow connected to each other. It’s the way that these stories are connected that I enjoy particularly about this book. On the surface it appears to be almost some kind of reincarnation through some of the characters – others a chance reading of a book written by a character one of the other stories in the past or an accidental listen to the ‘Cloud Atlas Sextet’ on a record player. I also love how the way each of the stories are written in a different way, such as in diary form, letters, interview transcript and straight up thriller. This was one of those novels that stays with you long after you’ve read the final page.
Steven Pellat (drums) – Presence by Led Zeppelin
The artwork to Led Zeppelin’s Presence album by British art house designers Hipgnosis and designer George Hardie has always made an impression on me, mainly for how different it is to anything the band had used previously, and how it fits the album title so well. It isn’t the most famous album or image in the bands history but I love the generally strange aspect of it and the way the Obelisk stands out against the images.
Storm Thorgerson, who is the co-founder of Hipgnosis once said that it’s not even an object per se in the pictures but a black hole, to demonstrate that Zeppelin were so powerful they didn’t even need to be there in the flesh, not physically, but that the memory would do that. There’s also a kind of tongue in cheek reference to the film 2001 A Space Odyssey, which is brilliant. There is a definite sinister feel to it too, there’s a real dark energy within the pictures.