13th November 2014

Looking for the perfect book to add to your Christmas wish list? Call off the search. Daniel Rachel’s Isle of Noises: Conversations with Great British Songwriters will keep you occupied from post turkey slump well into the New Year. This weighty compendium features insightful conversations with artists from Noel Gallagher to the Bee Gees, Madness to Johnny Marr (by way of Lily Allen). Explores their individual approaches to songwriting and uncover the lyrical and melodic stories behind the most iconic albums in your record collection. We’ll let you discover those secrets for yourselves, but here are a few of our favourite quotes to get you started:

Billy Bragg on the writing process:
“I do think the creative urge is an impulsive one; it’s whether you’re in control of it or it’s in control of you. Back in the day, it was in control of me, now I’m in control of it.”

Mick Jones on The Clash:
“There was nothing contrived in anything we ever did, not in terms of the purity of the songwriting. It might have been contrived in terms of the ideology behind it and the way it was presented, but nothing at that stage. It was like a mystic art.”

Damon Albarn on chart success:
“The point is, even though at this point, twenty two years in, I have no idea how to write a hit single. I genuinely don’t. I may never write another hit single. A little secret corner of my heart would like that… Just one more.”

Paul Weller on songwriting:
“The only limitation is what you put on yourself. If you keep an open mind you can go anywhere with it. I’m still in love with the challenge of trying to condense however grand the ideas might be into this three-and-a-half-minute pop song. It’s challenging and special when you pull it off.”

Jarvis Cocker on self belief:
“That’s the thing that’s very enticing and exciting about making music: no matter how long you do it for you don’t really know where it comes from, but then it’s also the thing that makes it very, very frustrating.”

Listen to our Isle of Noises playlist now:

Feeling inspired? Buy Isle of Noises: Conversations with Great British Songwriters here.