Daniel Rachel’s book Isle Of Noises explored the art of songwriting in Britain

Talk from author and Roddy Woomble exploring the art of songwriting at the 2013 Edinburgh Book Festival

In the late 1990s, Daniel Rachel was pursuing his dream of becoming a successful musician when he first read Songwriters on Songwriting, a collection of interviews with some of North America’s most celebrated songwriters. He returned to the same shop where he had bought the book, intending to pick up its British equivalent, but was surprised to discover that no such book existed. ‘I had no inkling to want to write it’ says Rachel of the soon-to-be-released Isle of Noises, focused as he was at the time on his musical career. Some ten years later, and little closer to his dream, Rachel decided to write the book that still hadn’t been written. ‘What else could I do?’

However, this undertaking would mean an end to Rachel’s musical career. ‘I pulled a guillotine down on my music and decided to become a writer,’ he confesses; something which he will no doubt discuss in greater length at EIBF, when roles are reversed and the new author is interviewed by Idlewild frontman and songwriterRoddy Woomble.

Rachel hopes the great theme that will emerge from the book is that ‘nobody can tell you how to write a song’. In fact, Isle of Noises offers a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a songwriter, featuring interviews with a number of Britain’s greatest, fromJoan Armatrading to Damon AlbarnBilly Bragg toLaura Marling, allowing the reader to ‘share part of that secret world’, as Rachel puts it. When asked how he feels about the impending release of his book, he quite tellingly replies, ‘it feels like I’ve got something coming out on a major record label, which is what I always wanted. It’s a joyous feeling’.

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 21 Aug, 8.30pm, £10 (£8).