Literary influences explored...

Calexico are forever changing, forever the same.

For more than two decades now the band have build up one of Americana's most curious catalogues, continually absorbing the influences they find on their travels.

New album 'Edge Of The Sun' was partly inspired by a trip to Mexico City, and features a host of collaborators. Iron & Wine's Sam Beam makes an appearance, while Neko Case, Carla Morrison and Ben Bridwell from Band Of Horses also took part.

Out on April 13th, it's very much a band effort with each member of Calexico coming to the fore. John Burns takes a keen involvement in the lyrical side of the album, lending some dense word play to the soaring music.

Check out his literary influences below.

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What is your favorite book and why?
'Ask The Dust' by John Fante. A good introduction to the character of Arturo Bandini: like Zorba the Greek before him, and Henry Chinaski after him, he is a lover of life, the good and beautiful, and the ugly and messy.

What other authors do you like?
Cormac McCarthy, Nikos Kazantzakis, Ernest Hemingway, Lawrence Clark Powell, Haruki Murakami, Truman Copote, Loren Eiseley, Charles Bukowski, JD Salinger, Charles Bowden, Louis Alberto Urrea, Flannery O Conner, Elizabeth Strout, Geraldine Brooks, and Sherwood Anderson to name a few.

What draws you to certain books?
I am a fan of real life fiction... meaning the book is labeled fiction, but you know (or get the feeling that) the stories come from real life.

Have you ever discovered a real lost classic? What is it and why?
I think Lawrence Clark Powell's novella 'Blue Train' is a real classic... maybe it's not as lost as I think, or maybe I think it just hasn't been found by a lot of people, but it's a beautiful story that's never been put to a movie... thank God.

Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?
Direct and indirect, I think some lyrics to some of our songs come straight out of books, others are influenced, and even instrumentals conjure scenes from books.

What are you reading at the moment? Morrissey's autobiography.

What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
I remember picking up this book in the school library called 'Hotrod', it was about kids fixing up old cars and racing them in the street. I thought it was so cool.

Did you make good use of your library card as a child / teenager?
Not really. I was too busy thinking about drums and music to be honest. Really didn't start loving reading till I hit the road, and had all that time to read.

Have you ever found a book that you simply couldn't finish?
'Ancient Evenings' by Norman Mailer... at one point I threw it out the window and didn't care that I was littering.

Do you read book reviews?
If I find the New York Times review on a table somewhere I will read it, but I don't seek out book reviews.

Would you ever re-read the same book?
Of course! Like any great work of art you can return to it and find something new, because you have changed, the world changes and the book remains the same.

Have you ever identified with a character in a book? Which one and why?
So many... that's why I read books, to find characters to help me get through my own life.

Do you read one book at a time or more than one?
One at a time.

Is there an author / poet you would like to collaborate with?
I think my favorite writers work alone, and I get that - I love being by myself... and most adapted novels to movies suck, so, it would have to be an amazingly great adaptation to do a soundtrack to a favorite book.

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'Edge Of The Sun' will be released on April 13th.

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