Chastity Belt's new album is highly intriguing.
Afforded the luxury of spending several weeks in the studio - as opposed to the breakneck sessions that peppered their previous work - the band were able to stretch out.
As a result, their latest material feels that bit more confident, rounded, and fully realised than the rest of their work.
Self-titled, 'Chastity Belt' finds the group moving into a fresh space, relaxing into the pattern each song affords.
Singer Julia Shapiro has relished this, working relentlessly on her lyrics to maximise the emotional pinpoints within the songwriting.
Clash caught up with the songwriter for Their Library, to uncover the contents of her bookshelf...
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What is your favourite book and why?
Maybe The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. It was the first book I really connected with and related to. I read it for the first time in high school. I really love the voice of the main character.
A lot of people would say this book is super depressing, but I think in the end it's uplifting, and I found that more than anything, in high school it was comforting to read a book that I could relate so much to.
What other authors do you like?
Elena Ferrante, Sheila Heiti, Laurie Moore, Sally Rooney, Lucia Berlin, Richard Brautigan, Kurt Vonnegut, Chelsea Minnis, Pam Houston...
What draws you to certain books?
I like to read books with characters that I identify with. I like reading introspective books about people and their relationships to one another. I also like science fiction.
Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?
I took a line from the book How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti and used it in the song 'Drone'.
What are you reading at the moment?
Outline by Rachel Cusk, but I'm struggling with it. I'm like halfway done and it's not really that compelling yet.
What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
Harry Potter. I had a Harry Potter themed birthday party in fourth grade.
Have you ever found a book that you simply couldn't finish?
Lots of them. I have trouble sticking with books that I just can't get into or can't relate to.
Would you ever re-read the same book?
Yeah, I have before.
Have you ever identified with a character in a book? Which one and why?
Yeah, lots. I identify with Elena in the Neapolitan novels, as well as the main character in Conversations With Friends.
Is there an author / poet you would like to collaborate with?
No, I don’t even collaborate with my bandmates on words/lyrics. That’s one part of songwriting we all like to keep completely our own.
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New album 'Chastity Belt' is out now on Hardly Art. Catch Chastity Belt at the following shows:
13 Bristol Thekla *
15 Leeds Brudenell Social Club *
16 Manchester YES *
17 Glasgow Stereo *
19 Oxford Ritual Union
20 Cardiff Swn Festival
21 Brighton Patterns *
23 Southampton The Joiners *
24 London Islington Assembly Hall *
* - with GANG Photo Credit: Beto Barkmo
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