Literary influences explored...
Fear Of Men

Fear Of Men have always stood out from the crowd.

An intense live experience, the Brighton project's songwriting simply seemed to hit harder, cut deeper than other young groups.

A three-piece, the band have taken their time to let this live prowess translate to the studio environment.

Second album 'Fall Forever' is due to arrive shortly, with Fear Of Men completing a quick UK tour this week.

It's a striking work, one that matches musical intensity to layered, thoughtful, and intriguing lyricism.

Clash spoke to singer Jessica Weiss about her literary influences, for our regular Their Library feature.

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What is your favourite book, and why?
Favourite book is kind of like favourite record... I don't think you can really answer. No one's simplistic or devoid of passion enough to settle for just one favourite work surely? Some works that have meant a lot to me are Elizabeth Costello by J. M. Coetzee, Anais Nin's diaries, Chinese Takeout by Arthur Nersesian. Patti Smith's Just Kids. I love her writing style more than her music I think, and she really paints a picture of youth, creativity, life in flux, that is very immediate and relate-able.

The Story Of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli - she's really young and it was written in this brave, great way where it is based in this factory that actually exists, and was written serialised chapter by chapter, with the workers at the factory commenting on what they thought should happen, so it's a really grass roots collaboration, and the story is somehow both fantastically down to earth and completely surreal. It's a perfectly designed universe.

What draws you to certain books?
The chance to understand other people or myself more.

Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?
Absolutely, it's part of everyday life, writing, making notes, recording little songs into my phone. I'm a magpie for words and phrases I like, storing them all away in tonnes of notebooks. Also seeing something about your life illuminated through a work of fiction is often how I am spurred on to start writing.

What was the first book you remember reading as a child?
The first stories I remember are Greek and Roman myths my Mum would tell me when I was bored waiting for a bus. I remember being obsessed with the idea of reading the bible for a while when I was little.. I think I've always wanted answers and certainty, not that it helped...

Did you make good use of your library card as a child?
For sure. I've always loved reading. The most memorable incident from my childhood library days was reading these crazy sexual confessions that had been scrawled in the margins of this young adult fiction book which would be added to most weeks. My friends and I would go to the library to read these mad personal confessions written in some Point Horror book and laugh about all this weird stuff we didn't understand.

Have you ever started a book that you simply could not finish?
I started reading The Very Rich Hours Of Count Von Stauffenberg, about an attempt to assassinate Hitler, and what happened to the insurgents, because of it's mention in J. M. Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello, and I was interested in the idea of how to write about evil, but it was just too dark... Especially as someone of Jewish heritage it really struck too deep. It's an amazing book because of it, but sometimes it's good to know your limits.

Do you read book reviews?
Sometimes. I prefer personal recommendations though. I feel like a lot of critics probably value different things to me when reading, so while reviews can turn you onto something interesting I much prefer if a friend has brought me a book they know is up my street, or I absolutely love the few times people at shows have brought me books they think I'll enjoy. More of that please!

Would you ever re-read the same book?
For sure. It's an escape. It can be so calming to take a journey again. And sometimes it feels more real than life.

Do you read just one book at a time, or more than one?
If I'm reading something great then it takes up every waking moment and I'm possessed till it's done. If it's just OK then I might be a little less loyal.

Is there an author or poet who you’d love to collaborate with?
Valeria Luiselli I think is such an exciting and fresh talent. I also love the collaboration between writer Paul Auster and artist Sophie Calle, where he wrote her into his novel, with her embodying the role and making art that was a mixture of fact and fiction.

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'Fall Forever' is set to be released on June 3rd.

Catch Fear Of Men at the following shows:

6 Manchester Aatma
7 Bristol Start the Bus
8 London Dalston Victoria
10 Brighton The Prince Albert
11 Guildford The Boileroom

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