The Music behind the Relic Guild – by its author Edward Cox

CB - Jul - The Relic Guild PB Last year I wrote a piece for the Gollancz blog about how important music is to me and my writing process. This year the Grim Reaper seems to be working overtime to claim so many of our musical heroes and influences. In light of this, the piece that I wrote for Gollancz seems more pertinent because the music that touches us doesn’t die with its creators. It’s important that we continue to celebrate the work they leave behind, and also cherish the artists who are still with us and continue to inspire.
(NB. If you’d like to get more background before going on you can check out our profile of Ed here, more on his first book The Relic Guild and sequel The Cathedral of Known Things and other Gollancz titles via those links, and even read an extract from The Relic Guild here!)

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Music has always been an important part of my life. I used to make my own – probably not very well, but then I wanted to be a writer, so who cares! – and if not for time constraints, I’d still be making it now. It was a lot of fun, and I remember the lifetime of hours I spent noodling around in my little studio setup very fondly. But the one thing I’ll never give up on is the passion I have for the music that I listened to. It is integral to who I am.

I don’t like X-Factor and the manufactured quagmire that dilutes content with popularity scores and saleability. It feels a little bit too much like Simon Cowell – along with whoever his latest henchmen and women are – is trying to plug into my brain and decide for me what I will like and listen to and force to the top of the charts. Perhaps I’m becoming an old man and I’m no longer supposed to understand the music scene. But I do fear that, with programs like X-Factor and the advent of the downloadable age, future generations will miss out on experiencing the joy of walking into a music shop, browsing, and discovering something that they’ve never heard before.

I have a keen sense of nostalgia every time I hear the music that my older brother and sister used to listen to. I still play the first music that I discovered for myself, occasionally wondering why I ever bothered. I still go out searching for new sounds. I celebrate the musical tastes that I share with my wife – that is to say, the music that helped us take those all important steps to finding our common ground as a couple. And I have to wonder: without music, would I enjoy writing?

Every day there’s a different soundtrack. My headphones are on and an album is chosen before I even make tea and power up the laptop. I’m constantly surprised by the diversity of music that can help me concentrate.

CA - EC - Metallica Some days it’ll be hard and heavy like Metallica. Others, it could be the more cerebral sounds of Pink Floyd and David Bowie, or something atmospheric from the likes of Tangerine Dream. If I had to hang my hat on a favourite, it would probably be the works of David Sylvian – though Gary Numan and Depeche Mode would be looking over his shoulder, and I’m just as likely to be listening to a movie soundtrack anyway. CA - EC - Songs of Faith and Devotion

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The Relic Guild trilogy is my most ambitious work to date, and I couldn’t begin to guess at many hours and days and weeks of music I’ve listen to while writing it. Now, with the imminent release of Book 2, The Cathedral of Known Things, I’ve come to realise that this story has formed its own soundtrack, of a kind. There are particular songs that I now relate to my characters. All of these songs I listened to while I was writing or plotting or thinking about the book. Musically, they conjure a mood or trait; lyrically, they say something about the character.

I list some of these songs and characters now in the hope that it might prompt people to agree or disagree with my choices. Difference of opinion is as important to music as it is to movies and books. But, even better, I hope this list can inspire someone to go out and discover something they’ve never heard before.

 

THE AGENTS OF THE RELIC GUILD:

Samuel – Orpheus by David Sylvian

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Clara – Fait Accompli by Curve

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Marney & Van Bam (the love theme) Hey Moon by John Maus

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Gideon – I Dream of Wires by Gary Numan

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Denton – Turn Loose the Mermaids by Nightwish

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Angel – Scary Monsters by David Bowie

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Gene – A Drowning by How to Destroy Angels

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Macy – Walking in My Shoes by Depeche Mode

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Bryant – Dogs by Pink Floyd

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THE GENII:

Fabian Moor – True Nature by Jane’s Addiction

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Mo Asajad – Chinese Burn by Curve

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Viktor Gadreel – Cyanide by Metallica

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Hagi Tabet – Girl Anachronism by The Dresden Dolls

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Edward Cox

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More:

CB - Jul - The Relic Guild PB
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Our Profile of Ed Cox
CB - Go - Oct - The Cathedral of Known Things
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You can read an extract from The Relic Guild here or read more on the book and other Gollancz titles on our Gollancz Jul-Dec 2015 page and The Cathedral of Known Things on our Gollancz Jan-Jun 2016 page – or just click the Buy links below to read more on Waterstones.com.
You can also check out more musical inspirations and writings of select books and graphic novels here…