Music & Me: Sarah Davis-Goff
What are your earliest musical memories?
My earliest memories are very Christmas-focused. My parents aren’t particularly musical people and I don’t remember a lot of music in the house growing up as a rule, but every Christmas my mother would crank up her old record player and play Mozart while she was putting up decorations – I still get Christmassy shivers when I hear certain pieces, I love how music has that power.
Who or what were your musical influences growing up and why?
I went to boarding school when I was 7 and that’s when I first really encountered pop music. A friend had a battered old Walkman and a Bangles tape and I was absolutely hooked – then I found out about Michael Jackson and Madonna. I still have really strong feelings for the Bangles. If anyone out there wants to form a tribute band with me I’ll play drums really badly and insist we call ourselves The Bungles.
Does music influence your writing?
A little! I have a few go-to pieces I use to help create particular feelings and stances when I’m writing contemplative or very non-contemplative scenes.
Do you listen to music while writing, editing, etc.?
I do, I listen to music to try and help evoke certain moods while I’m writing – espeically for action scenes when I want to try and write something brash and ballsy. Soundtracks are really helpful, high-octane stuff like Mad Max: Fury Road, Pacific Rim, and the slightly more thoughtful Moon and maybe not surprisingly, 28 Days Later. Having a musical representation of the incredible writing that other artists have created is really inspiring.
Is there one particular novel or piece of writing you wrote that was directly influenced by a piece of music?
There isn’t so far, but my track record is very short!
What music are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve a couple of friends and one or two podcasts who kindly steer me in the direction of good music – I’m completely inept at discovery. Without them I’d never know about Sylvan Esso, Twin Shadow and Active Child. I’ve a love for rock bands like Siouxie and the Banshees and the Runaways. I’ll forever be a fan of Tegan & Sara and Robyn, so they’re another go to.
Musically, what’s your guilty pleasure (or is there such a thing)?
I’m not really a believer in guilt unless it inspires reflection and change, and unfortunately my relationship with music isn’t so complex that it’ll do that for me. So I can listen to 90s boybands to my heart’s content!
Sarah Davis-Goff is one half of independent publisher Tramp Press, which she founded with Lisa Cohen in 2014. Sarah recently published her first novel, “Last Ones Left Alive”.
Derek Flynn runs Writing.ie's SongBook blog, and is an Irish writer and musician. He has a Masters in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. He’s been published in a number of publications, including The Irish Times, and his fiction was featured in 'Surge', an anthology of new Irish writing published by O’ Brien Press with the aim of showcasing “the very best of the next generation of Irish authors”. Online he can be found at his writing/music blog – ‘Rant, with Occasional Music’ – and on Twitter as @derekf03