You want the song to be at least at the same level of goodness throughout. Whereas with something you're doing live, a song dips and rises and that can actually be worked to the song's benefit.

John Darnielle

John Darnielle

Profession: Musician
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

I think there are some writers - like, if you read Kerouac, I think you probably need to take a little break before you sit down to the typewriter because he's the type of writer whose voice infects you.

I get nostalgic about having lived in Ames, Iowa, even though being a vegetarian in Iowa is not fun. But I really love Durham more than any place I've ever been; some small towns can be really provincial and strangling, but Durham is the best city in the world.

A Cat Stevens record isn't just Cat Stevens' ideas. It's Cat Stevens and all the musicians who play with Cat Stevens, right?

Touring is just not normal for me. My personality is to never ever talk to people if I can help it.

I think all writing is necessarily autobiographical to a greater or lesser extent, and the less it tries to be confessional, the more likely it is that you're somehow sneaking the things you need to say in there.

To me, creative work is labor, like any other kind of labor. It's got value, and it takes your time, and it's useful to people, depending.

My father would tell me if I wasn't writing in meter verse, it wasn't poetry.

I love Joan Didion, but I love her writing. I don't think meeting her could solve my problems or make me understand the world better.

More and more, I enjoy hearing people who are good at their instruments and who've found a distinctive voice. In death metal, a lot of guys are Eddie Van Halen disciples, but they take his style to really expressionistic places. It's a real pleasure for me to hear people pushing their craft.

I don't sit down and say I'm going to write a song about this or that. They are never mapped out.

I'm finding things out about myself as a person - as a writer - as I write, and so are the people who listen to what I do. But they have this additional aspect of how they take the stuff that I do, and so it broadens the work, and it creates this strange connection.

At my high school, there were always kids carrying acoustic guitars around, which is why I named my band the Mountain Goats. I didn't want to seem like one of those guys who brought his guitar to the party whether you asked him to or not.

Most of 'All Hail West Texas' was written during orientation at a new job I had. I had basically worked this job before, I knew this stuff, so I was writing lyrics in the margins of all the Xeroxed material.

Readings are more like weaving a tapestry. Possibly people are getting a cathartic release - but music is physical. Music pummels you. It's got a beat; it's loud. Whereas this is more cerebral.