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Baker's Dozen

Sonic DNA: Natasha Khan Of Bat For Lashes’ Favourite Albums
Laurie Tuffrey , May 7th, 2013 08:50

As part of our series of articles previewing this year's Field Day Festival, Natasha Khan roots through her record collection to pick out her 13 top LPs


Nirvana - Bleach
I have a Polaroid of Kurt Cobain on my kitchen corkboard. It's him holding a kitten, two of my favourite things in the world: Kurt and kittens, the two 'k's! I was deeply in love [laughs] with him, on a hormonal level, for a long time. But I think in terms of what he taught me as a budding creative person and an angsty, very troubled teenager. It sounds really cheesy, but he got me through many many days of bunking school. When I think of Bleach, I've just put [points to phone] "bunking school", that's basically what I did. Just that first track 'Blew', there's that bass sound [sings], and it was just so dirty and rank and then there's feedback and his voice - [sings] "NO RECESS!' - on 'School'.

What was so exciting about the fact that they had become so loved and so big was that they didn't compromise any of that aggression, anger and rawness. I just love people that become really successful by not compromising anything, and being completely true to their own spirit. At that time, I was starting to writing books of poetry and play guitar in my bedroom. I'd pretend to get the train to school, and then come back in and climb through the window and just spend all day with Bleach and Incesticide on a tape, and I'd just turn them over and [listen to] 'Dive', 'Love Buzz' and 'Floyd The Barber'. It was just the ability to play this album as loud in my bedroom as I possibly could and just scream along to it, and just feel there was a little soulmate, who had this similar thing, just guiding me through. I think that visceralness really gave voice to something that I was finding difficult to express and because I was finding my own singing voice, and very shy about it, it was like really nice to be able to not have to sound, as a girl, pretty and nice - all the female musicians like that, they're very beautiful, but to get that kind of guttural, animalistic scream was really liberating.

Did you write any songs in a similar style?

I had a guitar and wrote one song called 'Forest Lawn', which is where his house was. I remember when he died and they had a little ceremony, I saw that on MTV, and Courtney Love read out the suicide note and stuff, which, now, thinking about it now, it's crazy that she did that. 'Forest Lawn' was probably more like a 'Something In The Way'-like plucked guitar song and it was just all about children and playing in this place where he lived. That was probably one of my first songs, yeah. It's so cheesy, but you do have to go through it!