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Baker's Dozen

Shields Against The World: Mat Osman's Baker's Dozen
Luke Turner , May 10th, 2023 08:40

From growing up on The Carpenters to reconnecting with music in his "wilderness years" Suede bassist turned novelist Mat Osman takes Luke Turner through his Baker's Dozen of favourite recordings


The Byrds – ‘Everybody’s Been Burned’

Music has a huge influence on my writing. I'm listening to ‘Everybody’s Been Burned’ by The Byrds every day at the moment because I'm trying to write something, but I'm trying to write something that has that mood. It has a very specific mood for me, a late night, smoke rising from an ashtray, looking back on your mistakes, fingers of dawn just creeping around the window… everything about it is evocative and sets me writing in a way that I just wouldn't otherwise. Music sets an emotional state before I start the intellectual process of writing. The act of writing is putting yourself in someone else's mind and nothing does that better than music. I feel I know musicians and singers better than I know writers because there's something so natural about making music that’s so hard to fake. That isn't there in writing, even writing about yourself. You're always able to edit it to justify yourself, whereas I think music tends to come from somewhere more intrinsic to your real self. So I like to put on music before I write to almost set the bar – if you can't write something that doesn't feel like ‘Everybody’s Been Burned’, then don't do it.