Inspiration: A Grave With No Name
13 Aug 2013
We asked A Grave With No Name's Alex Shields to tell us what it is that inspires his life and work.
As A Grave With No Name’s Alex Shields completed work on his new album Whirpool, he also found the end point to a trilogy that began almost five years ago and has seen him delicately explore both sonic and emotional landscapes to find the appropriate tools for a narrative journey built on confronting loss. It’s a project that received initial acclaim with impressive debut Mountain Debris and further critical appraisal with 2011’s Lower, both existing with an ethereal space constructed with romanticism, thoughtfulness and stings of sadness. Whirpool remains in these places but dares to delve even deeper into the darkness of love and pain with a view to come out with a greater understanding of both. Fascinated by Shields sensitivity and consideration in living and examining these states, we asked him to tell us what it is that inspires his life and work, in turn finding a creative mind inspired by the art of his friends and family, the sense of wonder in comic books and the routine of mostly eating Mexican fast-food…
I would quite happily eat at Chipotle every single day for the rest of my life. I find a sense of routine very important for my artistic growth when I am at home. I go there at least four, or five times a week.
My Fathers’ Paintings
My father spends much of his free time creating art, solely for the pleasure of the process. The only recognition he really wants when he has completed something is from my mother and I, and that act of self expression is so pure and genuine that it’s a huge influence on me when I make music. I also truly love his paintings and have several of them hanging in my flat.
Daniel who currently makes music under the name Hebronix is one of my closest friends, and the time we spend together is one of the most inspirational factors in my life. We meet for breakfast as often as possible, and talk about art, the music we are making, and everything else going on in our lives for the rest of the day. I have a creative connection with him that I do not share with anyone else, and my past couple of records would not have been possible without his guidance.
Most bands find it difficult making three decent albums but for me, R.E.M. have released eleven classic LPs. ‘Automatic For the People’ through to (and including) ‘Up’ is perhaps my favourite run of albums in musical history.
There’s an episodic narrative throughout my three LPs, which is definitely inspired by comics, and ‘Preacher’ in particular. The run of books for me is one of mankind’s greatest artistic achievements. There’s a level of vividness, emotional involvement and wonder contained within ‘Preacher’ that I try to capture every time I make a record.
A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
When I was a kid, my sister who is ten years older than me used to play me N.W.A., Eazy-E and show me horror movies which were probably unsuitable for a six year old child, but one I particularly remember loving was ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’. I’ve recently made an album recollecting my emotional response to these movies which will be out pretty soon.
David Pajo has played with (or as) Aerial M, Papa M, Pajo, Slint, Zwan, Tortoise, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Royal Trux, The For Carnation and Stereolab.
Since her debut LP ‘Goodies’ through to her most recent self-titled album Ciara has made deeply involving records full of standout singles, and rewarding deep cuts. She’s weathered commercial decline and come out the other side by sticking to her artistic vision and making amazing music, and that’s something I deeply aspire to...
Listen to A Grave With No Name's 'Dig Me Out' below.