When I was a teenager, I couldn’t do anything without listening to music.
I’m 33 now and I can’t write while listening to music. There’s something about the lyrics that just messes me up. If I listen to anything, it has to be wordless ambient sounds. It can be very effective when I find something that fits what I’m writing at the time.
When I was writing Vessels, it was hard to find music that fit my pseudo-Egyptian setting that wasn’t a movie soundtrack. A solution appeared in the guise of someone I already listened to.
Karl Sanders is the creator of the technical death metal band Nile. While already ancient Egyptian-themed, their sound was so heavy that, while excellent, did not help me get into the writing groove. Then I found out he had a couple of solo projects, Saurian Meditations and Saurian Exorcisms and they were just what I needed.
Karl Sanders himself said that he “got sick of hearing big loud death metal every day after touring” so he wrote those quieter albums to relax. When he’s performing his regular music for Nile, he shreds on the guitar with a blazing technical fury, but while he recorded his solo albums, he played all sorts of instruments like the saz and bouzoki as well as various percussion instruments. It resulted in a savage, eerie, primordial sound and it was just what I needed.
Check out Saurian Exorcisms on Spotify. I’ve got a sequel to Vessels to work on so I’ll still be listening to that chilling brutal ambient album.