Laura Marling unveils a new online poem inspired by her song The Beast (taken from her acclaimed third album A Creature I Don’t Know – a trailer for which is above) on new site The-bea.st today (28 December). The work brings together the song, new words, album artwork and a narrator who voices the poem. In our exclusive Q&aMarling explains why she is dipping her toe into the multimedia universe.
Hi Laura, how the devil are you?
“Jolly well thanks.”
Can you explain how The Beast as a poem came about?
“The first line of the poem was essentially what sparked the idea’s behind the album, for one reason or another though, it didn’t seem to work as a song. It came from a quote from Thomas Jefferson that I came across in a book called Sisters Of Fortune, talking about the abolition of slavery We have the wolf by the ears and we can neither hold him nor safely let him go. Blind plagiarism.”
This is quite a new multimedia thing for you, can you explain how the words, music and images all fit together online?
“The idea of mixed media stuff is quite a new and scary thing to me. It seems a blessing and a curse to have more than one way of taking something on. As always, it’s up to whoever is willing to interpret it as they see fit.”
How does it relate to the song of the same name?
“It certainly does relate to the song but it’s a re-appropriation of that thing, what ever it is.”
How did you pick your male narrator?
“The guy who actually read the poem? I met him over the summer, he’s actually a chap named Gil from Old Crow Medicine Show, his voice is like that dark oil you get on top of a really good espresso (please forgive me). I liked the idea of having a deeply masculine voice reading what are essentially deeply feminine thoughts.”
Do you write much poetry? And if so how does your poetry relate to your songwriting?
“Poetry and song-writing are surprising different practices for me. They tap different parts of my brain.”
Do you see a clear distinction between the two then?
“There must be, but to be honest, my process in both is no way intellectual enough to draw distinction between them. Though perhaps not as they come from the same stream of consciousness process.”
Looking ahead what have you got planned for 2012?
“Oh, you know, more of the same.”