How many of my fellow writers can work while listening to music? I can barely focus without it. Even if it’s a song that I know the lyrics to, there’s something about hearing a kickass song while I’m typing away. Over the last six months as I’ve done another draft of Flesh and Fire, I’ve made a playlist of essential listening to be played while working on the manuscript. I usually have a different playlist for every project and I try to choose songs that have themes similar to the piece I’m working on.
For instance, to go with the dark romanticism present throughout Flesh and Fire, I chose songs like “Devil Tree” by Philadelphia-based band The Bailey Hounds, the acoustic version of Marilyn Manson’s “Leave a Scar,” and Glenn Danzig’s gloomy ballad, “Blood and Tears.”
Midway through this draft, my friend Shannon Lafferty released a couple of tunes via her YouTube Channel. Her song, “Till I’m Gone” has a quiet desperation to it that I just love.
No playlist of mine would be complete without David Bowie, so I chose not one, but two of his songs to help immerse myself in the writing process. The Scary Monsters-era classic, Because You’re Young, is filled with youthful vigor and all the uncertainty that comes with it, but the most fitting of the two tracks is the Gothic dirge “Bring Me the Disco King.” It appeared on the soundtrack to Underworld and features Tool’s Maynard James Keenan on backing vocals.
My friend James Manderson has a couple of tunes on the playlist as well. I write to his music, I run to his music, and sometimes I put it on just to relax. He brings a grand cinematic quality to what would otherwise be mere techno music. His song, “Hollow Earth,” puts me in the zone right away, the manuscript’s images of hell become so vivid, the characters’ quests all the more urgent. Check it out:
For my complete Flesh & Fire playlist, go here: