Modern Nature took their name from Derek Jarman’s diaries, as something clicked when Jack Cooper visited Jarman’s home on the coast of Kent – the sprawling grasslands that sit next to nuclear power stations felt like the perfect phrase to surmise the way the band juxtapose pastoral field recordings and spacious Talk Talk guitars, with motorik beats and chopped up tape loops.
With their debut album, How To Live, out through Bella Union on 23rd August, it’s preceded by Séance – the song that closes out the first half of the LP. In preparation for the record’s release, we caught up with frontman, Jack Cooper, who talked us through what’s currently making him tick in the world of music, literature and film.
These are his Sound & Vision picks:
Three favourite albums:
Unhalfbricking – Fairport Convention
It’s tough to pick just three albums but I’ve picked three that represent a Venn-diagram where Modern Nature sit in the middle. The first is Unhalfbricking by Fairport Convention. It has a looseness and freedom that had disappeared somewhat by the time they got to Liege & Lief, which is equally excellent. A Sailor’s Life is probably the greatest English recording of the sixties.
Tracks & Traces – Harmonia & Brian Eno
The various versions of this record are somewhat confusing, but the one I’m picking is the version that begins with Welcome. I suppose when you start a band or project, having a template is a useful way of framing things, so the intention is clear to everyone. That can disappear within seconds when the people involved begin playing, but A Sailor’s Life by the way of Welcome would be a simplified take on what we were going for.
Laughing Stock – Talk Talk
Maybe the best album of all time… today anyway. The space, the melodies, everything is absolutely perfect. Really just a remarkable record.
A favourite film:
Wish You Were Here
I’m only picking this because I’ve watched it again recently and a lot of the themes seem to resonate more as I get older. The English seaside setting feels very familiar to me and the stuffy conservatives who try to grind down Lynda’s beautiful spirit are on the rise again.
A book that’s important:
A Lark Ascending – Richard King
We were very honoured recently when a journalist reviewing our album recognised similar themes to Richard King’s recent book about the English countryside’s relationship with music. It’s a lovely book and I was very excited to meet Richard at Port Eliot Festival. We ended up just talking about the Grateful Dead.
A song that’s important…
Cellophane by FKA Twigs
This knocked me out recently. I feel very optimistic when I hear something so popular that has such invention and space. To me it sounds somewhere between Morton Feldman and Kate Bush, but truly unique.