With Cambiante due to land tomorrow (err, sort of – more on that tomorrow), it’s time to start the Music Monday posts for part 3 of the Elsehere soundtrack.
And first up is the reason that Cambiante exists at all: Raingods Dancing by Fish.
Fish is the former lead singer with Marillion, who left them and went solo in the late 80s. Raingods Dancing is taken from his sixth studio album, Raingods with Zippos, released in 1999.
My favourite two (complete) Marillion albums are Misplaced Childhood and Clutching at Straws, and a large part of what attracted me to them was Fish’s vocals and lyrics. They’re albums I can put on repeat and not get bored with. So when I was looking to branch out a bit, it seemed only natural to look into Fish’s solo career, and that led me to this song which is probably my favourite solo Fish song.
The lyrics are incredibly evocative (often the case with Fish). I love the imagery of the deserted places and the sound of falling rain and someone so haunted by their pain just quietly falling apart. Paired with the music (the piano as raindrops, the strings, the expanse of guitar…) the whole piece is beautiful.
So how does this song inspire a story like Cambiante? Well, it goes something like this: I’d written the climax of Valkyrie and hated it. I knew there was something wrong with it, but I couldn’t see what, or how to fix it. Allied to that was a bit of background writing I’d been toying with, trying to make some of the underlying plot make sense, and it wasn’t working out so well, either. So on went the hiking boots, in went the earbuds and I set off for a walk, with my music library set to shuffle, and just let my brain ping-pong ideas around to see what stuck together and what broke up on impact.
The first couple of songs didn’t make an impression, but then this track came on and fireworks kicked off. A victim of a plague of ghosts, a haunted empty space and someone falling apart – that was where my story was, though at that point I didn’t really know exactly how the story fitted together. It took the rest of the walk (about 3k!) for that! At the same time, it also helped me figure out how it all impacted Valkyrie and about six weeks later I had most of the first draft written and those initial bare bones rather specifically informed Cambiante’s prologue. (Of course, it then took me four months to complete the draft and another three and a half months of editing before I had a finished book, but…!) They also massively informed what went into Of Bonds and Binding.
So there you have it. An insight into the, er, quirky mental process behind a book that wasn’t supposed to exist and the awesome piece of music that went with them.
The Elsehere Soundtrack on Spotify has been updated to add this in.
That’s all for now. Happy reading and listening!