Murder by Death on Books, Touring, and Their Soundtrack for Finch

The band Murder by Death incorporates a little bit of everything cool into their music: alt-country, post-punk, and alt-rock to create a sound that’s very much “Americana”—sometimes stark and beautiful, sometimes rich and layered with a driving beat. The band members are guitarist and singer Adam Turla, cellist Sarah Balliet, bassist Matt Armstrong, and drummer Dagan Thogerson. You can check out their CDs here.

Recently, they created a rather amazing instrumental soundtrack to my new novel, Finch, which is a noir fantasy featuring a reluctant detective forced to try to solve a bizarre murder case against a backdrop of an failing city state oppressed by occupiers and beset by rebels, spies, and other forces bent on affecting the balance of power. Finch been blurbed by Ken Bruen, Jack O'Connell, and Richard K. Morgan, among others, and I recently wrote a piece about how fantasy and autobiography intersect in the novel for the LA Times. The soundtrack captures the phantasmagorical yet stark and melancholy feel of Finch and I absolutely love it. They also managed to convey the strangeness of the fungal technologies that form the main fantasy element. You can listen to the soundtrack here.

I thought it’d be interesting to interview Murder by Death about their reading tastes, and recording a soundtrack to a novel. They’ve also toured a lot recently, including a U.S. tour with The Gaslight Anthem, and given that I’m embarking on fool-hardy 27-event, 35-day book tour starting tomorrow, I was interested to hear about their experiences. (I will be reporting back to Omnivoracious on my potentially perilous adventures from time to time. I should get a chance to sample all different types of book culture in the U.S. I'm covering the National Book Awards for this blog, and doing a wide variety of venues, from lectures at MIT and the Library of Congress to readings everywhere from bookstores to bars and nightclubs.)

Adam and Dagan answered my questions on the eve of a trip to Greece.


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I was listening to the soundtrack as I read the interview. MBD, you guys really knocked this one down. Your music adds a whole other dimension to the story, which I almost know by heart. I only wish there were a Zamilon tune!

Posted by: Dave Larsen | Wednesday October 28, 2009 at 10:37 AM

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