Inspiration Through Music: Bat For Lashes

I write about vampires. I’m not ashamed of this nor am I embarrassed by it. Sure, you may be saying to yourself, “Everyone is doing it right now.” And you’d be partially correct. There’s a whole vampire explosion that’s happened in the literary world ever since a certain series that shall not be named emerged several years ago. But you’ll also agree that the majority of these books are paranormal romance. Now, I’ll be painfully clear: The Monstrum Chronicles is not a paranormal romance series. There may be hints of crushes, sexual innuendos, and even a few on page kisses here and there but romance is not the sole focus of the series. This series is best described as “The DaVinci Code” with vampires. Oh, and without the religion. But like I said, here and there, there are hints of romance through out the books sprinkled in the background. The reasoning for this makes some sense. Vampires are meant to show our inner most desires fleshed out and exposed to the world. They were human at one point and so a human side must be shown in contrast with their monster. What’s more human than love? And let’s be honest, vampires can be pretty sexy (as long as they’re not sparkling.) Unfortunately for me, I’m not the most wonderful writer when it comes to romance. However, it helps that I have one musical group that I can listen to for inspiration on anything vampire: Bat For Lashes.

I was introduced to Bat for Lashes (who is actually Natasha Khan) several years ago when I heard the song “Two Planets” as I was listening to Pandora. I was immediately a fan. The thing that really strikes me about Khan is that there is almost a spiritual and tribal feel to her music, something that kind of digs deep into you when you hear it. It’s almost like she is singing with everything she has and is finding the most descriptive and unique words to explain emotions toiling inside her. It’s amazing stuff. The lyrics for most of her songs, especially my favorite “Glass” just blow me away whenever I hear them. And maybe that’s why they remind me of vampires. They are creatures that are driven by instinct as they are part monster but also steered by lingering traces of humanity that make decisions more complicated. They are not and shouldn’t be predictable monsters to write about. Today I’ve chose five songs from Bat For Lashes for you to listen to and have written the scenes I see when I listen to them. Enjoy.

Daniel: She had never been to this bar by the beach before. She was still new to town, still trying to get used to where everything was. This place reminded her of what she’d left behind though. That small flicker of familiarity allowed her to smile as she got up to the bar and ordered a cocktail. There were so many people there, people with friends who were drinking, laughing, and enjoying the cool blue evening. But there was one person who didn’t appear to be with anyone. He was staring out toward the ocean on the outer fringe of the party, holding a drink that it didn’t look like he’d even sipped. She wondered if he was maybe waiting for someone. But as he turned he noticed her. Though her instinct was to look quickly away, she didn’t. She held his gaze and he hers, and unknowingly, she felt a smile rise on her lips. He looked exactly like someone she used to know back home. But it definitely wasn’t the same person. How was it possible? She felt her legs moving her toward him. Perhaps it was more than just a coincidence. Perhaps it was fate. If only she’d known what she was approaching.

Glass: He stared out the window of his top floor apartment onto the blue city. Reflections of the moon in the various pieces of glass sent a shiver through his arms, racing up his back. The night had never looked so beautiful and had never been so deceptive in its beauty. He knew that if he left that night, things weren’t likely to ever be the way they’d been before. If he left, he might not come back alone… he might not come back at all. But this was the risk he took every single night because he was no longer human. It was a risk he took being this thing that he was. He couldn’t hide away from the world forever. He would have to throw himself into its fire at some point. Tonight was the night.

Deep Sea Diver: She remembered running. The streetlights were so bright for some reason in that memory that they blinded her, even surrounded by darkness as she was. Her ears were overwhelmed by too many sounds, all conjoining together from all sides. She didn’t know what to expect, which way the attack might come from. She wasn’t even sure she was actually getting away. She wasn’t sure she was fast enough. A long walk home from her class on campus had suddenly become what felt like the end of her life. Was there really any way of escaping the inevitable? Because as desperately as she desired to get away, a sliver of herself was convinced that it was in vain. The hunter had found his prey. She was still miles from home and all alone, lost in the sea of night.

Two Planets: He stared at her from across the room. It had been nearly fifty years since he’d last seen her. And though he’d expected that she wouldn’t look any different, it still felt strange seeing her again. The way that things had transpired years ago had gone sour. He wasn’t sure what her reaction would be to seeing him again. And for a while he’d been upset with the idea of seeing her as well. But now, he just couldn’t help that ache to hear her voice again. She had made him feel as though he were still human, even though neither of them were. She had made him feel some kind of warmth and had been his first friend in this new life. He couldn’t stay upset with her. And as she turned to face him, seeing the initial shock tinged by comfort and trust, he knew that she, too, was happy to see him. If only this moment was as good as it seemed. If only he didn’t have such a terrible reason to be there. (This song inspired a scene from my book “Aequitas”, between characters of Reid and Cardea.)

Horses of the Sun: The sun would be rising soon. As he traipsed along the highway, he knew that he’d taken a huge risk in coming all the way out here. He thought he’d had a plan. He thought he’d known what he was doing. But as usual, things hadn’t turned out the way he’d hoped. He was used to things not going his way. Ever since the beginning of his unlife, he’d had to get used to doing other people’s dirty work and risk letting his plans for the future get buried beneath the endless messes of others. And then when he’d had the chance to do what he’d always wanted, he’d turned it away. Now he was here and this was very likely where it would all end. If he could go back, would he make same mistakes, avoid the same opportunities that put him in this mess in the first place? The terrible thing was that he wasn’t sure. That level of self-importance seemed to have lessened in his mind to the point where it was now insignificant. But the thought still made him bitter. It made him wonder what he’d endured all of those other people’s dirty work for? Had it really all come to this?

Next week on Inspiration Through Music, we’ll be sauntering back to the video game world with the soundtrack to a recently released horror game which is one of the best horror stories I’ve ever experienced, period. The Cat Lady Soundtrack is next week. Stay tuned!



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