You may know novelist Scott Heim from his books We Disappear, In Awe, and Mysterious Skin (from which the Gregg Araki film of the same name was adapted).
But these days he’s in the middle of creating a remarkable E-book series called The First Time I Heard… The series’ concept is quite simple, but ingenious. Heim asks an eclectic and brilliant mix of musicians and writers to talk about their first encounter with the music of specific iconic bands. The resulting compendiums contain often personal and always compelling remembrances of these artists’ initial listens to the music of The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, Joy Division/New Order, Kate Bush, and David Bowie. Naturally much of the commentary is fawning, but not everyone has fond recall of their assigned artist, and that makes these books feel even more honest.
And with a cast of contributors including Miki Berenyi (Lush), Craig Wedren (Shudder To Think), Joan As Policewoman, David Gedge (The Wedding Present), Adam Franklin (Swervedriver), Harold Budd, and David Narcizo (Throwing Muses), this series is a chance not just to hear about the music, but to enjoy the storytelling styles of the musicians involved outside of the context of their usual medium.
In this interview we talk about putting the series together, what books are in the works, and the power of older siblings as musical tastemakers.