The Music Of The Gods
Music is a massive part of my creative process; always has been, always will.
When I’m writing fiction, there are certain songs that put me in the mood for a certain piece or certain characters. Playlists make that process a hell of a lot easier; Spotify and similar streaming media make it easier to collect some of those songs together.
When I was writing my first novel Godhead, I had a couple of hundred songs that I listened to while writing; they set the tone for the story, they built the world and they formed the characters. While editing, some of those songs started to crystalise, forever linked to a specific moment of the book, and as it came to life in my head, those songs played as the soundtrack in the background.
There’s a little bit of ego here, of course; these are the songs I’d like to hear if Godhead were ever turned into a media experience: movie, TV show, even a video game.
I thought that was silly at the time, but it turns out a lot of writers do this. Go writers.
And I thought that maybe there was a time and a space to do this for my own sake.
I’ve posted the links to this soundtrack before, shared it on social media, but there are specific songs and tones that I wanted to hit.
Have a read, have a listen and I’ll do something that I’m not really used to: shared some of my creative processes and see what you think.
NEEDLESS TO SAY, stop reading if you haven’t read Godhead Have a listen if you want, but there are some very specific moments in here.
The Energy – Audiovent
This is the first song in my play list for a reason. This is sort of my theme tune.
This is a song about nothing and everything all in one. I’m an 80s kid (born in the 80s, grew up in the 90s; whatever way you want to play that.) I watched a lot of Buffy and the like) and this just seemed to have the right tone that makes this a theme tune. Think of the Buffy theme tune; think of Charmed.
And now think of this.
I’m not dying today <followed by a long guitar fade-out>
Opening credits or what?
Burn – Alkaline Trio
There isn’t anything specific about this song that makes it work, but it’s all about those drums. Godhead is a novel about broken people dealing with their pasts, and this is the very song that hammers that home.
This is sort of a montage, a long tracking shot bringing us to our heroes’ sides.
Beast Of Honor – Auf Der Maur
This one is a lot of fun, because this is basically Deimos’ theme. Beast of honor…get it? Anybody? Those chunky guitars have their home in this novel, but there’s also a lot to be said about Melissa Auf Der Maur’s vocals, both beautiful, confident and deadly at the same time. It’s all about the female characters showing their strength.
Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies – Biffy Clyro
This song starts with those orchestral elements before ramping up to noise and sound and bombastic guitars and drums, and are sort of like a picture of the novel itself, starting as Greek tragedy before becoming a modern action film. Again, the lyrics really play with the themes of the book, the losses that all of these characters have gone through, and how broken they all are because of it.
Geurnica – Brand New
This isn’t just a theme: this is the song, the song about broken people and characters.
Each of the characters of Godhead have their moments, sort of a song to play over their vulnerable moments, and this is Karl’s.
Bad Blood – The Damned Things
This is one of Aphrodite’s songs: sexy and aggressive as all hell. This belongs to a specific scene, where she and Deimos corrupt (and kill) a young girl who’s after sneaking into the nightclub and is hanging out with friends.
After the second chorus, the song becomes really dark and sexy. Think of it in a 90s vampire film and tell me it doesn’t work. (The girl has a pretty vicious death-scene and this is a perfect fit.)
You’ve Seen The Butcher – Deftones
Okay, this is another Aphrodite song: the lady has some really good musical taste, doesn’t she? And this is her grand entrance, her big present-day reveal.
Picture her in your head. Now put yourself in a nightclub, as she “slowly enters.” All eyes rise to meet her (even your gay POV characters are drawn to her.) In slow motion.
There are so many songs that work for this scene that it took a very long time to pick the right song for the soundtrack: they were all sexy as hell, just like Aphrodite. But visualising her entrance to this song really brought her home as the sexy villain that this book deserves.
The Hunger – The Distillers
Another sexy song that turns dark and rocky, and as far as character-moments go, this is Unity’s. She’s punk-as-fuck with her superhero powers and her dead twin brother.
In Brody Dalle’s voice, this is Unity’s moment of plaintive morning. But it’s not a sad song; it’s angry. And that’s what she needs.
Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here – Enter Shikari
The characters of Godhead don’t really get on well with each other to begin with. And this is part of it, if just by title.
Ashes To Ashes – Faith No More
Serving the sexy again, one of my favourite Faith No More songs (and there are so many of them.) This isn’t really a song for a character so much as a place: Olympus itself, a city that (like the song) is both beautiful and yet dark and threatening underneath, spreading its arms to the ocean.
And ultimately dead. Ashes…get it?
The Phoenix – Fall Out Boy
There are a lot of songs about burning in this playlist. This is the one about rising from the ashes.
Putting on her war-paint, coming back from the dead to kick Aphrodite’s ass. More orchestration, each beat of the drums landing another punch to Aphrodite’s face.
Yeah, that’s how this plays out.
The Reflecting God – Marilyn Manson
Godhead has been in my head for many, many (many) years, and this was always a part of it.
I went to god just to see, and I was looking at me,
Saw heaven and hell were lies.
When I’m god everyone dies.
Put this at the end of the book: Hannah smashes Lawson’s head in with eachbeat over the chorus. Then things go slow, she bends down to eat from the tree.
Her eyes glow white as the “when I’m god” line plays, and we cut to…
The Beginning Of The End (Ladytron Remix) – Nine Inch Nails
Playing over the final credit. Get jazzed up for the sequel while you’re leaving the cinema.
Yes, I know the sequel is still not out yet. It’s because of the whole getting distracted by a brain tumour thing. It’s allowed, and if I keep up with the energy and speed I’ve had finishing it up this week, it’ll be out next week.
Magdalena – A Perfect Circle
Let’s talk Underworld because this is sort of an homage to it. Yeah, the vampires-versus-werewolves film with Kate Beckinsale.
I liked A Perfect Circle before this film. But this film used one of their songs to weirdly amazing sexy results as one of the characters transitioned into a werewolf in the back of a cop car.
This is a sexy-Aphrodite song again. She’s a fierce bitch, deserves her own soundtrack (maybe she has one, I’m just not sharing it. Yet.)
Dead Memories – Slipknot
Another song about broken people being angry at the world. This is Megan’s turn: an equally heartbroken song for her to contrast with unity and Karl’s moments. She’s just lost someone very close to her, she’s found out that she’s part of this weird world she never knew about. And she’s angry and hurt by it.
Love – The Smashing Pumpkins
This is set in stone. This has its own scene in the book, and was part of me writing it. This can never change (unless I’m presented with a good alternative.)
This is the song that plays as Aphrodite approaches Lawson at a backyard pool. The scene is lit from below, she wears a robe that’s too small for her. And yeah, she’s about to seduce him, to use sex to get exactly what she wants from him.
She’s also the goddess of love. She doesn’t have to try particularly hard.
Pure strip-club song, I know. That works for me though.
The Earth Will Shake – Thrice
This is just a tease. Something that suggests what’s beneath Olympus. This is the important shit that plays into The Hades Contract and is only hinted at in Godhead.
I Feed You My Love – Margaret Berger
This song both does and doesn’t belong. It was an entry in the Eurovision long after I published the book, but it’s sort of Aphrodite’s theme song, something that can play over every single scene she’s in (maybe she carries it around with her on the beat-box.)
It’s also about the Essence, perhaps a softer alternate to the Manson song that plays as Hannah becomes a goddess.
And that’s it. I’ll do this again for The Hades Contract and it won’t be a few years after publishing.
Also published on Medium.