Bands & Books: Owl & Penny on Wildwood and House of Leaves

Whether you consider yourself a reader or not, our new Bands & Books posts are worth a look. The first in this series, in which bands talk about books, comes from Owl & Penny, an Arizona folk/indie band we recently interviewed (read it here).

Ryan Osterman (frontman) and Derek Marquez (bass, background vocals) share their book picks, along with some relevant music talk. It’s a great combo, what can we say?

What’s the most recent book you’ve read, and what messages from it resonated with you?

Ryan: I started reading the books that the singer of The Decemberists was writing. They’re fictional novels. I got them as a gift, and honestly, they were right up my alley. They’re about anthropomorphic animals taking on human personalities. The book is called Wildwood. Basically, this little girl gets lost in this “wildwood,” and there’s a magical barrier between it and reality. In it, there are talking animals and all kinds of cool stuff. I’ve gotten really into those books. I’ve read the first book and I’m about halfway through the second one. The series is really cool, and his wife does all the illustrations.

Derek: The most recent book I’ve read would be House of Leaves.

Ryan: Oh man. I got halfway through that, and don’t know where my copy is now, but that book is a trip and a half.

Derek: I literally couldn’t put it down. I love the originality of it.

Ryan: I love that it just jumps back and forth between so many perspectives. And it just gradually gets more bleak and twisted.

That book is perfect and just so eerie.

Derek: And the coolest thing about that book for me was, even though I went into it knowing that it was fiction, I still felt so compelled to try and look into it further when they start bringing in history…it felt so real, and the fact that it was able to immerse me like that just completely had me going.

Ryan: There’s actually a cool YouTube video of the door that they find in the house. It’s just a fanmade video, but it’s really weird. It shows the hallway and everything. They do it really well, even though it’s super low-budget, like handy-cam style. Basically what you’d imagine from the book. It actually paints a really creepy image. It was very basic and short; only a couple minutes long. Freaking trippy.

Do you guys listen to Circa Survive at all? It’s interesting once you’ve read that book and can see the connection to the lyrics.

Both: Hell yeah.

Ryan: We listened to them on the way up here. Juturna is one of my favorites of theirs. I can always come back to Circa Survive.

Derek: Juturna is easily one of my top 3 favorite albums.

But The Appendage EP is also so perfect.

Derek: I have that EP on vinyl. It’s great. We were also listening to Violent Waves on the way here. They’re playing a December show on the 28th here in LA.

Ryan: [Anthony Green‘s] new record is great. Just fantastic.

Derek: His new album is really good. Young Legs. You need to get it. It’s his best album, in my opinion. It’s the most unique, and it’s just so dynamic. He completely changed the way he went about approaching the songs. It’s completely original.

Read the main Owl & Penny interview here.

*Interviewed by Shirley Leslie

Wildwood book image – harpercollins.com

House of Leaves book image- randomhouse.com

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