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The Guide chats to Retrospective Soundtrack Players

Published: 16 Nov 2012 07:300 comments

If you were going to get a band together to write a soundtrack to a novel (say), Catcher In The Rye would be a pretty impressive choice.

NOVEL IDEA: The Retrospective Soundtrack Players

J D Salinger's American classic - chronicling in witty, sarky and honest first-person style the trials and tribulations of teenage protagonist Holden Caulfield - has a very special place in the literary hearts of many. So it's no wonder that The Retrospective Soundtrack Players' (TRSP) frontman, Kyle Evans, set his sights on it for a musical treatment.

TRSP's album, Catcher In The Rye (following 2011's debut, a soundtrack to Paul Newman film Cool Hand Luke), is an energetic blend of folk, pop and punk, with Kyle's lyrics - on songs including Smart Girls For Talking, Morons For Dancing, Where Do The Ducks Go In Winter and Pencey Prep - every inch as heart-on-sleeve and packed full of quotes from the novel as you could hope. So it's no wonder that The Guide was keen to catch up with Kyle to find out more about TRSP's unique approach to songwriting.

"I started [the idea of writing soundtracks] when the Dawn Chorus [who broke up earlier this year] was still going, but one of the guys was in China and one of the guys had moved away so it was a bit quiet on that front and a guy I know who works in a studio wanted me to do a solo album.

"I had a couple of songs I'd written based on my favourite film, Cool Hand Luke, and I thought that was a bit weird - having one song about your favourite film is okay but two is a bit weird. So I thought, why not take it the other way and write a whole bunch of songs about it?" The six-piece band wrote their first album, Cool Hand Luke, in week, and then Kyle set his sights on a subject for their second record.

"I think I was about 16 when I first read Catcher In The Rye and I have gone back to it every few years since," Kyle told The Guide. "Lots of people say it's just sort of adolescent, but I always get something out of it. Even when I was reading it when I was quite young, you have to take Holden with a pinch of salt, certainly. I do like him, I think for his faults he's completely genuine, obviously he's not 'phony' in any way. He's himself if nothing else."

Tackling a book like Catcher In The Rye, one with so many fans, has got to be a little risky, and Kyle admitted he had thought long and hard about whether to write the soundtrack.

"I was slightly nervous because I like the fact that there's not a film or anything, so I was slightly unsure about doing it. I did take a great deal of time deliberating over it.

"With Cool Hand Luke [which is based in a prison] I wanted it to sound like the kind of thing the guys on the chain gang would knock up in the courtyard. At first for Catcher... I thought about rock and roll, a 60s sound, but then I thought, that's not quite right. It couldn't be a period piece because it would have to be jazz and that wouldn't really work, so I thought of Holden's attitude and what sort of thing might he use to vent his frustrations if he were around now, and that's what came out."

TRSP play with Bear & The Woods at Ben Marwood's headline show at Rising Sun Arts Centre tomorrow (Saturday). Entry is £5 on the door, from 8pm.

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