About this project
THE FIRST TIME I HEARD is a series of music-related e-books that collect brief, conversational first-person accounts by musicians and writers about the first time they heard a specific iconic band. The first five books compile essays about the authors' first experiences with (1) David Bowie, (2) Cocteau Twins, (3) The Smiths, (4) Kate Bush, and (5) Joy Division/New Order.
The book series is edited by Scott Heim, a novelist who has written books like We Disappear and Mysterious Skin (which was made into a critically acclaimed 2005 film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Elisabeth Shue). Besides being a novelist, Heim is also a self-professed "music nerd" who has always been fascinated with how other music lovers remember their first experiences hearing the bands and artists they love. When he began THE FIRST TIME I HEARD project, he simply wrote letters and e-mails to musicians and other writers whose work he admired. The response was overwhelming; after only four months, he'd already received personal essays from nearly 200 people. Members of bands like Throwing Muses, Mercury Rev, Lamb, Electrelane, Swervedriver, Lush, Shudder To Think, The Wedding Present, Gang Gang Dance, Curve, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Slowdive, 'til tuesday, Engineers, American Analog Set, Earlimart, Stereolab, Babes In Toyland, Laika, Antony & the Johnsons, Pale Saints, Maps, Catherine Wheel, Clan of Xymox, The Teardrop Explodes, Microfilm, B-Movie, The Aluminum Group, Hood, Spiritualized, Isan, Trespassers William, Film School, Guided By Voices, and many others have already contributed, as have individual musicians like Harold Budd, Annette Peacock, Tiffany Anders, Annie Barker, and John Grant, as have several novelists, journalists, and poets.
Heim is hoping to begin a Kickstarter fund to make the final push toward publishing the first five books in this unique series. Contributions to the Kickstarter fund would facilitate the art and design for the books' covers; it would allow the final copyedits and typesetting of all the editorial materials; lastly, and most importantly, it would allow the editor to pay the contributors for their efforts in sharing their personal stories and making The First Time I Heard project an ultimate success.
Heim hopes to complete these initial five books before the beginning of summer 2012. He would like to publish the books as e-books to the various internet outlets, with hopes of attracting attention to print publishers (eventual print publication is certainly possible through smaller presses, and the editor is planning to pursue this option in addition to the e-book route). Heim's ultimate goal, if the books gather attention and possibly success, is to expand the project to a wider array of music. Other books that he foresees in the "First Time" series include The Pixies, Roxy Music, Public Enemy, Abba, Kraftwerk, REM, My Bloody Valentine, Leonard Cohen, and more.
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