Graphic designer Marcus Kraft collects famous song titles. His book Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow is a concise compendium of pop music wisdom. In the interview he explains why in times of troubles pop is the better pizza.
What’s on your playlist right now?
Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Wolfmother… In my spare time, I play drums in a band. I listen to tons of music. But I have never djed.
Instead, you collect song titles and pen them on A4 sheets. What was the inspiration?
I had the idea in February 2011 while on holiday in Laos. It rained all week long. I listen to music a lot, exchanging playlists with fellow backpackers. I ended up with a collection of around 500 titles. Selectively, new ones got added.
The outcome is the book Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow – pop music wisdom in compact bible format.
I opted for the bible look on purpose. The book is meant to be a reference, guide or source of inspiration. (Pauses) The perfect book for the toilet (laughs).
Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow seeks to provide comfort and solid advice in hard times through pop music. Why should pop be more effective in times of troubles and unpleasant truths than shopping or pizza?
I think advice from real people, in this case from pop musicians, can provide more comfort than consumption. Unlike materialist gratification, pop music is also easy on the purse and calories.
Ok. Now please explain to me the antidepressant powers of, say, The Bangles’ Walk Like An Egyptian (Slide your feet up the street bend your back, shift your arm then you pull it back, life’s hard you know so you strike a pose on a cadillac).
Personally, I find it’s a life-affirming song. Maybe one shouldn’t take life – or oneself – always too seriously.
How strictly do you personally follow time-honoured machoisms like Leonard Cohen’s Don’t Go Home With Your Hard On or Take Your Girlie To The Movies (If You Can’t Make Love At Home) by Dean Martin?
I just find the Leonard Cohen title very funny that’s why it’s made it into the book. Dean Martin’s piece of advice, on the other hand, would have really helped me as a teenager…
Which are your favourite three song titles from the book?
Of course the book title Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow by Frank Zappa. Break On Through To The Other Side by The Doors, Money Won’t Save You by Jimmy Cliff. I tend to prefer the older stuff, or the ones which are not so straightforward, such as Imagine.
What makes you instantly happy?
A good talk.
Three things you can’t live without?
Music, mountains or the sea. Chocolate ice-cream.
This is a bit off-topic: do you happen to have a favourite recipe you would like to share with us? Yes, I do have a real summer hit. It’s super simple: take a piece of feta cheese. Sprinkle it generously with olive oil. Add a sliced cherry tomato. Season with salt and pepper, add thyme or other herbs. Wrap in tin foil and grill for 10-20 minutes. That’s it. I’ve recently become a vegetarian, but this dish has the carnivores salivating with envy.
Exhibition view: original A4s at Sinka & Weiss Art Container, Zurich
And finally: select your fantasy DJ-set from the book
(in no particular order):
- Take It Or Leave It (The Strokes)
- Walk On The Wild Side (Lou Reed)
- Life’s What You Make It (Talk Talk)
- Imagine (John Lennon)
- Think (Aretha Franklin)
- Fight For Your Right (Beastie Boys)
- Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life (Eric Idle)
- Come As You Are (Nirvana)
Kraft & works
Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow Pop Music Wisdom, BIS publishers. Available online & offline i.e. at Waldraud, Orell Füssli (all Zurich), Do You Read Me, Berlin
Exhibition of selected prints at Sinka & Weiss Art Container, Tram Stop Hardturm, 8005 Zurich Through to Sept 14
© Play Hunter / images © Marcus Kraft