Interview: Damon McMahon of Amen Dunes | Summary and Q&A

March 29, 2018
Better Than Food
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Interview: Damon McMahon of Amen Dunes


Damon McMahon, musician behind Amon Dunes, discusses his love for books and how they have influenced his music.

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Key Insights

  • 🤑 Damon McMahon's favorite bookstore in New York is The Strand, known for its large collection of used books and rich tradition.
  • ✍️ Hemingway's elegant writing style had a significant impact on McMahon during his high school years, inspiring his appreciation for clean writing.
  • 🎼 McMahon finds writing music more natural and effortless than writing literature, which influenced his decision to pursue music.
  • 💭 His lyrics are abstract and poetic, reflecting his process of following the melody and capturing thoughts that come to him naturally.
  • 🗯️ McMahon believes that depressing literature, when done right, should have an element of uplift or objectivity to be artful and pleasing.
  • ✍️ He finds authors like Charles Bukowski, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, and Paul Beatty impactful and profound in their writing.
  • 😂 The emotions triggered by reading certain books, such as "Jacob's Room" and "The Sound and the Fury," have moved him to tears.


some reason when I was like doing a lot of drugs I really liked Emily Dickinson interesting yeah Connor a fan of the show sent me the new Amon Dunes single Miki Dora from the new album freedom being released on March 30th I've been a fan of Amon Dunes for years through donkey Joe and love are some of my favorite albums this was my soundtrack this w... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Do you have a favorite bookstore in New York?

McMahon's favorite bookstore is The Strand, a New York staple with a rich tradition. He appreciates its down-to-earth atmosphere and the vast collection it offers.

Q: What was your favorite book as a child?

McMahon didn't have a favorite book as a child until he read Hemingway's works in high school. He appreciated the elegance and clean writing style, which was a refreshing change from the awkward and clunky styles of other books.

Q: Why did you choose to write music instead of literature?

McMahon chose to write music because it came naturally to him, whereas writing literature did not. He didn't have the ambition to be a novelist and found music to be more effortless for him.

Q: How do you write your music and lyrics?

For McMahon, writing music is a natural process. He feels a certain energy come over him, plays chords that feel good, and sings a melody that comes preformed. The lyrics follow the sounds of the melody, and he writes down words that match the sounds.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Damon McMahon, the musician behind Amon Dunes, shares his love for books and his preference for them over music.

  • He describes his favorite bookstore, The Strand, as a New York staple with a rich tradition.

  • McMahon reveals his favorite books as a child, including Hemingway's works, which he appreciated for their elegant writing.

  • He explains how his lyrics come to him naturally, like a preformed melody, and how he captures his thoughts in abstracted and poetic lyrics.

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