How To Draw a Bunny: A Ray Johnson Portrait

This is a documentary that investigates the interesting life of the artist Ray Johnson. When we first started working on the artwork for Modern English Decoration we took a lot of inspiration from his work. I guess his style was born out of Dadaism and he is also seen as the godfather of mail art in which small-scale works were sent through the American postal service. This is a really beautiful idea. A lot of his work looks like what we want our music to sound like. It is schizophrenic in the way he puts things together, it looks so free and random but also so considered at the same time.

The Lobster

We were huge fans of the film Dogtooth which was made by Yorgos Lanthimos. He has such a particular style in that there is an underlying darkness and surrealism to his work, yet there is something so normal and real about how it comes across.

With The Lobster, the premise is that everyone has to find a life partner in a specified amount of days or they turn into an animal. Though this premise is ridiculous, your smacked in the face with it early on, and from there on it is hauntingly real. The Lobster came out whilst we were writing the record and though we didn't like it as much as Dogtooth it was so nice to see a continuation of style. There's many films we like but we often like them in isolation. It was nice to confirm our love of a style. This was his first attempt at an English-speaking film and it had a great British casting.

The Arbor

This was one of the most interesting documentaries I saw last year. It is the story of a young playwright from the north of England who killed herself, abandoning her children. The story is told from the point of view of her children, their narrations go hand in hand with actors lip-synching in real time which gives this really weird, dark feeling to the whole thing. What's more is that a lot of the recreations are shot in the middle of the estate with real people watching in real time, a form of theatre. Just one of the most original things I've seen. It will no doubt be copied and pastiched with the law of diminishing returns kicking in soon.

12 Angry Men

Amazing film, and one of the few films we watched as a group in our living room when we were making the record. It follows a jury working out whether someone is guilty, the whole film is shot in that very room, but that is a credit to the script and dialogue. It's so good it feels that every side of humanity is in that room. We should really watch more films in that living room we do after all have a projector that we use for live shows.

Breadcrumb Trail

This is a documentary about the band Slint made by Lance Bangs (who also made a great Pavement one). Over the years we had tried Slint and it had never made sense. Around the time we finished making our record something suddenly clicked with that band and we fell in love with the album Spiderland. Though I can't say it influenced anything on our record, the fact that Spiderland made so much sense at that time maybe means something that we can't articulate. I'm sure it will influence us in some sort of way in the future. This documentary comes with the deluxe version of the vinyl, we recommend that package.


Ulrika Spacek's new album, Modern English Decoration, is out on June 2nd via Tough Love. Watch the video for 'Full of Men' below.