We each have a favourite song, right? For musicians, it sometimes goes even further - it might be a song they wish they'd written themselves and could claim as their own.

Hot on the heels of his band's brand new long-player, You Know Who You Are, we got inquisitive with Nada Surf's Matthew Caws and asked him to tell us about the one song by another act which he would love to have written himself.

Hello Matthew. As you did such a great cover of Kate Bush's 'Love and Anger' a few years ago, I was half-expecting you to pick that as your response to our feature topic but you've actually gone for a Teenage Fanclub track, 'It's All In My Mind'.

Well, it's definitely one of them, among hundreds and hundreds, which I'm sure is really thousands and thousands. I definitely wouldn't be able to pick one. When I got your question, this is the one that came to mind, but I'd like to say that one of the things that really appeals to me about pop songs is how even though a lot of them are of a similar template, they all - the good ones at least - feel like their own worlds. So, if on a particular day I was feeling like this Teenage Fanclub song was a song I wish I'd written, maybe it also was the one I wish I'd written.

What is it about 'It's All In My Mind' that you love?

So often it's hard to put something like that into words. The main thing is that the melody has real magic to it. The first nine syllables are the same note and yet it's deeply melodic from the very beginning. On a related note, I've sometimes wondered if waiting a while for the first melodic change is the secret to a certain breed of catchiness. 'Jingle Bells' holds on for seven syllables. While sometimes I am looking to be stimulated by a song's energy or wild exploration, some other times I'm really looking to be hypnotised. I sometimes want a song to go to a place right away and stay there, no matter what that vibe is. Two that come to mind right away are Neil Young's 'Cortez The Killer' and The Beatles' 'Julia'.

'It's All In My Mind' enters with a perfect sound, gentle and insistent, and never lets up. I have a new record out and I am starting to read some reviews - there are, of course, some interpretations of lyrics and, of course, some of them are a little bit or a lot off. I don't want to presume to know what 'It's All In My Mind' is about, but while I don't get a specific meaning from it I do get a specific feeling. Not that I could explain it! I really like not understanding a song on some level. It lets my mind wander and fill in the blanks. While it's not the case here, I also enjoy songs where I can hardly understand what the singer is saying, especially if the few words I can make out are good. Then my subconscious assumes that I love the whole song and that it's speaking directly to me.

The lyrics are enigmatic and perfect, the title refrain is unimpeachable: it is all in our minds. English has some really wonderful sounds to sing. The last word of every line in this song sings beautifully: human, solutions, mind, emotion, ocean, illusion, deceive, fast, believe.

Do you remember when you first heard 'It's All In My Mind' and what your first impressions of it were?

I was at home, had just bought the album and loved it right away.

How does the rest of Man-Made, the album from which 'It's All In My Mind' is lifted, compare to this song for you?

I have a confession to make here and if any of the Fannies are reading this I hope they understand: I have never really listened to the rest of the album. I will one day, as I know that based on this song alone, the record will never leave my collection, not that any of their records would, as they are a band very close to my heart (I'm not a list-maker, but Songs From Northern Britain is in my top five albums of all time). This has happened with a few records for me: I love one song so much that it becomes a black hole of attention. I'll play it over and over until I'm satisfied and then will turn off the stereo and do something else.

But it's fair to say that you tend to like most of Teenage Fanclub's music...

I love every song I've ever heard by them. There are a few stand-outs though: 'Everything Flows', 'Star Sign', 'Can't Feel My Soul Without You', 'I Need Direction' and the one we're talking about!

Have you ever covered 'It's All In My Mind': (i) on your own in the shower; (ii) live during a Nada Surf show; (iii) on record; or (iv) all of the above?

I've never covered it. I'm sometimes tempted to cover something because I feel like I can bring something to it that it doesn't have, for better or for worse [laughs]. But Teenage Fanclub songs are always delivered in a measured and really... what's the word - living way. They sound like definitive versions.

What is your favourite lyric in the song?

Is there a bit of arrangement or instrumentation in the song that you particularly like?

My favorite detail in the arrangement makes me want to tell a story first, about the Feelies, a band I love. I'd seen them a number of times ages ago and then again much more recently. I hadn't seen them in years and was very excited. First song: wow, great. The flipping Feelies! Hey, not quite as rocking as I remember... but great! Second song, man, the Feelies! So glad I came. So good. Third song, man, this is so great, so rocking, so beautiful. Fourth song, man, it's so strong, loud, solid. This is so good. The fifth song starts, sounds amazing. By now I've totally forgotten that I thought it was a little quiet at first. The thing I hadn't noticed, the trick I'd seen before but had totally forgotten about, was that their drummer, Stan Demeski, often starts shows with his snare off, so that it sounds like a shallow tom, like a timbale. Part of the way through the fifth song, let's say at the second chorus, without making a big deal out of it, he turns the snare on. Just that small change made it feel like roof had blown right off the place.

Similarly, the snare in 'It's All In My Mind' only appearing at the top of the third verse is an incredibly effective trick. It gives a big boost of energy without really changing very much at all.

Would you say that any of your own writing has in any way ever been influenced by this song or Teenage Fanclub's work in general?

It's definitely been influenced by their work in general. While on the one hand I try to avoid being influenced by anything - not out of pride but because I've noticed that I'm more easily creative if I'm totally in my own world - in the case of the Fanclub, I've had some of their melodies on loop in my mind for so long that I'm sure influence has been unavoidable.

Finally, which song from You Know Who You Are or any of your other albums would you be interested in hearing Teenage Fanclub cover, in turn?

What a delight that would be! Hmm.... there's actually a b-side called 'End Credits' from the Let Go era that I can really safely say is influenced by the Fannies. They'd sound great doing it. That and 'Beautiful Beat'!

You Know Who You Are is out now on City Slang. Nada Surf play London's Electric Ballroom on 11 April.