Monika Brodka's first English-language album, Clashes, is one of Summer 2016's must-listen-to records and a significant portion of its varied compositions was inspired by the Polish singer-songwriter's love of film.

The 405 asked Brodka to pick five films for which she has a soft spot and/or that had a role in (or indeed influence on) the songwriting process for Clashes. These were her top picks.


Bells From The Deep

MB: One of the initial ideas I had for the album was to use church organs, it was a big inspiration for me. I remember, as a child, going to church and listening to the music during mass. So when I started to develop this idea and think about it in more detail, somebody showed me this movie and it was an inspiration for the album. It was interesting to see all the mystical and symbolic aspects of the movie. Also, one of my favourite moments is when the older guy plays the bells in Siberia - he makes a contraption from bells and plays this piece on the bells. For a very long time I wanted to use that piece as the intro for my album but because of [copy]rights, I couldn't do it. When I was imagining the intro for my album, I was imagining the bells from the deep. So this movie is very important for me.

The 405: Would you say that any track on the album was particularly influenced by this film?

MB: Yes, 'Kyrie' was. It's a small piece that doesn't actually have any lyrics but it has some vocals and instruments and I wanted to somehow build the image of singing in the church and translate the music from the mass into something more modern, less religious - I wanted to build something with mystery, something of a mystical vibe.


Holy Mountain

MB: I think it is the biggest visual masterpiece that was ever made. You can see its influence everywhere, from the fashion - the costumes - to the cinematography. It's full of symbolism and inspiration. It's easier for me to remember images from this movie more than what it is about. The visuals are so strong. I love the outfits, the freakiness of it.

The 405: Have you ever had the opportunity to watch it in a cinema?

MB: No, I've only ever watched it at home. Unfortunately - because I think that on the big screen it would be even stronger.

The 405: Can you think of a specific scene that has stayed with you more than any others?

MB: The orgasm machine has stayed with me [laughs]. But there are so many moments that it's difficult to pick one.


Synecdoche, New York

MB: The script and the idea sound so crazy that you would think this movie could never be made - the whole concept and the metaphors are very strange. If I were a producer I think I would have said no, sorry, I cannot help you with this movie because it's impossible to make, it's very labyrinthine. That's why I was surprised that [Charlie Kaufman] managed to make it happen and so well. It's super-interesting and very smart.

The 405: Favourite scene?

MB: The burning house scene. Everything burning constantly. Super-abstract. And I also loved the final scene of the movie. But the whole thing is great - I felt like it was such a unique piece.


Trouble Every Day

MB: First of all, Vincent Gallo is in this movie and every movie that Vincent Gallo is in is very precious to me - I am obsessed with him [laughs]. The movie was an inspiration for some of the lyrics in one of my songs - it's a film about sexual cannibals. A lot of it was shot from behind so you get people's necks and there's this impression of someone following you all the time. It shows the body, the skin, in a very special way - you feel the tension. The subject matter is pretty intense and it inspired me, lyrically, to talk about desire on the song 'Haiti'. I've watched this movie about three times and somehow it just doesn't get old for me.


Me and You and Everyone We Know

MB: I really like Miranda July. I feel very connected with the idea of doing everything yourself and she succeeded in making the movie as writer, director and main character - it was very well crafted and is very entertaining. I feel that by watching this movie it has taught me a lot about her. What she is like, what she likes, what she thinks about different aspects of life and what her world is like.


Clashes is out now on Play It Again Sam..