Having turned his back on adult fiction and recently published a novel for children, acclaimed author Michael Faber is currently writing a book about music – specifically those forms which he says are “ignored, despised or mocked” and which are considered “beneath contempt or laughable” by critics, gatekeepers and cultural tastemakers.

Among the sub-genres he has been studying is the most violent and misogynist fringe of the Death Metal scene, an already extreme genre of heavy metal music typified by bands with names such as Necrophagia and Autopsy. At the other end of the scale he has been digging deep into the world of Christian Rock and sampling Schlager, a form of European pop typified by catchy tunes and sentimental lyrics. It’s the sort of thing you might have heard booming out of a sound system at a German beer festival.

“Schlager is the popular music of Europe,” Faber says. “Tens of millions of people love it. Most people I mention it to don’t even know the word.”

Faber has been travelling back in time, too.

“I’m also looking at Lesbian Feminist music of the 1970s,” he says. “It’s an extraordinary scene. There was this whole Lesbian Feminist Separatist music scene which was a very big ecosystem and nowadays it’s as if it never happened because the people who write about music, the people who have a voice to reflect on what was important about the 1970s and 1980s, will not focus on that stuff.”

For Faber, author of cult novels such as Under The Skin and The Crimson Petal And The White, the book is a labour of love many years in the making.

“I’ve wanted to write it all my life. When I was 16-years-old I was cutting things out of the NME thinking ‘This will be good for the book, this particular quote really will elucidate that issue’.

“I’m not discussing any cool or trendy music and I’m certainly not trying to do what most writers of music books do which is convince you how great my taste is and how much better a person you would be if you checked out all the albums I think are magnificent.”

Among the other forms he has been studying is music which is used as therapy for people recovering from brain injuries, New Age music and music aimed specifically at children.

“One of the interesting things about these genres is that often if you mention them to a hipster they will physically recoil. It’s as if you’ve poked them with a sharp stick”.

Not that Faber is recoiling. Quite the opposite in fact. His favourite song at the moment is Awake My Soul by Christian group Hillsong Worship, whose most popular song has racked up nearly 90 million plays on Spotify.

“I just love it,” he says. “I love it as much as I’ve loved anything. I’m not religious but that’s part of the poignancy for me. These people are pouring their heart and soul into this thing that I feel alienated from”.

See tomorrow's Herald Magazine for an interview with Michel Faber about writing, grieving and his new book for children, D: A Tale Of Two Worlds