domenica 27 gennaio 2013

Intervista con Jamie McDermott (The Irrepressibles)

E' veramente un disco bellissimo questo Nude, nuovo albim dei The Irrepressibles, guidati dal talento compositivo di Jamie McDermott: intento, toccante, commovente e terribilmente sincero.
Ecco la mia chiacchierata via mail con lui:

  - Hey Jamie, how's your day? I guess you have been busy recently with the disc promotion and the singing workshop. Am I wrong? I'm a bit curious about your workshop, how do you intend to manage it?

My day has just begun. There is snow outside. We finally have a winter. I love the light it creates. Yes I've been very busy travelling in Europe doing promotion for Nude. Yes singing is my passion and helping someone find their unique singing voice is incredibly rewarding. To sing is to be free.

    - After the positive reviews about the first record how did you approach to the work related to this great second one? In my opinion the second one, beside some great strings arrangements in several traces, focuses on simplicity. Despite the first record launch which was more theatrical and complex, with the second record seems you are looking for some minimalism, am I wrong?

With Nude initially I started using loop pedals to layer up polyphonic string arrangements and expand string arrangements around the intimacy of the voice and the stories I need to tell. For me the strings on the record represent the emotional landscape. The electronics I use in the album are about time and memory. For instance some tracks are set in the 80's, when I was growing up and feeling those feelings, so the sound world takes on this place and time. I also wanted to make an album that referenced other specifically gay artists like Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Erasure, Bronski Beat, KD Lang, so there is stylistic influence from them in the record.

    - The cover of your disc (captured from the video of Arrow) is representative of the whole record: two men, nude, they seem involved in a fight but at the same time they seem embracing each other, they seem contrasting and looking for each other. Looks like an inviting image for what we are going to listen in the disc.

Thank you. I feel you have encompassed the meaning of the cover very well. 

    - In your music and in your lyrics you are always authentic and you expose yourself without the need of filters. Don't you think that this transparency can surprise who listen to your records, discouraging them?

That is up to them of course. I feel that as an artist I must be honest. I think this comes from my working class upbringing in the north of England.

    - Showing the obscurity, beauty, sufferences, intensity of being homosexual, I think that you perfectly succeede in transmitting these feelings in your album. I have the impression that the record can be formative for both heterosexuals, to overstep certain stereotypes and homosexuals, to not let the emotions overwhelm. What's in your opinion?

I hope I can be part of that.  Compassion and greater understand amongst people is a very beautiful thing. Difference is incredibly important to music and art. We should express and embrace difference.

    - The ending of New World left me speechless: after a such obscure song the image coming up in my mind is a sunrise clearing up the sky with its warm beams.

That is wonderful, as that is the image I wanted to give sonically. The track starts in an emotional waste land in which a doo-wop quartet of male voices are coming across the landscape with the sounds of war. The voices represent the voices of gay men that have decided to take their own lives. They are their in support of a singular voice that is telling his friend to accept himself and come out and be free "Show me your reasons to fight, the new world tonight, and I will be here by your side, so true, because I can't see truth from my eyes they blinded me with rules from when I was a child, because all the vain ones decide, the ways in which we live our lives". At the end of the track the arrangement becomes a sunrise with the lyric "Love is freedom" expressing the transformation.

    - I appreciate when in your music you add some electronic elements, a bit of dance music,like in Tears and Ship. How did these arrangements came up in your mind?

For me it is always about what the song needs to express it's meaning. With Tears it was about setting the deep isolation against the surreal outer world. But also express the outer personally often having to be adopted by Gay men - to perform in order to be accepted versus the inner isolation in a social scenario. With Ship it is the romantic song of longing with 1950's style orchestrations set in the Disco. The dream of the one you love while your trying to get over it and dance in the club.

    - We can say your record is full of styles, arrangements, colours...etc that sometimes seem incompatible, as well as strong portraits of the current generation which face changes everyday (even tho, unlike your music, several changes never take place for real, they remain only words instead or they are fake and weak).

 Thank you. I only make music instinctively and try and make the tracks sing with their meaning.

    - Is music industry ready for such a strong approach to thematics like homosexuality? Or for this industry is better to avoid (in a sad conservative manner) homosexuality? What's your point of about this?

There are kids killing themselves after being bullied for being homosexual. In one 3rd of the world people are killed or imprisoned for being gay. Young gay people need to see strength. Gay people cannot except oppression.  There is a revolution going on right now and pop music is part of it.

    - Your shows are often pictured as rich of a visual impact, are you going to keep this style in your next tour?

The show consists of two drummers at the back of the stage fighting with choreography and rhythm - they echo and mirror. Central is the female keyboard player Sarah Kershaw on Keytar, analogue synths and tubular bells she forms a triangle with the two string players on ground level including viola voicing also violin and cellist Chloe Treacher playing cello with octave pedal to voice contra bass with loop pedal. She layers up my string arrangements with loop pedals to realise the record live. I play grand piano, acoustic and telecaster with spring reverb. They all stand amongst a landscape of fluorescent lights within a staggard projection installation onto which is projected the videos about time, memory, sexuality and the nude including the videos from Arrow and New World plus other films.

- Thank you again for your kindness. Which song from the last album would you associate to this interview?

Two Men in Love.

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