Sunday, 16 March 2008

IAMX interview

ONCE upon a time, Chris Corner was a founding member of hit 90s trip-hop band The Sneaker Pimps. Although, technically, the group are still together, Corner has found time to concentrate on his solo work. He spoke to The List, about his new project and upcoming UK tour under the name IAMX and how he is now happier alone than he ever was with the band.

"The majority of people who come and see me live now have never even heard of The Sneeker Pimps," he explains. "IAMX’s music is quite different. For a start, it's completely ‘me’ – I’m the core of the project and so as a result it’s a lot more personal. I never got that with The Sneaker Pimps. Going solo has made me more pure."

For those who have heard IAMX' music, this statement could seem contradictory. Corner's music is fast-paced and furious, pumping with raw energy and oozing with sex. "Pure" is definitely not the first adjective that springs to mind, and it comes as no surprise that Corner sees erotica as a powerful influence on his creative output.

"My songs always lead back to what I have experienced as a person and a lot of the problems and experiments that I have had have all been to do with sex," he says. "It all comes from a specific period in my life, but I suppose it boils down to my ambiguity about sex and the questions of our existence.”

As a self-described narcissistic extrovert on stage, Corner is famous for his almost schizophrenic approach to performing. These extreme extensions to his quiet and reserved off-stage persona are crafted quite deliberately.

"When I constructed IAMX I started to build up personalities and experiment with imagery – especially with how I dress up," he says.

"I don’t see myself as being a different person when I get into ‘role’. It totally depends on my mood and how people are treating me, as to how I will act towards them," he explains. "I’m a total Jekyll and Hyde, one minute shy and polite, the next aggressive, altruistic and manipulative. I guess it just makes things more exciting."

It is this chameleon-like ability to change on a whim that makes IAMX’s live shows so appealing. "I try my best to make every gig I play a fucking great experience," he says. "No matter where you are, this is my life and the crowd feed off that, and I off them. My favourite places to play are the dirty, more intimate venues, that’s why I’m looking forward to playing in Glasgow at the end of the month – King Tuts appeals to me as a person – it has more character."

As the interview draws to a close, Corner becomes philosophical. "I’m really proud of all my work and that has taken me a long time to admit,” he muses. “I don’t know where I will be in ten years time, but as long as I am still doing something I love, that is all that matters."

IAMX will be playing at King Tuts on 31st March. For more information, visit

Wildbirds And Peacedrums- Heartcore

Wildbirds & Peacedrums are a minimalist folk duo hailing from Sweden. The pair specialise in a brand of experimental folk that frankly won’t be for everyone, but is worth a listen nonetheless.

References to oceans, loneliness, and the innocence of childhood will either delight or sicken listeners whilst Mariam Wallentin's sparse, accapella vocals are, for the majority of tracks, anchored by brushed drums and hand claps - laying in wait until the right moment to break free.

Magical moments such as the furious crashing drum beats on ‘Doubt/Hope’ which are accompanied Wallentin’s deep husky voice, and ‘The Window’s’ seeming tribute to southern soul anthems are few and far between, intersected by ambient, stark tracks that leave you feeling cold and under-whelmed.

Nevertheless, ‘Heartcore’ is a smoky, smouldering album, as Andreas Werliin’s mercurial drumming, propels this experimental yet strangely beguiling racket into uncharted musical territory.

Strawberry Whiplsh- Who's In Your Dream?

Hazy, dreamlike vocals are backed by a wall of static guitars in this up-lifiting and joyous release from Glasgow’s Strawberry Whiplash. Sandra, Laz, Paul and Duncun all pay fitting tribute to 80s shoe gazer bands such as Jesus And Mary Chain and indie pop acts like St Etienne- with gorgeously fuzzy results.
It’s an EP which is easy to love with its hand claps, synths and simple harmonies all forming winding round echoing, reverberating guitars in these hip shaking gems, whilst the simple, almost childlike ‘My Day Today’ is pure pop perfection. Lovely stuff!

O! The Joy- Zen Mode

Gather round all you fans of Mars Volta and Battles for here is a band you can’t help but fall in love with. Sacremento’s, O! The Joy are spawned from the ashes of Mister Metaphor- the former project of OTJ’s drummer, Jusitin Goings, and with its intricate drumbeats, frantic guitar riffs and anguished vocals ‘Zen Mode’ is defiantly a record which is not for the feint hearted.

However, don’t let this put you off. Although the band’s debut may need several listens to get into, once you have been drawn into its spell, it’s hard to break free. The urgency experienced in tracks such as ‘Under The Radar’ and ‘There Is No Such Thing As Organised Crime’ with their sharp and precise squeals of the guitar and staccato drumming mark a stark contrast to the more laid back ‘22345’ and ‘The Man And The Secrets’ where haunting melodies are under-laid with cymbal crashes and the whip-snap of snares.

The end result is sensational. Atmospheric, raw and bursting with energy ‘Zen Mode’ explodes onto your senses and with its rich, experimental compositions, and yelping vocals from lead singer, Kurt Travis, it is an album that brings together math, post and progressive rock into one colourful and entirely new sensation.

Adam Green- Sixes And Sevens

Former Moldy Peaches member, Adam Green is renowned for the patchiness of his work and subjecting yourself to his latest album, ‘Sixes And Seven’s’ in one listen is no easy task. Lacking a unifying theme or style, the only constant is the baritone crooner act that Green has been developing since parting ways with Kimya Dawson.

Green leaps from style to style, as lead single ‘Morning After Midnight’ pays homage to Al Green before ‘Getting Led’ breaks out a dash of Leonard Cohen doing straight-up gospel.

The raucous, ‘Morning After Midnight’ is a brass-tinged stomper with female backing choir flows perfectly onto the utterly charming ‘Twee Twee Dee’ where Green’s crooner like vocals come out in full force.

Typically Green continues his show of wit and humour lyrically, "Hepatitis caught me off my guard" he sings on Broadcast Beach, another two and a half minute jingle that simply bobs along bringing nothing to the record as a whole.

However, don’t be entirely put off. Although ‘Sixes And Sevens’ might be a drawn-out mess, break it down into bite sized chunks and you suddenly have rich pickings for the perfect mix-tape. lovely stuff!