Jamie Lidell Gets Personal
It’s been a long road to this point, both personally and career-wise. At the time of this interview, Lidell had just performed on a Danish television show and was on a bus to France — where he now lives — accommodating eight other journalists along the way. "Everyone at Warp, my manager, everyone’s working their asses off to make this happen,” he says. "I feel inspired and compelled, in a good way, in a very necessary way, to join the party and give it a good shot.”
He sounds genuinely enthralled and exhausted by his rise. "This record has a chance. It’s exciting,” he enthuses. "You go out fishing, you never know what you might pull out of the ocean. It might be cod, and maybe it’s some old boot.”
At this juncture in Lidell’s life, the notion of commercial viability comes from the matured outlook of taking personal risks. In his case, he staked his personality in his music. "There’s a lot of soul-searching that went into writing this album, and I want these messages to reach people. Aside from the fact that it’s going to make it a pop record if I do that, I think just the act of trying that does take a lot of energy. You gotta put yourself on the line a bit, and that’s a personal gesture.”
On Jim, as on Multiply, Lidell puts himself on the line by placing himself squarely behind a microphone. "A lot of people just didn’t realise I had this interest in pop and singing, people who first got hold of my abstract electronic stuff and, to an extent, Super_Collider stuff. I first gravitated toward Prince. He crooned over a beatbox, and I thought that was funky.”
This time around, even the beatboxes of Multiply are gone, replace by a full band. As part of the personal gesture he often refers to, only the intimate nickname as title is left. In pop music, he concedes, there’s a danger of a personality taking over the music, and one could argue that naming a Jamie Lidell album Jim points in that direction. He sees the pitfalls of such risks, but is not about to blink now.
"I want it to be about music, I think every musician does. But I think inevitably it ends up becoming about personality, which is what gives rise to the music, so people want to make sure that they get a bit of both. The more things do well, the more people want to know why it does well.” At this rate, people will be asking Jamie Lidell a lot more questions.
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