SOUL ETERNAL IS IT RIGHT TO CALL JAMIE LIDELL A ‘BRITISH’ SINGER WHEN HE NOW LIVES IN NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, THE EPICENTRE OF COUNTRY MUSIC? MAYBE. THOUGH POSITIVELY BASKING IN THE INFLUENCES OF HIS NEW HOMESTEAD, THE ELECTRONICA ICON WITH SUMPTUOUSLY SOULFUL CHOPS HASN’T LOST ANY OF THE WIT FROM ACROSS THE POND THAT ESTABLISHED HIM AS SUCH A SCINTILLATING PRESENCE IN THE DIY ELECTRO SCENE. RECENTLY SIGNING OFF ON HIS SEVENTH LP, BUILDING A BEGINNING, HE BREAKS OUT THE BUBBLY WITH US.
What does it mean to you to have another album out this long into your career? It really means that I need to keep making music for my soul’s survival. I was thinking that maybe I didn’t need to release any more music as Jamie Lidell. Working with lots of other musicians as a co-writer made me miss making my own personal work that really meant something to me. What made you want to release Building A Beginning independently? I went to various major labels and none of them seemed right. I think the state of the industry is quite bizarre, right now. Big labels are not the right fit for me. I think after 14 years on an indie label (Warp Records), I’m not ready for the major label methods. You’ve mentioned that your wife helped with writing some songs for this album. What was the experience like working with your better half? Better! Seriously, it was an absolute pleasure. I think we both complement each other in life and in art. I love the feeling of reaching for something with her. When we reach the goal, it’s that much sweeter. Who prefers a dinner for one?
You collaborated with an all-star cast of musicians on this album. How did you decide when to maintain control of your vision and when to be influenced by someone else? I think my process made that an easy thing to decide, luckily for me. I tend to make quite ‘full’ demos for most songs and rarely would I have a bunch of musicians come and track together. I tend to feel that’s the time when things can get tricky. When I work one-on-one with a musician, I feel like we either vibe and work well or we don’t. I won’t work with the ones that don’t click with me. Who, in your opinion, is the singer with the most soul? Obviously, that’s a tricky question… I’m not sure all the great singers have even been recorded – there’s probably an amazing bunch of talent we’ve never imagined. But I guess on record, I would say a great soul sound to me would be Donny Hathaway singing “A Song For You” live at the Troubadour in L.A. That one kills me! How did “We All Fall Down” with A-Trak come about? We had been talking about a collab for a while
and were both in L.A. He arranged a day or two for us to write and we did two full song demos. I wrote and recorded my lead vocal on day one and he reworked the track. It was just one of those funky days in the room when things come together. A-Trak is a lovely guy; very smart and open to ideas. Congrats on the birth of your baby boy. How has fatherhood been for you? Thank you! He’s the best boy (yes, I am biased!). I’m loving it so much. It’s terrible being away on the road, though. I miss him and my wife rotten. It definitely makes the musician’s life a little more ominous. I miss his crazy ways, sounds and smiles. Lastly, can we expect you in Asia any time soon? I really hope so! I’m very happy to have such an amazing band that’s really ready to blow minds all around the world. The band is called The Royal Pharaohs and it most certainly lives up to that name.
Text Indran P Image The Windish Agency Interview courtesy of Love Da Records