Friday 8 May 2015

Miaoux Miaoux interview

My aims ..... to try and write catchy songs that don't have traditional structures or do things that you're not expecting. How far can you push 'pop' song structure with it still working?

Julian Corrie (Miaoux Miaoux) 

Long term readers of this blog will know how fond I am of the artist Miaoux Miaoux, AKA Julian Corrie.

Julian produced a string of sublime self releases that led to a deal with Chemikal Underground and the 2012 release of the album Light of the North. Julian's ear for sound and melody is exceptional, his ability to create beats and layer sonic soundscapes is joyful. Oh and he has a beautiful voice as well!

This clearly evident talent has led to (increasingly) strong support of Miaoux Miaoux in Scotland from bloggers, publications like The List and The Skinny, bookers, Chemikal and fellow artists - ranging from the DIY scene up to Chvrches and Belle and Sebastian, as well as music fans of all ages and backgrounds.

A positive response to It's The Quick, the lead single from the forthcoming album School of Velocity, and also Unbeatable Slow Machine, by 6Music bodes well. This could be the album that pushes Miaoux Miaoux on to a new level and it would be richly deserved and celebrated by his loyal fanbase.

I caught up with Julian to see how he is getting on ahead of what could be an extremely busy second half of 2015.

1. Light of the North was your first album released via Chemikal Underground. What were the main differences you noticed from a self release?
Well, it was great to get a vinyl release haha! All of the physical product was much better obviously, I wasn't designing and sorting the printing out myself. They're also really supportive guys, great to phone up if you need help with something or just want to rant. As I'm basically a solo artist it helps to have that support there.

2. The album gathered some incredible reviews; 3-years since release, what are your favourite moments from the album?
I think 'Stop The Clocks' is probably my favourite moment, although I'm proud of the whole thing. But, you know, I probably haven't listened to it for three years. Once something's done, I tend to put it behind me and move on, although those tracks that I made really fast and seem to be accidentally great (my Chvrches remix for example) I can come back to. But it seems weird to listen to stuff once you've made it. Maybe I'll give it another 3 years.

Stop the Clocks

3. Since then you’ve commandeered a band for live shows- were they involved in the writing/recording? What do the band bring to the live shows?
The band make the live shows so much better. Everything is lifted, and it's great to have the dynamic between people - even though we're working with a lot of playback, there still feels like there's some flexibility. I'm not on my jimmy lonesome frantically pressing buttons. Drummer Liam recorded some drums for the album, which sound great. Writing-wise, they don't contribute, although there's always scope for that.

4. You recorded a lot of Light of the North in your own little studio that you owned at the time. Where did you write and record School of Velocity?
An even smaller studio, haha. Both were rented, actually, although the old one was in a trendy location and was getting expensive, so I moved to a rundown building north of the city centre, where my friend and collaborator James Houston was working at the time. It's great to have your own space but the move was definitely a little disruptive and contributed to the gap between records! I'll be staying there for at least another year I think.

5. Who/what influenced the sound of the album?
This is such a difficult question. I listen to a whole load of stuff, but I'd say my aims are pretty similar to Light of the North - to try and write catchy songs that don't have traditional structures or do things that you're not expecting. How far can you push 'pop' song structure with it still working? Actually I think other people do this a lot better than I do. Sound wise, I borrowed some great analogue synths from a friend at work, Michael Hines, who is forever in my debt, and that's something I ended up using a lot of.

6. Have you favoured any particular synths, effects or gadgets for School of Velocity?
I bought a Juno 106 after borrowing one for a while and that's all over the record. Also I've got a little battery powered synth that's great for spacey noises and sound effects, I have to stop myself using it too much.

7. The teaser that you have released is very impressive. Are there any songs you are particularly proud of?
I guess 'Luxury Discovery', the first song on the video, because it was written really really fast (the bassline is pretty much the first take and I could never play it better), the original demo sounded great, and then it became an absolute bitch to mix and master the final version. That's often the case if the demo is too good. Jamie Savage and I pushed through and I think it turned out really well.

School of Velocity teaser

8. You've remixed Chvrches and Belle and Sebastian (among others)- how do you tackle a remix?
Those were both very different processes - the Chvrches remix, I may have said this before, but I didn't actually listen to the original before I started. Which was a good thing, because I ended up writing very different chords to Lauren's vocal, then when I heard the original I was like 'ooh, this is weird'. And it let me put my own stamp on the song without being intimidated. The Belle and Sebastian one - they were very specifically looking for an update on an existing song. So it wasn't so much a 'remix' as a 'reproduction'. I beefed up the drums and added some arpeggiators but the song itself stayed the same.

Chvrches remix

9. The Cairn String Quartet feature on the new album - are there any other Scottish artists you would like to work with in the future?
We'll see! I enjoyed producing last years' Body Parts single, so I'm interested in doing some production work with other artists. I'm in the process of starting work with someone just now.

10. What music are you enjoying at present?
In preparation for the next album I'm listening to a lot of Afrobeat and related / influenced stuff. So Fela Kuti, Talking Heads' Remain In Light album, Floating Points - beats that trip over themselves a little, that sound like water, are fluid. I've got a strong idea about what I want the new stuff to sound like. Also revisiting Matthew Dear's output - he's an absolute genius, and one of those people who's doing what I want to do so much better!

Miaoux Miaoux play a number of shows and festivals over the summer to promote the album including Stereo on May 27th. Give him a like on Facebook to get details of all the shows planned.

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