I spoke with Jamie Stewart from Xiu Xiu about a whole bunch of interesting topics, he is definitely an interesting chap. I hope to have a couple of bourbons with him one day.
CB: “Always” is a little less political then your last album (Dear God I Hate Myself). This time you returned to writing from a more personal point of view. Was is it a difficult period putting it together?
JS: That is funny you should say that as i have the exact opposite perception of those records. always has only one personal song on it and the rest are about other people or about politics. Dear God, has one political song and the rest are autobiographical more or less. That is some thing that i have always appreciated about music is that it is up to the listener to get from it what they can or want to. In no way am i trying to impose my perceptions on you, it is just interesting that they are so different. but yes, the making of always was especially fretful.
CB: You worked again with Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) on your latest album. He has also mixed and produced for you in the past. Is he the George Martin of Xiu Xiu?
JS: That is an excellent summation. he certainly is as gentlemanly as Mr Martin! he is astoundingly creative and hard working. it is an incredible delight to get to work with him. He is never ever short of wonderful, expansive ideas, however agreeing to this means that xiu xiu is the Beatles.
CB: The upcoming tour with Swans is a great match. You did work with Michael Gira in the studio a few years ago. Can we expect any live collaborations?
JS: Oh it would be very very nice, but I would not want to impose.
CB: What was your experience writing “A Neo Tropical Companion”? Your poetry has been published in the past, this was your first full book though. Were you a little nervous about putting it out?
JS: Well I don’t really consider myself a writer, although maybe I should as I have another book of haikus coming out shortly, so the internal stakes are low. I love writing haikus but it is different than music. Music is (please feel free to barf now) is what my life is but haikus are an escape from that.They are mental and emotional brandy. I enjoy them so they do not put any stress upon me. if people don’t like them, then oh well. i do not feel that way about music.
CB: What drew you to the Prisoner’s Literary Project?
JS: Trying on some level to deal with life in a humane way. Sending books to prisoners really does seem like the very very least one can do to not be totally sucked into a morass of complete nihilism. the
USA has the largest prison population in the world. That is a lot of minds going fallow otherwise.
CB: Are you sometimes torn between putting a piece of writing out as a song or poem?
JS: No they are totally different processes and occupy a totally different part of my emotional/creative life. I might plunder one or the other for either medium though. Neither are safe from pirating, pirating from my fucking self!
CB: I wanted to ask about the wide variety of photos on your website. Do people randomly send you stuff on a daily basis?
JS: On a fairly daily basis. I am incredibly unsocial and email that is band related is one of the few ways that i interact with people in the outside world. This is totally pathetic on one hand and then on
the other hand it is totally exciting to have such a wide but in some ways gossamer net of conversation and in some ways totally who cares i have had 4 glasses of expensive bourbon and now I am just typing not paying any attention to what I am writing. zebra sank sup zuomomo zzzzzam zam. It is nice mostly it is nice. naked photos, photos of nature, photos of cats, photos peoples dead parents, photos of hitler gettting fucked by the weird looking lady from grimes. welcome to big school within hell/heaven/nirvana/fudge tunnels. wang.
CB: If you were only allowed to keep five records out of your collection, which ones do you think they would be?
nico marble index
morton feldman coptic light
chris watson el tren fantasma
rhys chatham two gongs
birthday party live 81-82