Here’s our chat with the affable Joel Gibbs of ‘The Hidden Cameras’. Their album “Age” is now out on Evil Evil/Motor Music.
NT: Many years ago your music was described as “Gay Church Folk Music.” Where did that come from?
JG: Ya, that was a while back. I was pretty young. I think it was for one of the first shows that I ever played. It was actually printed on the back of a Church flyer. The whole thing was made up by me. It was all tongue-in-cheek.
NT: There are quite a few Canadian artists who live in Berlin. Does Germany have a penchant for Canadian art/artists?
JG: Berlin is kind of an island of it’s own — it’s sort of not Germany. I’m really attracted to the free society of it. I like to escape my culture at times. My real inspiration though definitely comes from my time in Toronto. My true inspirations are my friends and family. Germany is really a great place for me to kick back.
NT: You’ve described your latest album Age, as a deconstruction of your musical roots. Can you talk about that a bit?
JG: If you listen to the record, you will definitely have a clearer idea of what I mean by that. You will hear many influences from my adolescence.
NT: How much inspiration did Bradly Manning have on the album?
JG: It’s actually Chelsea Manning now. There was a moment when we met that I really felt a connection to her. Her story also really adds to the title of the album. The artwork of Chelsea in the album is by an artist named GB Jones. I’m really a big fan of her work; she is really a talented individual.
NT: There is a lot of honesty in your songwriting. Do you think think it’s difficult for the public to embrace such honest music?
JG: It’s the age that we are living in. There really isn’t that much authenticity these days. I really don’t understand it. Adele is example of an artist with so much authenticity. She really is one of the few artists that puts herself on the line and is really not afraid to be herself.
NT: The wonderful Mary Margaret O’ Hara sings on “Gay Goth Scene.” How did she end up working on the song?
JG: I really wanted her to channel the protagonist in that song. That song is a bit of an older one. I had her sing on a record that came out after that. It was more of a rootsy and country album than anything else. On “Gay Goth Scene,” she sings in a choirboy type of voice. It is really a polar opposite,. I think that it really kind of takes a look into my heritage.
NT: Age has already been written up as “one of the records to look out for in 2014.” Do you read stuff about yourself in the press, or do you tend to avoid it?
JG: That sounds good to me. I usually really just skim over most of the press that is written about the records I make. They usually kind of go out of one ear and out the other. I really take them all as tongue-in-cheek.
NT: Which five albums continue to inspire you?
JG: I’ll give you three.
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
Joni Mitchell – Blue
Scott Walker – Scott 4