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JanuaryVictim New interview #1
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IAMX Enraptures L.A.

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IAMX just wrapped up a small U.S. tour in support of the long-awaited American release of their albums Kiss + Swallow and The Alternative. One pit stop included the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles where fans were enraptured by the theatrical antics and immense stage presence of top hat-wearing lead singer Chris Corner and his band. The set opened up with the fierce triple threat of ďYour Joy is My Low,Ē powerhouse anthem ďThe AlternativeĒ and ďSailor.Ē The three songs were seamlessly blended together, giving the band no breathing time. The near 90-minute set was flawless and Corner was in prime form, prancing and gyrating the entire set, at times seeming almost animated like a stringless marionette, moving in sync with every beat and sound effect. The band was just as fluid and animated as he was, all decked up in color costumes that would make David Bowie proud. For the lucky fans who stuck around after the final encore, Corner reemerged to do a special acoustic set, where he displayed his beautiful guitar playing abilities and serenaded the crowd with ďMissileĒ and ďMercy.Ē Before the show, we were able to sit down with the fashion chameleon mastermind himself (who was shockingly out of costume) and discuss the tour, the next IAMX album and the current state of the music industry.

(Pictured from left to right: Chris Corner, Gil Macias)

PLAYBOY: Where did the name IAMX come from?
CORNER: Coming up with a name, which is the first thing people hear when they hear about you, is quite daunting. So I wanted something quite simple and quite grand. It has a connection with my past, with my old band. We had a record called Becoming X. To me, it was like a comforting statement on growing up, becoming a solo artist, and being quite aggressive about it, basically. Itís something very simple, it sounds pretty lazy. A name is just a fucking name in the end. It just becomes a part of you and you forget that you ever even chose it.


PLAYBOY: The Chris Corner we saw onstage with Sneaker Pimps is a lot different from the Chris Corner we see with IAMX. Thereís a very David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust thing going on. Do you consider yourself ďin characterĒ while youíre onstage?
CORNER: I thought at one point that thatís what it was becoming, but it really isnít. The theater of itóthe dressing up, the make-up, the build up of itóis necessary. Itís a way of having something very pure, and almost ridiculous to break down and destroy onstage, and to reveal the heart of the beast. To me, getting onstage dressed up is much more powerful than getting onstage with a t-shirt, because I have something to tear apartóitís almost like tearing myself apart and itís very real. I think itís probably the most real I feel in my life.


PLAYBOY: How do you come up with your costumes and make-up design?
CORNER: Itís very spontaneous, very trashy and almost cantankerous. Itís something that we do before the show. We have a palette of nonsense that weíll get out, then weíll just fuck it up, cut it upóand then cut and paste. It really depends on the mood of the evening. It has to be cheap and it has to be something that can withstand the abuse that it gets onstage. It canít be a million dollar Dior suit, that just wouldnít work, it wouldnít make any sense. It has to be something you get from a thrift store that you can take and kind of fuck up.


PLAYBOY: A while back you did a fantastic cover of Duran Duranís ďThe Chauffeur.Ē During a show in Tokyo in 2003, Simon LeBon joined you onstage for a live performance. What was that like for you, and how did that come about?
CORNER: That was a really poignant moment for me. I almost feel kind of blubbery when I think of it. Itís not that he was my biggest idol or anything. I was a kid when all that was happening and my sister absolutely adored them and the only song for me that really transcended the commercialism was ďThe Chauffeur.Ē I was asked to do this project in Tokyo with a person I was working with and he asked me to do a cover, so I chose ďThe Chauffeur.Ē The company that I was working for was half owned by Simon LeBon. I did this show, where I was to perform that with some of my own songs, and he had heard the cover and he loved it and on the day of the show, he just came into the studio and by surprise said, ďI really like the cover. Can I do backing vocals?Ē And I was like, ďWell, I dunno, dependsóyou have to impress me.Ē [laughs] Itís like, Yes, yes Simon, please, please! He just walked on and he did it, and it was just a really heartwarming experience for me.


PLAYBOY: Aside from LeBon, has a musician that youíre a big fan of ever approached you and told you they are a big fan of your work?
CORNER: Actually, I have a few times recently, yeah. I donít know why. I had Brett Anderson from Suede, who I was quite a fan of. He came up and gushed over one of my shows, which was a bit strange. And Gary Numan, who I was a big fan of when I was a kid. We just played with him in London and supported him. He became such a big fan that he did this remix for free and he said, ďPlease come and support.Ē I take all that stuff with a pinch of salt--itís not something that I let go to my head and itís not something that I think is empowering. Itís just quite amazing that I grew up with these people and they like what I do. So Gary Numan was a high point.


PLAYBOY: Whatís the next IAMX record like? In the liner notes of Kiss + Swallow, you wrote that it was inspired by ďcircuitry, sex and suzy.Ē The second album was inspired by ďBerlin, rapture and insomnia.Ē So what new ingredients inspire the next album?
CORNER: Hmm. I donít know. [pauses] Therapy, humanity, politics. [laughs] That sounds cheesy. I would say it would be more of an expansive record. I think the lyrical content is shifting into an observational perspective rather than an introspective point of view. Iíve spent a lot of time dealing with sex and dealing with my demons. Iím dealing with my demons in another way now and I figure with music I need to take a step back and look at what the world means to me, and what people mean to me. I think it is going to be more of a human record and more of a social recordóa lyrically social record.


PLAYBOY: What do you like doing in your spare time when youíre not making music?
CORNER: Ooooo. [pauses] I love films very much. I love philosophy. I meditate. I think my new addiction is therapy, which is a bit personal. Yea, Iím getting off on that. And gardening is great. [laughs] How old am I? Am I fucking 90 years old? No, I think itís all connected with some kind of calm. Iím searching for some calm in all this. And I take calm from the balance that I have in the fact that Iím not getting fucked up anymore. Iím not addicted to hedonism anymore. So I have these two extremes which really balance me and actually fulfill the bigger picture for me. I have the stage, and I have the calm in my life. And there is this in between, this sort of twilight between the both of them which is a bit unnerving. Itís trying to explain my existence, but Iím going to be frightened with that for a long time so Iím going to have to get used to that. I think the art, the creativity, and all the creating I do helps.


PLAYBOY: The internet has had a major impact on music, and places like MySpace give you the opportunity to be in touch with fans which you seemed to have embraced. You do blogs quite often. Is it gratifying for you and do you like being that close with your fans?
CORNER: Itís really empowering and inspiring because I can present what I am trying to say. The traditional music industry machine, which is antiquated and disgusting in my opinion, is really the opposite. It sucks creativity; it drags it out and slows it down. Thereís a real speed to the Internet that you can first put ideas down, you can put sketches down, you can interact socially, you can give a broader picture of what the project is about. And you have to be careful to filter the stuff, otherwise a lot of shit can come out and you can make mistakes very quickly. So you have to be smart about not making mistakes. I think it just speeds you up. For me, the internet has kept me up to speed. It means that I have to catch up with the brains of today. That for me is a challenge and I find it inspiring. I also find it fun that I can get closer to people, and also get some feedback on how people are in the world. I see people writing stuff and I think, Wow thatís amazing. People responding to blogs is a very quick way of seeing the demographic of your fanbase. Seeing where they are. And Iím really surprised at the level of intelligence of my fanbase, itís amazing. Thank God. [laughs]


PLAYBOY: Youíre a self-produced artist and youíve mentioned your distaste for the current music industry machine. How do you feel about the latest trend where bands, who are fully capable of producing their own music, hire the big A-list producer?
CORNER: I find it extremely lazy and unimaginative, but very representative of the quick fix, society, business and the commercial world. That seems to be the way things function. If you give enough rope, people will hang themselves. We dig our own graves and thatís the way itís going with that business. On the Internet, there is so much interesting cult and independent music that will come out of the ashes of that burning system. Iím convinced art will prevailóI think it always will. It will transcend the shit. Even though shit might be in power [laughs], it doesnít mean there isnít great stuff out there. The only problem is that people have to look for it. Youíre not fed it. The masses are force-fed crap, like theyíre force-fed fast food. You have to think harder and you have to break out of that mold. Itís tragic, but thatís the way the world is. I donít if there ever was ever a time when commercial music was as good as cult music. I donít know if that ever existed. Music has always been shit on the commercial level.


PLAYBOY: Youíve currently based in Berlin, and youíve toured extensively there, the U.K., and now the U.S. Is the audience response and energy here the same as it is back home?
CORNER: Itís very different. This trip has really solidified it for me. I tour a lot. Iíve seen lots of different places and energies and you feel the audiences. But it also depends on where you are personally and what youíre giving. But, I do think while coming back to the States this time, Iíve really had an epiphany about the insane energy these people were giving at the shows. If youíre performing in Europe, itís great but there is certain jadedness and a reserve, which is nice too, but I was so blown away by the response when I came here. The first night we played in Boston, it was a hundred people or something, but they were fucking insane and I loved it. I have to say itís a goose-pimple world for me. New York was the same and I have a good feeling about tonight as well.


PLAYBOY: How long do you see yourself making music?
CORNER: If youíre an intensely creative person, it lives with you the rest of your life. I donít think you can switch it off. It might change, it might develop in different ways. It might get slower, it might get faster. I think making music in particular, itís what I know, itís what I can do. Itís the quickest way that I can get what I want to express out. I think it will stay with me until Iím in the grave. I would like to be touring when Iím 60, sure. Why the hell not?

Posted on: 2008/9/20 23:02


Darkestar Re: New interview #2
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That was awesome...thanks for sharing. Best part of the article for me:

"I would like to be touring when Iím 60, sure. Why the hell not?"

Yes please Chris, don't EVER stop making beautiful, creative and amazing music!!

Posted on: 2008/9/21 8:43


Marac Re: New interview #3
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LOL, they look like boyfriends in that picture! >:D

Posted on: 2008/9/21 9:59


TheIrishAlternative Re: New interview #4
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Fantastic interview! Thanks for posting.

Posted on: 2008/9/21 12:52
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RachelInDisguise Re: New interview #5
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Haha, I can't imagine Chris gardening!
Thank you for posting, great interview!

Posted on: 2008/9/21 13:27
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JanuaryVictim Re: New interview #6
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Quote:

Marac wrote:
LOL, they look like boyfriends in that picture! >:D


It's only one you said that that I realised that it kind of does look like that in the picture...

I thought this was quite a good interview...With more original questions than usual (It's interesting to hear Chris' own views on his make up and costumes.) But it's funny how certain themes always recur in interviews with Mr. Corner. It seems that the interviewers always ask questions relating to residence in Berlin. I liked how this interview steered clear of that clichť.

Posted on: 2008/9/21 13:27


CrazyaboutX Re: New interview #7
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Thanks JanuaryVictim - good stuff, as always
It is great that he said something more about new album. I'm so impatient to finally hear it.
And also can't imagine Chris gardening Does he have any garden in Berlin?? Funny... Chris with rakes on his knees humming Mercy....

Posted on: 2008/9/21 15:35
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JanuaryVictim Re: New interview #8
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^
Interesting image crazyaboutX.. I wonder if Chris does sing his own songs in his everyday life...


Posted on: 2008/9/21 15:55


Gaz Re: New interview #9
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Quote:

Marac wrote:
LOL, they look like boyfriends in that picture! >:D


Ha! Yes they do.

Very much enjoyed reading that. Thanks a bunch for sharing ;)

Posted on: 2008/9/21 18:23
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CrazyaboutX Re: New interview #10
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I think that his everyday life is IAMX life. I can't imagine that he has any spare time - touring, giging, writing lyrics, making music. And of course gardening. It is whole his life

Posted on: 2008/9/21 21:37
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