Saturday, September 23, 2006

Interviews:: Jake from Scissor Sisters

We had a chance to sit down with Jake from Scissor Sisters today. With the release of their new record, Ta-Dah, and some shows across the US and UK, this disco-glam-carnival has never been hotter.

HH:: Hey Jake, how’s it going today? I know media day isn’t always fun.
Jake:: Every day is media day. Which is great.

HH:: Well if you’re happy, I’m happy. Just a little about us, we are a music review site from Vancouver, BC.
Jake: Oh cool. I grew up in North Washington. I used to look across at Victoria. So are you right in Vancouver?

HH:: Yep. In the downtown.
Jake:: Awesome. I always thought Vancouver would be a great alternative word for vagina.

HH::I’m not sure how to even react to that, but I know I can’t call my home Vancouver now without thinking of that. So that’s nice.
Jake::It’s perfect. It sounds a bit like beaver, a bit like vagina.

HH:: Ha ha. That will no be burned into my brain. But I guess I’lll start with some questions that don’t involve vagina, and go from there. Ok, well with the release of Ta-Dah, you are putting out a sophomore record with a lot of expectations. Did you guys find it hard to deal with the added pressure of showing you aren’t just a disco band that came around at the right time?
Jake:: I don’t know if the pressure came into songwriting process. Maybe it did. For sure it cock-blocked the process. It took a year to write this record, and I wasted so much time, just wringing my hands in frustration. The best stuff came when I didn’t think about anything. When I didn’t pay attention. It’s like those things you see in the mall, the painting that you stare at and eventually you see a brontosaurus. Does that make any sense? The harder I looked, the harder it was to see.

HH:: Well I can never see those things, so I’ll have to take your word for it.
Jake:: Well for a long time, neither could I.

HH:: The thing I find most interesting about you guys is that everyone seems to at least know who you are. You are played in clubs, oldies stations, top 40, indie kids love you. And the most common reaction I get is – they are a fantastic live band and so outrageous. Is it a challenge to show people you are more than just a traveling party, especially when the subject matter for the new record is not really happy. I mean, despite the danceability of the first single, it’s almost depressing and seems to open the listener to how you guys feel.
Jake:: Suprisingly it’s translating great. I mean we’ve been playing for year, to make the show great, so a proper show has to go different places. There are sad moments, climaxes and crashes. For us to navigate through a show we want to hit all of the emotions. But I mean the atmosphere is fun – that’s the only way I can attack the sadness and the macabre live.

HH:: Well to be honest, I got into your music like most other people. You hear the cover and then the rest of the tracks, but after hearing the new album I finally started to see that there was more in your music than the music itself. I think my favorite song on the new record is She’s My Man. I read that you wrote the song about New Orleans folk legend Annie Christmas. It seems so funny to me to picture hundreds of people dancing to a song about a pirate, but shows the strengths of your narrative. How does the writing process work for you?
Jake:: Well, we produce and write everything ourselves, the whole kit n kaboodle. So when we have something, the minute it starts to sound like it’s a good song, we start producing it.Writing a song is like grabbing on to a cliff ledge. You hold on as long as you can, hopefully you make it up, but sometimes you fall. The best is when it comes together in a couple of hours. Normally it is me and Daddy in the room. I can’t write I can’t have more than three people in the room. I can’t just jam with the band. If there are more than 3 cooks in the kitchen, It’s not going to work. Song writing is embarrassing. It’s a lot easier to take risks and expose yourself when you are alone. It’s like masturbation. It’s never a good idea to do it in front of too many people.

HH:: (laughs). Well in Vancouver, it might make you even more popular. It’s a great segue, because I was going to ask you about Elton John.
Jake:: I never masturbated in front of Elton John. But I might have in front of people before. Probably in Vancouver.

HH:: I'm not sure if that's good for the readers to know or not. You got the chance to work with Elton John on this album. How was that experience, and was it hard to treat him as a peer?
Jake:: It actually was easy and fantastic. We actually used the excuse of writing as a way to hang out and get to know each other better. We started writing that song in Vagas over a year ago, just me and him. It was funny, I'd dance for him, make faces when he played things. I was more in control which was weird. He be trying out melodies on the piano, and I'd just tell him what I liked or didn't. It was very physical. but he wasn't used to writing that way. He always starts with lyrics, where as I'm a clean sheet. I don't think he's ever had anyone make him work like that, so it was a truly great experience. I've just grown to love him so much. His writing, his sense of humor.

HH:: That sounds like a surreal situation. It mus t be weird to treat a mentor as a peer? I guess in a completely different type of collaboration, you did some vocals for the upcoming Tiga record. How did that happen?
Jake:: Wow, Tiga is great. As long as he keeps asking me to sing on his records, I'm thrilled to do it. I actually met him at a party in Barcelona. He was one of the first DJ's that I got to play our records. I was off my face on MDMA, and I climbed up to the booth and was screaming at him. It was crazy. I have some pictures of it, and I look scary.

HH:: Ok – this is a questions from one of our readers - Darren from Seattle – If you could cover one Bond theme song in your show, which one would you choose and how would you think it would sound?
Jake:: Wow. That's a great question. I'd have to say a fiathful version of Nobody Does it Better. I actually sing that with my vocal coach all the time. It's challenging and has a kickass vocal melody. So yeah, for sure that one. A faithful, honest version of that.

HH:: Cool. I was hoping you'd say A View to A kIll, but I have no idea why. Well, that's about all we have for you today. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Good luck on the rest of the tour and thanks for giving me a new term for vagina. You can never have enough.
Jake:: No problem. This was fun.

Posted at 5:08 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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