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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

SnapCacklePop Interview - Jay Brannan

Following on from his last album Goddamnedwe managed to catch up with the very funny and talented Jay Brannan prior to his Australian tour. We talk about his new album Rob Me Blind, what inspires him to write, the dating world, his love of 90's female power vocalists, how to romance him and made up things about him on the web and so much more..! Check it out below..!

Hey Jay, welcome to SnapCacklePop.

How was your weekend?
Its been good, its been busy. I’m getting ready to leave for Europe again in a couple of days so trying to get everything done, like laundry and all that stuff.

Is that a normal Jay Brannan weekend?
I wish that was a normal weekend. I'm not much of a night life kind of guy, so normally at home at weekend working on my computer, I’m pretty boring that way.

You have just released your new album called Rob Me Blind, tell us a bit about it?
Well it’s produced by a man called David Kahne, who is a brilliant legendary producer that I am so excited to have made something with, its really cool. Basically I wanted to do something with this album which is very me, very much my aesthetic and my taste, yet didn’t want to make the same album all over again. So I wanted to try experimenting with more texture, more instrumentation, it was really important for me to find the right person to do that with, that was thoughtful and well done. I was very lucky to work with someone so awesome. I’m just very excited to be putting it out into the world. Its taken me a couple of years, but here it is and I’m proud of it, its exactly the album I wanted to make.

How are you feeling about putting your baby out there for everyone to hear?
Its like I’ve been pregnant for 3 years, I’ve been carrying this record for so long, but so I’m happy to be finally giving birth.

For anyone who has not listened to your music before, describe it for us...
I like to consider it as acoustic , kinda minimal, simple music yet focused on songwriting. Its very lyrically and vocally and melodically driven. And mostly sad. I tend to write about sad, angry, frustrated, about my fears and about all that kind of stuff... it’s very expressive. I also try and have a sense of humour in it as well as I think those things are closely tied together and dependant on each other. Folk music in two words.

Here is Jay covering Lana Del Rey's song Video Games

What was the inspiration for the album title?
Its actually named after my favorite song on the album. The first album I named after the most important song, so for this one, when it was all done, Rob Me Blind stood out as my favorite and thought it would make a great album title.  Normally when you “rob someone blind” your taking everything that they have, however in the context of the song, that's exactly what you want the person to do, take everything you all, take all of you. I also thought it was funny, being tied up on the floor and be representative of a lot of things. 

You say you use personal experiences to write your songs, have you ever been robbed blind then?
[Laughs] That is the sad/funny thing about it for a very long time I am desperately begging for someone to rob me blind. [laughs] I haven’t had a relationship in about 10 years, my last one was a teenager and that doesn’t really count. I’ve been single for a very long time, though not for the want of trying though..!           

It’s a hard world out there in the dating world.
It’s ridiculous

You have a very interesting story, after being born under a rock, heavy drinker, growing up in Texas, moving in with a guy after one month relationship then settling in New York, what’s the best way to describe your life now?
Fucking crazy and unpredictable in many ways. I finally removed the alcohol element, which is when I started writing music, as I needed a hobby instead of the drinking. If I wasn’t in a black out all the time, I needed something to do, so that’s when I brought my first guitar. Its been a crazy decade where the high’s have been high and the lows have been low. I’ve done some really amazing things  and been through some really painful things, its been a wild ride on the rollercoaster.  The most exciting part is to get to do a load of travelling in my 20’s and see the world like that and that this is also one of the luckiest things I have done.

We noticed on your Facebook a lot of your pictures you are pulling a “Blue Steele” look in various countries?
[Laughs] Exactly, I’ve done that all over the world.

Do you take inspiration from your life in New York to write new material?
Yeah that’s probably true and where my inspiration comes from, but yeah a lot of what drives me to write, the need to express myself, to let off steam, is from frustration and pain, from isolation and loneliness as that’s what I am feeling in the day to day struggle as a New Yorker and as a person.

So you class yourself a New Yorker now then?
 Yeah I do, I have been here for about 9years and feel like I am. Actually I have lived in New York the longest I have lived anywhere, as a child I moved around a lot, so nine years is probably double the amount I used to stay in one place.                            

You site The Cranberries, Tori Amos, Bjork and Sinead O’Conner as some of your influences, how have these ladies inspired you?
Female vocalist’s from the 90’s are kinda my No.1 inspiration & influence, largely because, that was a time periods I was locked up in my room through high school listening to the radio. Its was such a defining time period  for me in terms of development,  emotional growth and identity. I gravitated to females with really strong voices… angry, sad, expressive woman.

If you could meet just one of them, which one would it be and why?
It would have to be Sinead O’Conner. She’s the person who I most probably discovered the most recently. Finding Nothing Compares To You about 5 years ago, when I saw a concert on TV with this woman who could really sing,  with a mind blowing, earth shattering voice. So I kinda started to explore her music and I have so much respect for her. Her talent is incomprehensible to me, with that voice and I saw her live a couple of weeks ago and she can still sing like that. I love how crazy and unstable she is, I relate to it so much, we even have the same haircut. I’d love to be able to shake her hand and tell her how much respect I have for her. I did write a blog about that and tweeted it and she tweeted me back. It was very exciting.

We bet it was so exciting for you?
I have a screen shot of the tweet. [laughs]

We took a vote at the SCP office and agreed you are a bit of a good-looking guy, what’s the best way to romance you?
By food.  Food is the way to my heart I think.

Well you says your interests are sleeping, eating, sex, international travel and the Internet, what’s one website you visit daily?
I’m on Facebook and Twitter all day, it’s the closest I have to a social life. [Laughs] I don’t know… I use to keep a little bit of a grasp on whats going on in the world. I’m actually obsessed with air travel, finding hotels, so I am constantly searching for travel on and going on trip adviser and finding the best places to stay.

Any websites you’d prefer to ban yourself from? 
No not at all, I love the internet.
is one of my favorites and wouldn’t want to ban myself from it.
Further proof you that you cannot always believe what is on the internet and Wikipedia, there was once an entry on you that said you used to work with Jane Goodall doing field research on Chimpanzees. What’s the best piece of story you have heard about yourself?
Probably that! Could you think of anything more ridiculous? That is most probably the craziest thing I have ever read. It also said I was “an outspoken advocate for victims of chronic fatigue syndrome” which I kinda found funny as it kinda came true. I didn’t realize this but looking back over my life I think maybe I am… maybe they were right and I didn’t realize it..!           

We see you are heading to Australia in June on tour, have you been here before?
Yeah I have gigs in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney and looking forward to coming back.

We’ll be there at the Sydney gig, and very much looking forward to you performing. So Jay, we come to the end of our interview and we always end on the SCP silly Big 5 questions? You ready.

 Do you have an iPhone? What’s your fav app?
Yes I do and Draw Something is my addiction

We read online you think crying is underrated, when was the last time you cried? 
I’m crying right now..! [Laughs]

If you could banish a pop star to the moon who would it be?
[Laughs] I can’t answer that..!

If you had a super power, what would it be and why?
The power to take peoples pain away

What is your reality TV weakness?
Tabatha’s Salon takeover. She is incredible! 
My 2nd favourite person after Sinead O’Conner

Well Jay, thank you for speaking with us today we look forward to seeing you in June and good luck with your new album Rob Me Blind.

Great, thanks guys see you soon.

Jay Brannan is touring Australia with tickets available here

Get his new album Rob Me Blind on iTunes now.

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