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Alex: Feb 99

PHONE INTERVIEW WITH ALEX JAMES

Alex James` reviews on `13`

· Tender
It's just a simple song. It's meant to be like a hymn. You know, songs that are sung at churches, not because there's a choir though. However, when the song's played with piano or guitar, the spiritual nuance is still there.

· Bugman
This is an aggressive rock song. It's just a loud guitar . Actually the song has 2 parts, and I think the American listeners will like it. You can say it's Song2 alike but basically they're different. Song2 is a 1 min 50 secs song while Bugman is over 6 mins. Try to listen to this song carefully and you'll realize it's like a journey to outer space. William's the captain!

· Coffee and TV
This song describes our tired situation, desperately in the need to sleep or to just relax in front of the window. Graham wrote and sang this song himself.

· 1992
We named it 1992 because we made it that very year. We found it from a bunch of old demo tapes. The more we listened, the more we liked it , so we decided to record it .

· B.L.U.R.E.M.I
It' a punk rock, created just to show we're EMI's!

· Battle
The song is rather insane, `cuz it represents our insanity . There' a little bit of symphony in it and series of sounds .

· Mellow Song
It tells about the feeling when we'vejust woken up from sleep . You know, try to think what had happened the day before and try the best to correct yesterday' mistake today.

· Trailer Park
At first, the title of this song is ` South Park `. It tells about the missing of a girlfriend coinciding Damon' break up with his girlfriend.

· Caramel
It'sa love song. This song tries to tell about how you feel when you fall in love.

· Trimm Trab
It' about run and that' all. Trimm Trabb is a kind of running shoes` name.

· No Distance Left To Run
I think it' ballad . The content is about a love proposal.

· Optigan1
I don't quite understand this song myself. It was when we left the studio and a microphone's left behind . Then, Damon played around with an instrument called Optigan. It's just an instrumental song reated from the messing around with sounds. We liked it, so we put it in the album .

THE INTERVIEW WITH ALEX JAMES

Interviewer : Blur`s music totally changes in `13` . This is kinda striking !
Alex James : Nope , it's not . I think changes are pretty common. Everyone's life in the band changed. We're using the same producer, Stephen Street, for five albums in a row. This time, we'll try a different one, William Orbit. No wonder the music changed, the way of working it out was different too. We couldn't decide what would the album be like. But, `13` is a management of something different compared to the previous albums by Blur.

Interviewer : So how far has William Orbit played role in Blur's music changes ?
Alex James : It`s hard to say what he's done with our music changes. He did a lot in everything. The greatest of William is that, uhm… I admire him `cos he understand music even though he can't play any musical instruments. When Graham's busying with his solo album, he didn't have time to even record a song in the demo tape with his guitar. However, William knows about guitar, so this album hides a sophisticated guitar sound that Blur's previous albums didn't have.

Interviewer: You mean he ( William Orbit ) is good in manipulating sounds ?
Alex James: No , it's the studio's technology that's good. It's amazing what you can do with sounds. The drum sound in 'Tender' was obtained from card-board box sounds and drum sticks, which then were transferred into digital sound. The genuine sound disappeared totally. After the re-managing, the sounds created are really different. Amazing, ain't it?

Interviewer: Okay ! So what do you think sampling or recording technology has to do with song making?
Alex James: The modern technology is only a medium, it's not that important compared to the song itself. I mean, while playing with the variety of sounds, make sure you don't ruin the melody of the song.

Interviewer: Wouldn't you care if this album ended up to be an electronical one ? Well, `13` seems to be one.
Alex James:You can't just try not to see the presence of millions of sounds that modern recording technology provides. If it's available and usable, why not use it?

Interviewer: According to you, which needs more attention from the listener, the music, or the lyrics?
Alex James: In `13` , both the music and the lyrics change. They're one, the lyrics can't stand alone like poems. Music and lyrics support each other. So, I dunno which is more important. `13` is an emotional and spiritual album . It centres on Damon's break up with Justine, feeling vulnerable and feeling low, lonely. The other band members feel that sorrow too.

Interviewer: Do you think `13` will be accepted by people?
Alex James:Music is kinda annoying for the emotionally unstable. But when you're low, the music becomes more valuable. That's why our music is worth more among teenagers. That's the reason too why I was obsessed with music at the age of 16. When I was a teenager, music is really important in my life. Ah, isn't that what we're looking for as a teen, to find our true identities.

Interviewer: Rumor says , Trailer park is for a cartoon ?
Alex James: At first , the song was offered as the soundtrack of South Park (a serial comedy cartoon for grown ups which is very popular in the USA). It's not that the song was rejected, it's only considered to be not good enough. Well, who cares! I'm not interested in the serial that much now. (Laugh out loud) As musicians, we're often offered to make songs for movies. Now, Damon's ahead. One thing to keep in mind though, we can't make music just for the money, there must be something inspiring for us to do it.

Interveiwer: That's why you and Dave would like to carry out the project for the film `Beagie 2`?
Alex James: Ah, I almost forgot. It's an animation film. Yeah, we're often inspired with the future plane. Our song will appear when the jet plane takes off and lands in Mars. And, that part of the film will be great as a video clip. When the film is good enough, all that's left to make it perfect is just a piece of good songwriting.

Interviewer: So, you're willing to make a piece of songwriting as long as the project is inspirational?
Alex James: Yeah, and the money we get from that, we'll donate to the Martians! (Laugh again)

Interviewer: Well, do you guys make any deal if one of you sign a project out of Blur ?
Alex James: In ten years, I think it's good to make music together. But, it's nice too to make it alone. So while gather again together with the rest of the members, it'll be fresh and exciting. Working together all the time might be pretty boring. Just imagine this, having a ten-year-tour together! I think that's why we won't stand a long tour for this album. Besides, you need to find new reasons to live all the time.

Interviewer: Too bad if Blur won't perform a world promo tour. When will you guys come to Indonesia?
Alex James: We will, for sure, have some gigs, but we're not prepared for a big world tour. We're too old for that!

Interviewer: What? Too old? I can't believe that. Maybe it's the pressure, perhaps?
Alex James: No , not the pressure . It's cool to wake up and find yourself in San Fransisco . It`s a brilliant thing to do . Going around the world , playing guitar , showing off , getting drunk and being stupid . But I really appreciate the time when I can sit in front of the window , enjoying the scene around my apartment and spending time thinking alone . It`s really nice to wake up on your own bed , I long for this . Like I said , imagine the ten-year-tour ! It means too much room services , no proper dinner . Sometimes , I miss a proper meal . So if ya think I`m getting to serious , well , I need to be serious .

Interviewer : Okay , the last question ! Why chose the `13` for the album`s title ? It`s believed to be a cursed number .

Alex James : Ah , we`re not supertitious . `13` is the name of the studio where we recorded the album . Good thing that we didn`t do the recording in the studio on Abbey Road , or else , the title would have been ` Abbey Road ` !

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