Saturday, 6 January 2018

Interview: Tim Muddiman & The Strange

Tim Muddiman Interview

Info: The last time I spoke with London independent artist Tim Muddiman in 2016, he was just about to release his debut album Paradise Runs Deeper under the banner of Tim Muddiman & The Strange, fast forward to early 2018 and his sophomore LP release Domino Blitz is just around the corner. We caught up again as Tim finds himself just off a lengthy 39 city tour with Gary Numan for whom he has played bass for the last 10 years, and in advance of another tour with the electronic synthpop icon which will see him in The Olympia in Dublin this coming March.

Remy: When you released debut album Paradise Runs Deeper, you remarked at the time that it was a collection of very personal songs, can we expect the same from Domino Blitz or have you decided to take a more outward approach to writing this time round?

Tim: I wrote my first album while trying to survive a traumatic situation. It helped me heal and heal I did. I quickly moved on to writing Domino Blitz with a clearer mind of how I want create music. There are of course reflections of how I feel and think in Domino Blitz but the songs are not soul-searching songs. They are more of a projection of the past and present and dealing with frustrations I feel regularly living in an ever-increasing corporate world. The album is purely acoustic. I mean there are no synths or programming. Its organic. I did it all myself.

Tim Muddiman & The Strange, 'Get It On'

Remy: You've just released the first single from the new LP, 'Get It On', with a video, one thing that struck me was the heavy rock undercurrent, which, when combined with the vocals is reminiscent of the likes of Blue Oyster Cult or Deep Purple in their pomp. Have you consciously gone for a heavier sound on this record?

Tim: I put 'Get It On' out because I haven’t put any new music out for a while because I’ve been locked away in the studio and touring with Gary Numan for just over year. This track is the most fun. It’s the heaviest track on the album. It felt like the energy in the song was just a backlash and a relation of some of my friends and how I feel an awful lot. Yes it's heavy. Its chunky. But I’m not a rock music fan really. I prefer jazz and blues.

Remy: I wanted to drop back into a topic we also chatted about last year in terms of music icons, Bowie had just passed away and then a domino effect took hold in 2016 with Prince and George Michael being another two examples of artists who left the stage too soon. At the time I think we were both quite pessimistic about the paucity of show-stopping acts in the modern day, you cited FKA Twigs as an exception. I've become a bit more hopeful in more recent times as the likes of St. Vincent (Annie Clarke), Blood Orange (Devon Hynes), John Grant, Fr. John Misty and Perfume Genius seem to be coming to the fore, do you still feel the same as you did back in 2016 or has anyone new stopped you in your tracks?

Tim: I don’t feel the same. I too have noticed that experimentation is definitely being more accepted. But as I mentioned before I’m not the best person to speak with regarding current trends. I mean, I’ve been obsessing over Miles Davis, Ralph Stanley, The Pogues, Gotan Project, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave and Bill Monroe. We all have our own journeys with music and I respects everyone’s. I just follow the things that satisfy my soul. All the above artists I mentioned are doing just that. Soon, The time will come to move on.

Tim Muddiman & The Strange, 'Wildwood Stone' from Paradise Runs Deeper

Remy: You've had two successful Pledge Music campaigns on the bounce now for your two albums, taking that into account and how musicians seem to have altered tactics when it comes to streaming platforms, i.e. flipping the measly royalties in favour of the promotional value and indirect income that can come from that, do you think the relationship between artists and technology is becoming less fraught. I'll take the real example of a relatively new Irish solo artist who, like everyone else, was making nothing from Spotify streaming, however, the slow accrual of placement on curated Spotify playlists has resulted in her having an entire UK tour funded by promoters in England.

Tim: Artists are like rats. They will find a way to make things work. They will find a way to get fed. The Internet is wonderful for people who want to be independent. With strategies and planning people are accessible and people want information. They want new music. They want art. I just hope the benefit of this way of consumption is that certain trends will break down and it will encourage people to think for themselves more rather than relying on a radio presenter, an advert, a TV programme or what one's social group listen to. Maybe the Information Age will spawn the Independent Age. I think it’s started.

Remy: Has your continued touring as guitarist in Gary Numan's band meant live shows under the Tim Muddiman &The Strange banner are a juggling act and do you think when the current tour with Gary ends in March (in Dublin) you'll do a few more TM&TS dates after a much needed rest?

Tim: To say it gets in the way would mean that working with Gary has had a negative impact. It hasn’t felt like juggling either just a little planning. I always know tour dates with Gary well in advance and adore playing in his band. So it’s a quick jig (rather than a jug) of things around and currently everything is fitting into place. We are planning a couple of shows in February in Liverpool and London, and maybe Brighton as well.

Remy: Finally Tim, at the present moment, do you see yourself now on a path to continuing writing solo material for the long-term, and what aspirations do you have for the future as a solo artist?

Tim: Absolutely. I’m just about surviving on my own now. But hope that I will have access to bigger budgets in the near future for films to go with my songs. The majority of Domino Blitz is very filmic. I want to develop the live show as well but that will cost money. The main thing is that we do need to earn our stripes out on the road. I’m not stopping here at all. I’m planning the next album right now. Directions are all that will change.

Domino Blitz will be released shortly on all platforms, vinyl, CD and digital, and you can pre-order your copy at Tim Muddiman & The Strange's website here

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