by Joanna Orland
The Mancunian musician has completely lived up to his elusive reputation. When I arrived at Corsica Studios where I was scheduled to interview Jim Noir, I was greeted first with confusion, then disappointment. He thought I was supposed to interview him at a show two days prior and was gleeful in the thought that he got away with evading me! SURPRISE! Totally against his will, Jim Noir sat down to speak with me about his music, retro synths, his boredom and what have you.
Much like my previous interview with CHROMEO, I’m multi-tasking and only posting half of my content here, using the other half for an article with iPad & iPhone User Magazine. Feel free to read my other interviews with Chromeo and Jim Noir on that web site. But please, do read the one here too as this is where I’m totally unedited and free to write what I like! Sweet.
So yes… Jim Noir. For such a talented musician and lovely person, the guy had very little confidence. Very shy and humble. Hesitant to talk about himself, but very chatty and friendly otherwise. It was like getting blood from a stone to get him to pose for a picture! But he’s a good sport and nice guy… so I got a couple of crappy ones with my iPhone in the end.
For this photo, Jim has travelled back in time in a vain attempt to stop me from taking it. Note his plan is failing as you are viewing this photo, and he is nearly ceasing to exist, starting with his right hand.
Why do I suddenly have the urge to listen to Johnny B. Goode?
Anyway, after me prying about his musical influences, especially from his hometown of Manchester, Jim Noir admitted to me that he is actually more of a synth nerd than guitar fan.
Loose Lips: So do you have a load of synths?
JN: I’m starting a collection, yeah yeah.
Loose Lips: Which ones do you have?
JN: Just bought a Prophet 5. An old Prophet 5. So that’s *me new baby. Nobody’s allowed to touch it except me. It’s mostly just covered with a cover so rarely get it out. NO, I do, I love it. Pretty much my entire next album is covered in Prophet 5…
*I’m transcribing Mancunian dialect.
Loose Lips: So what is your next album going to sound like?
JN: I don’t know yet. I’ve not really figured out what I’m going to use yet, but there’s a lot of stuff that I’ve written that could be a direction. Just amazing. Yeah. That’s all I need. All I wanna do is write the best album ever made, which I definitely will.
Loose Lips: Ok, I’m going to hold you to that!
JN: That’s going to be a quote now, isn’t it!
Loose Lips: Do you record these tracks in a studio?
JN: I use studio equipment, but I still work in my flat. I’ve not got any sound-proofing or acoustic stuff anywhere, it’s just a bog standard room with two speakers and a load of old shite in it.
Loose Lips: And that’s the final album as well? You don’t take it to a studio to record the final product?
JN: No, it’s all as is. I mean, it gets mastered I suppose, but not much. Yeah I like to keep it as rough and raw as possible. But I think for the next one I will record it in a pro place.
Loose Lips: Why’s that?
JN: Well, because I’ve been doing this for you know, what, twelve, maybe ten years with the same approach to it. So I’m just a bit bored of that now and really it’d be nice to have all the equipment set up and wander around it as I want. Someone else is recording it so I can just go, “right, quick I want to play that” or whatever, where at home I have to untangle loads of wires and it’s just a complete mess. And obviously I get a bit bored so the tellie is too easy to go and watch rather than write!
Out of nowhere, Jim shows off his Karate Kid skills and kills a fly!
Loose Lips: Very Mr. Miyagi of you!
JN: He was trying to get in on my interview!
For someone who feigns paling in the spotlight, the man doesn’t want to share the attention! At this point, I knew he was hiding something.
Loose Lips: Is Jim Noir your real name?
JN: No. No.
Loose Lips: What is your real name?
JN: I’m not telling you.
Loose Lips: Oh come on! I’ll just Google it if you don’t.
JN: Ok… It’s Alan Roberts.
Loose Lips: Why did you change it to Jim Noir?
JN: Well, because Alan Roberts isn’t a very rock n roll name.
Loose Lips: But you don’t want to be a rock star!
JN: No, but I don’t want to be Alan Roberts either.
Apparently the nom de plume of Jim Noir is an homage to British comedian Vic Reeves whose real name is Jim Moir.
Loose Lips: No regrets though?
JN: Well the only regret I’ve ever thought about is that I chose only a singular person. That means I have to do all the work. Should’ve called it the somebodies or whatever.
It’s obvious why the man wishes he had some help. Besides wanting to divert attention from himself, the man keeps busy with creative bursts, releasing something every month of this year for the Noir Club, a page on his web site that fans can sign up to and obtain these treasures on a monthly basis.
Loose Lips: What’s up next for you?
JN: Well, just next year I’m going to have a little break and then hopefully in the summer I’ll have the Noir Club compiled into an album and then probably hopefully a brand new freshly written one. I’m going to try to do as much as I can just so it looks like I’m really busy because I only do things sporadically.
Loose Lips: If there was only one word you could use to sum yourself up, what would that word be?
JN: Annoying? Um… yeah…
Loose Lips: Annoying??
JN: No, um. Questioning! No. I don’t know. Just quiet! Stupid!
Loose Lips: Just choose one!
Loose Lips: Ridiculous! Ridiculous?
JN: Yeah I think ridiculous maybe!
Loose Lips: Ok, Ridiculous!
Yup, he’s fairly ridiculous. But, awesome. If you’ve not checked out his tunes yet, do.
If you want more, you can also read my other interview with Jim Noir for iPad & iPhone User magazine.