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LISTEN: New Jane Weaver Track And Q&A
The Quietus , April 14th, 2011 11:30

We have a great new track from The Watchbird Alluminate for your ears, as well as an interview with Jane...

Last year, Jane Weaver's album The Fallen By Watchbird ranked amongst The Quietus's favourites, and even claimed a place in our hallowed 'Angst Music For Sex People' list. Since then, she's been working on The Watchbird Alluminate, which she describes as a "Chinese whispers" re-interpretation of the original LP (featuring the stellar likes of Demdike Stare, The Focus Group, Anworth Kirk, Susan Christie and Samandtheplants) and is available now from Boomkat.

To listen to one of our favourite tracks from the record - 'My Soul Was Lost, My Soul Was Lost And No One Saved Me' - click the SoundCloud player. We caught up with Jane to ask her about the project earlier this week.

Jane Weaver - My Soul Was Lost, My Soul Was Lost And No One Saved Me by theQuietus

Hi Jane. What can you tell us about the new album?

Jane Weaver: The new record is like a 'Chinese Whispers' version of my last album The Fallen By Watch Bird. On the initial record I worked with primarily female musicians who I knew - it was a slow process that spanned 2 years and I had strong visualisations as to what the songs looked like. I eventually pieced it together and it became a story each song being an event or a chapter.

In the tradition of folk tales and fairy tales, I wanted to keep the story of The Fallen By Watch Bird alive. I love the idea of hand-me-down stories getting lost in translation, especially in cinema and badly translated televison. Firstly some friends interpreted the story and turned it into an animation, I'm currently working on releasing the story book version so Watchbird Alluminute is just another step to see how other people would interpret each scene.

How did the process work? How do you think the new, re-worked versions complement the original album? And how do you think they stand up in their own right?

JW: It was very natural. The process came about mostly via continued projects with the artists, and the fact that they liked the story themselves. Andy Votel [of Finders Keepers] also helped direct the Watchbird Alluminate idea with me. It was very important that each of the artists we chose had a strong identity, but could also understand and complement what had already been done with The Fallen....

I wrote 'Majic Milk' as a re-working of 'Hud a Llefrith' from the first record using a poem I'd written about the story. It's inspired by the first song but yet has it's own identity, like a missing chapter which adds another twist. It's also a matter of trust - I'm lucky to be involved with a community of artists through Bird and Finderskeepers which spans people I've met and worked with over the years, and new influences such as Demdike Stare, Focus Group and Anworth Kirk who are already used to the theme of re-working soundscapes from eerie 1970's films or childrens drama.

We’ve been listening to a lot of Demdike Stare in the office recently. How do you know them, and what was it like working with them?

JW: I know them through Finders Keepers records. When I recorded the first 3 tracks of The Fallen..., I used so many different keyboards, organs and synths and created layers and textures - which is also Sean and Miles' natural habitat. Just because this is a folk tale, I don't want people to confuse it with long-hair and accoustic guitars. Folk music is about recycling stories in a loud and profound manner, therefore mechanical music and electronic noise is undeniably a very valid way to do this.

There are great noisy electronic folk records from the 60s, 70s and 80s. The influences in Sean and Miles' moniker alone are based in Northern English folklore, but they communicate this via loud tonal music with a strong cinematic pre-cert VHS influence. I was exited about how they were going to do it as they have a distinct sound but its instrumentally minimal. 'The Fallen By Watch Bird' is like a prog-rock/pop song, so they've used the darker elements definitely. It's part of an ongoing project with them based on Italian horor and other maligned influences.

Who were some of the other people you collaborated with on the record? How did you go about choosing them, and what do you think they brought to the project?

JW: Emma Tricca is an Italian folk singer on Bird records. Her version of 'Turning In Circles' is played and sung just how she would do it - she has a great finger picking style and haunting voice we've sung this together live a few times too. Susan Christie and Wendy Flower [from Wendy And Bonnie], who have become good friends, add an interesting dynamic because for the age difference. They accentuate the idea of the stories being passed through generations.

We’re giving away the track 'My Soul Was Lost, My Soul Was Lost And No One Saved Me'. What can you tell us about this specific song?

JW: This is part of the story when the girl wonders where the soldier is. Does he not love her? Is he lost somewhere? Or has he sailed to his doom? She sits on the shore surrounded by blue skies and birds, many soldiers return but he does not. Magpahi is also a Bird Records artist, and this lament is perfect for her; she can sing Lancastrian traditional folk accapella, and it's as if she's a cotton mill worker in the 1900s.

What are your plans for your upcoming live shows? Isn't this the first time you've played in Liverpool for nearly 20 years?

JW: Well... it's probably about 15 years! I'm excited. I used to play with a band or with just a guitar, but at the minute I have a table top of instruments to accompany me. I try and do a spontaneous version of the record from the start to finish so it's different each time. I also like to incorporate visuals, too.

And finally, do you have any plans for whatever your next project may be yet?

JW: Yes, I've just started recording some new stuff with a number of different collaborators. I've recorded two tracks with David Holmes, and have started a new sample based project which echoes some of the hand-me-down ideas that I've attempted on this LP...

You can also see Jane Weaver play live with Trembling Bells at The Continental, Preston on April 22 and at The Scandinavian Church, Liverpool on May 6. Tickets at We Got Tickets