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DID YOU READ

TALK: Jim Noir

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Last week the fun-loving Jim Noir released his eponymous sophomore album, Jim Noir. At this point in time, most Americans are probably more familiar with the commercials (Target, Adidas) his songs have appeared in, than the actual songs themselves. Noir’s catchy hooks are radio-friendly, easy-to-digest, pop goodies that will get stuck in your head after just one listen.

(left: Jim Noir talkin’ about the new album, Jim Noir)

Teaming up with Barsuk Records–the same label that brought us the indie goodness of Death Cab For Cutie and Nada Surf–Noir is hoping to make a big splash stateside with his second go-around:

Jim Shearer: A lot of people in the States may not be familiar with you yet. What can we tell them about Jim Noir?

Jim Noir: I’m a songwriter and producer who comes from Manchester in England and I make music.

Shearer: Because when I tell people about you I say, “He’s got some catchy hooks.”

Noir: Yes.

Shearer: Where do you come up with the ideas for your songs?

Noir: I don’t know, they just come to me. I don’t really write anything down or think of anything. I do all our music first. So lyrics are just something I have to do to [finish] the songs.

Shearer: So you after you track a song will you say, “Ah, this kind of sounds like a happy tune about playing soccer in the backyard”?

Noir: I just press record and talk rubbish for an hour, and make a song out of it. It is all spontaneous, sort of magic–poof!

Shearer: I read in an interview once that said you don’t work for more than one hour on a song, if you do, you’ll throw it away.

Noir: Yes, I’ll put it in the bin because if I get bored after an hour then everyone else would get bored when they listen to it. It is a very quick process.

Shearer: Pop-culture-wise, I just want to know how you grew up, because a lot of your songs take me back to my youth. I was just wondering about the TV shows you watched and the music you listened to.

Noir: It’s all just little memories and things like that. I find that those are the nice elements of life, you know? Like, I suppose I’m still just a kid at heart and I just want to remember those innocent days–it’s like therapy.

Shearer: A lot of people have called your music “childlike.” Does that bother you at all?

Noir: No, I think that is a compliment, because if you keep all of [your youthfulness] then that’s certainly a good thing.

Shearer: Does that make you nervous though? What if you wanted to go in a more serious direction with your music?

Noir: Yes, I mean, I don’t really tend to write much that is too serious. I don’t really want to make any point in particular, because I just don’t think I’ve got the right to tell anyone else what is right and wrong in the world. So I just talk about some random silliness and people can relate to that just as much as they can if I’m talking about politics or whatever. It doesn’t interest me to change anybody’s lives–I think.

Shearer: Although you could do so by not meaning to.

Noir: Yes, yes. If that’s the way it works, then I’m happy to go with that.

Shearer: Your debut album, Tower of One, was that recorded in your parent’s house?

Noir: Yes most of it, I would say about 80 percent.

Shearer: And the new one [Jim Noir], where was it recorded?

Noir: My flat, or apartment, as you Americans call it.

Shearer: Do you ever get yelled at by your neighbors?

Noir: No, actually I don’t. The end of the first album was recorded in my old flat. I was making a lot of noise–I got all my equipment taken away by the local counsel so I had to move.

Shearer: Why did they take it away? Just because you were too loud?

Noir: Yes, pretty much.

Shearer: Are you in a place now where you can be as loud as you want?

Noir: Well [my neighbors] don’t seem to mind. I think they are nosier than me actually, so it’s okay.

Shearer: Do they know of Jim Noir?

Noir: No, no, no. I keep my location secret, like a top-secret hideout.

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(left: Not only does Jim Noir have a top-secret hideout, but he also has a brand new top-secret disguise.)

Shearer: For your last album you sort of had a fashion motif with the bowler’s cap and the suit. Looks like you are a little more casual this time around?

Noir: Well I’m on holiday. I might dress up for the gigs, but I don’t wear the bowler anymore. I just don’t want to be known for what I look like [instead of] what I sound like. You know? Maybe that is a mistake. Who knows? We’ll see.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.