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)
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.”
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.
(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.