Former Sneaker Pimps man Chris Corner is back with a new project, IAMX, and a new album, following some dark battles with depression. He plays the Marquis Theatre this month, so we chatted.F
Yellow Scene: How did this project come together, and what was your motivation?
Chis Corner: IAMX was born out of the back of being frustrated in a band. I was collaborating with three other people in the Sneaker Pimps before I started IAMX, and that was great but at some point I felt that I couldn’t totally express myself and I felt that the only was I could really do that was to start a solo project. I was a bit of a techy geek, production-obsessed studio person at the time but I was also interested in singing and conveying a more personal message. I tried to combine this studio thing with the extroverted stage performer. That’s kind of what IAMX is – it became this project like that. The influences were really simple, studio-based, electronic at first. It expanded over time. Hard at times, but also melancholiac. It’s a real melting pot of all sorts of things. It’s difficult to define, but it’s definitely a singular vision. It’s a hardcore solo project.
YS: You mentioned the melancholic feel – how much have your battles with depression informed the work?
CC: It’s probably been a huge part of the work. Part of having the project, although I didn’t really realize it at the time because I didn’t really know what I was dealing with for the last 10-15 years, I knew that IAMX was a sort of cathartic, therapeutic project in a way. It gave me a lot of freedom to say things and express myself in ways that I hadn’t had before. I think part of dealing with depression and any kind of mental struggles – part of the problem is not having a way to express yourself. I was very lucky that I had that. Obviously, artists in general are very sensitive people, that’s why we do what we do, so in a way it’s a very natural way of dealign with depression. A lot of art is about that. Actually being quite specific about it, it only really manifested into a paralyzing problem about two or three years ago. That’s when I stopped making music for a while, stopped touring, and basically just became a cabbage. I had to go home and get help. When I was at my worst, I knew instinctively that I had to get some professional help and get back on track before I could actually make music again. Once I had done that, put myself together, because at one point I really thought that music was my enemy and part of the problem, in fact that wasn’t true and I rebuilt my relationship with music again and now I feel like it nourishes me more than ever. This specific album is about that change, about that transition and rebirth, or transformation.
YS: Do you like playing Colorado?
CC: We’ve played Denver a couple of time, at the Bluebird. That’s a cool place. I don’t know much about it. I have a couple of friends in Colorado, and it’s very, very beautiful. I’ve been through and it’s always looked amazing. But it’s the usual thing – touring is going to a place for a day, in and out. It;s frustrating on that level – you don’t get the chance to see things.
YS: What can we expect from the set?
CC: You’re going to get a lot of energy. It’s the energetic side of the project which comes out live. It’s a bit more electronic than the last incarnation of the live band – we took out guitars. The new album is a bit more purist in its electronic approach. More keyboards, electronics and quirky sound, but still with a high level of filthy energy. We do a lot of moving around, jumping about, and it’s a pretty intense show physically. We really enjoy that. The combination of that music is intense, dark, sweaty, and it’s a visual show as well. It’s quite sexy.
YS: When the tour’s over, what’s next?
CC: Probably more touring. I haven’t been touring for a long time so I’m playing a bit of catch-up. When I got really sick, we cancelled a major tour and I promised we’d go back. Also, just getting into the flow of promoting the album. It’s probably going to be about a year-and-a-half of promotion. There are a couple of collaborations I’m thinking about doing here in Los Angeles with a few friends. That hasn’t manifested itself yet. It sounds like it’s going to like an electronic, indie super-group kind of thing.
IAMX plays with Mr. Kitty at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 17 at the Marquis Theatre; 2009 W. Larimer St., Denver; 303-487-0111; $20-$22.