We always have amazing releases here in Less Than 1000, but rarely do we run into such epic releases from such legendary artists. Today we have another ‘exquisite’ single from Londoner Jem Doulton, an artist we covered back in May with the release of his second single “The Roam“. Now, Jem is back with a collaboration with indie-rock legend and long-time friend, Thurston Moore; yes, that fine gentleman from Sonic Youth… Crazy!
“My Brain’s In My Skin” is track number three from a series of twelve singles that will be released one by one over the course of a year and that include the collaborations of amazingly talented musicians and friends Jem has made throughout the years. And as if Thurston Moore’s collaboration wasn’t enough, this single also counts with the participation of another good friend and legend, Kevin Toublant, who plays with Jem in Róisín Murphy’s band, write together in Fuse Box City and who is one Mad of three Mads in MADMADMAD. Sick!
The song, “My Brain’s In My Skin” was born after a moronic government advisor belatedly got the sack for basically and stupidly saying black people were less intelligent than white people, inspiring this “rip roaring absurdist dismissal via the use of The Creation, another illusory concept.“
“I’m mixed race and brown and channeling the spirit of Mark E Smith also wonder where the brain goes if you’re somewhere in the middle of the skin colour spectrum 😉” – Jem Doulton
The song is filled with shoe-gaze elements, a bit of psychedelia and very amusing lyricism. Massive, it is massive. And it is just the third song! Man, I can’t wait to see what’s next!
After a lifetime of playing music, you can imagine the amount of cool and awesome musicians Jem has met along the way, so, he decided to make an album with all of them. He writes the music, and lets his friends do their magic. The album is called Perfect Picture and will be a slow revealing journey: who’s playing what where, imagery, social media kookiness.
I had the pleasure to speak with Jem, who was abundantly kind and delivered amazing responses. Check it out!
MadZen: “First of all I’d like to say that I really liked the song of course, I found the instrumentation and the lyrics really amusing. What I’d like to ask you is how do you feel about this release? I know this is track three of twelve, so it must be exciting to see your creations slowly come out to the public.“
Jem: “Hey man, thanks for the kind words, really appreciate that you dig what you’ve heard! I’m happy to have decided to go about it this way, ie the slow burn/reveal/serialisation because it creates the sense of a journey and given there are a few different people on it (all mates, all great musos) a bit of focus on them with their respective power as well as the tunes individually. Obviously it’s all part of a whole and I hope to make it a physical object at the end but the beauty of doing it this way is that it leaves things open to suggestions and potential roads to go down.“
About the song:
“This particular song is important because I view it as an absurdist dismissal of racism, calling it out for what it is (stupid) and by having fun with and manipulating the Creation, it ends up being a bit of a deserved piss taking put down. Humour is a useful tool for this. Admittedly there are fine lines but I’m pretty sure I get the right mood for the message.
I’ve had some really good responses already and I guess the plan is to stay open and see what happens. It’s truly great to have so many great musicians be a part of the project, an honour in fact!
Beyond that, it’s not just the music, it’s also the art direction, styling and photography, support people give and everything and everyone really! There are a lot of people involved, all trying to make something good happen! And so when you hear that people dig it, the good feeling is there!“
MadZen: “After so many years of making music and meeting well renowned musicians, is there a particular lesson you’ve learned about the music industry and the music scene you’ve been involved in?“
Jem: “Well probably too many to write and/or even remember! I mean you’re always learning or at least that’s a good way to approach a life in the arts. And what better way than from who you play with, as everyone has a different experience and can offer a different view. I guess being open is really important and always know there’s room for improvement. A bit like in life, try to focus on the things you can control and try not to get too far ahead of yourself but that takes a bit of time to work out! 😉“
MadZen: “Haha, totally! Alright Jem, I think that’s about it, but I’m still a little bit curious, if you don’t mind, how is it like to be friends with such legends as Thurston and Kevin Toublant, while also being a legend yourself? I imagine that it might be a bit surreal?
Jem: Haha! 🙂 well you know, ultimately they’re really great people. With music you get to know people without language and then with it and I guess in a way it’s all a natural progression. It definitely helps when you realise they’re not just great at music but also at being a person! Tho I guess what you want to know a bit is, certainly 10 years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever have played with Thurston! Is it surreal? Probably depends on the mood of the day a bit 🙂“
As Jem and I said our respective goodbyes I couldn’t help to appreciate the wisdom and good intentions of such a successful artist. I think of it as something everyone should aspire to, musician or not. We really look forward to the next single and hope to see you readers back here with us soon! Thanks for reading!
Don’t forget to support this project and to follow Jem Doulton on Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud YouTube, and Spotify. You can also check out his official website. If you enjoy his music and are able to provide monetary support, you can download it on Bandcamp.
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