Jamie Irrepressible talks Songwriting and Collaborations

Masterclass

We admire maverick artists at BIMM, and The Irrepressibles’ mix of chamber music, vaudeville imagery and synthesised atmospherics is truly unique, especially paired with the haunting and playful vocals of lead singer Jamie.

Jamie is a talented vocalist, composer, songwriter, producer and visual artist who has masterminded The Irrepressibles across their three critically-acclaimed albums, and occasionally controversial artistic output.

We welcomed him to a BIMM London Masterclass where he spoke about his unique career in music and art. During the session, BIMM students Amanda Liedberg (aka Storme) and Ellie Wilson performed one of their original songs for Jamie, who was impressed and gave great advice to them and a full-to-bursting Masterclass audience. Students asked some great questions, and here are a few highlights:

If I don’t have a lot of money to spend, what should I invest in to help my career?

“I never had a lot of money. What I did was I gigged alone until I sold out venues. Then I got a small, strong string section. Then I promoted my own nights and worked out budgets and pre-sold my EPs. I also crowd-funded and gathered money through that. We did that until we could get a proper PR campaign. But you do have to spend some money if you want to invest. The Irrepressibles were eight years in the making before we got signed!”

How do you create a ‘manifesto’ when songwriting?

“I believe pop music to be political, it’s about having something to say. I’m inspired by people like Vivienne Westwood and bands like Sex Pistols. I’m also always honest about my sexuality and the imagery of my music is about that.”

Did you get a lot of controversial feedback for your ‘Arrow’ video?

“It was initially banned on YouTube! We played the video in Moscow in front of five thousand people, and we played it in a theatre next to the Vatican! It still has a warning on YouTube. I also played the song at the first legalised gay wedding in the UK. It was emotional.”

How do you deal with unreliable band members?

“Be ruthless and be tough. You have to be! Have a laugh, but do be tough. The more you rehearse, the better you’ll be, and if people aren’t reliable, it’s not something you should have to deal with as an artist.”


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