Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu: Interview


The change of tone between Always and Angel Guts: Red Classroom may be your most drastic change yet. What was it personally or musically that inspired this change of tone?

A couple of things, the producer who mixed Always, John Congleton, while working on that record, which was a very, very dense and intricate pop avant-pop, suggested that the next one, what would become Angel Guts: Red Classroom, be brutal and minimal, influenced by the band Suicide. We had never done anything like that and it in an unnameable way, clicked really hard inside me. We had also been around for ten years at that point and it seemed appropriate to being a new chapter. Pop vanished within me. By uncertain chance, I moved to the complicated, dangerous, Santa Muerte infused and rotting neighborhood of MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. The record sounds like that place feels.



What’s been the biggest thing in your life that’s changed since moving to Los Angeles prior to the Angel Guts recording sessions?

Everything has changed, but if there was one thing it would be that the time before moving was years of the bile that is severe depression building up and after having moved it burst out in the worst, least constructive way it ever has. My body rebelled, my mind shut off, my ability to interact with people became extraordinarily false and strained. It was a time of hoping against the gloom and now it is a time of managing the aftermath of the gloom’s victory. Pills are helping with that.



What is some of your favorite music to come out this year?

Mostly, this year has SUCKED so fucking hard it makes me want to be deaf. A few thankful beams of moonlight within a musical universe of literock lounge shit jams are Marrissa Nadler: July and Swans… to be kind.



There has been a resurgence of awareness towards violence towards women, in the form of of #YesAllWomen where women share their experiences and fears to try and grow empathy towards what they have to go through every day. When I read about it, I’m reminded of the track “Hello From Eau Claire” from your album The Air Force. Is this the message Xiu Xiu intended with the song? Almost a decade later, does it feel like it’s unbelievable it’s taken this long for a movement like this to happen?

I mean this respectfully, and i would rather it did exist rather than not but social media is not life. A twitter account about violence towards women is nice, but there is NEVER an unawareness about this as it happens ALL THE TIME all over the world and the people it effects are certainly not unaware of it. The people in social services who work with them are not unaware of it, the friends and family members who stand by people who have been violated or hurt are not unaware of it, most of all women who have been abused or injured or live in fear of abuse and injury are not unaware of it.

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