Musical Rooms

May 2, 2008

Musical Rooms Irish Times column: The Jimmy Cake

Filed under: Interviews,Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 9:01 pm
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“It’s difficult to pinpoint any specific creative space for The Jimmy Cake. During the writing process, it’s quite rare for us to find ourselves in the same room. Over the past eight years, we’ve developed a unique approach to collaborating. Assembling a track can actually be quite frightening, as the sheer size of the band requires an unusual level of organisation.

“Our new album uses a string quartet, a brass band, electronics and a second percussionist, in addition to our already sizeable nine members, so I’m sometimes faced with arranging hundreds of separate recordings.

“Although most of the band are based in Dublin, I do all the production work here in my studio in Tipperary. It’s quite a simple, quiet area in a converted attic in my home, and is something of a haven. It has only one small window, but has a fantastic view over the Shannon. There is no telephone line, television or internet here, so it’s an amazing place to just get away from it all and immerse myself in making music.

“I’ll often use specific spaces around the country to record various instruments, but in the end, everything ends up here. This room is only used for composing and production, so everything revolves around the computers and control devices. I do a lot of work for film so there are plenty of screens and a big surround-sound system here. I’ve been immersed in music technology since quite a young age (when I was 10, Phil Lynott gave me a tour of Windmill Lane studios while I perched on his head), and as a result of that exposure, I don’t tend to imbue studio equipment with any sort of magical qualities. In fact, removing equipment from the creative space is often the most fruitful course of action.

“The computer is probably the most important tool here, and I could probably work anywhere as long as I had that and a good set of speakers. Without a doubt the most thrilling aspect of this room is watching all the individual recordings mesh together and come to life. Sometimes that does actually feel a little like magic.”

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The Jimmy Cake’s third album, Spectre and Crown, is out now on Pilatus Records. For more, see www.thejimmycake.org.

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