I’ll tell you what I know.
Hanging around with Josienne Clarke is a fucking trip. Everyone loses their shit.
She’s written extensively about why. The Only Bit That Matters. Go read about it, if you care to.
But you, know, ultimately, scum rises to the top and Josienne’s scum & so am I (council house & comprehensive school blood born & raised, both) so it was always inevitable that we would make music together. It’s a thing we both just do, and yes, it gets complicated and messed up and colonised but both of us would do it in a vacuum.
So, we did. 2PrivateMatters is a stupid name we laughed about using and then did because why not, everyone else just does what they want, now we have, too. What happens is that Josienne writes one of her perfect little sad song things & then I try to impress her by messing it up in Ableton.
Some of you might not know that I used to be in a band called Formication with my friend Kingsley. We played some shows, some festivals, lots of drum & bass nightclub backrooms. We released a great many albums & EPs, appeared on a Wire Magazine cover CD, got reviewed in that magazine a lot. We made harsh industrial noise, extended experimental crazy electronic shit. I heard that Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods saw one of our early shows & I could believe it. We played with two old macbooks and stood around nonchalantly, sounding big, right in their neck of the woods, so, yeah.
Josienne once said that she wanted her voice & songs set in something harder, that she imagined her work led down a more dangerous garden path. I understand why no producer is willing to do that. She can read washing machine instructions in that perfect voice and it makes grown adults lose their mind, it needs nothing else. To really push it out of a happy place feels like double the sacrilege. Unholy. But she doesn’t want to be that. She’s not interested in holiness.
Listen to ‘Cartography’ from Doubts Run Out. That’s all her, one recording she made of her singing straight into a laptop that I did things to. You ever see the TV show DEVS? I enjoyed that. Also the movie Annihilation. Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury, The Insects, that whole Invada soundtrack aesthetic, I like that. So I tried it. Also, I wanted to riff on the holiness. It’s kind of choral, don’t you think? The kind of early music that Josienne has actually performed before, but there’s nothing sacrosanct about this abomination. Although, you know what I’d love to do – perform this live. Get a choir, 4 voices, and learn it like it was written by John Rutter then sing it in a cathedral. Conduct it. I think it’s possible. Who knows.
Then there are these other influences. Dance music. Electronic music. A chaotic mess of meaningless genre names. Everyone in folk always wants to be more edgy by using a drum machine. It’s hilarious. Richard D. James said that dance music is folk music and of course, he’s right. There’s nothing new. I always like the question – what is this music for? How, why & when will people listen to it? Is it for dancing, for listening, for impressing birds, accompanying nature walks, getting off your tits, showboating your librarian-like knowledge, for the respect of your peers? All fine!
2PrivateMatters is to confound. I wanted to do something undone. Take a road less travelled. Show there are other things. I’m not interested in hearing another perfect voice cover Little Lord Fauntleroy, but this time, with a drum machine! Jim Moray did that 20 years ago. It wasn’t new then & it wouldn’t be new now. I was inspired by Burial, Four Tet, Koreless, Giant Swan, Req, Loraine James, Forest Swords, Frost, Fake, Hecker, Vainio, Deathprod, Bohren, Oneohtrix, BPB, Rabelais. You know the stuff. Showboating of my own. What can we do with sound, if we challenge ourselves, with source material like this? DoubtsRunOut is the answer. That’s what we can do.
But here’s the thing. This project is a risk for Josienne. Why? Well, because now every time she uses an electronic drum or a synth on one of her solo records, that will be attributed, in some way, overt or otherwise, to me, the bloke. I either wrote, performed, influenced or encouraged it. It’s a reason not to release this recording we made together, because credit is important & she is vulnerable. But she’s also brave & wanted to do this despite the risks.
Realise this – Josienne never felt able to express herself in all the ways she wanted to because her confidence was undermined, gently, silently, subtly, invasively. She never felt that her voice was relevant enough, she wasn’t given free rein over her own life & work. Unforgivable. But she knows what she wants, now. Her confidence grows. You can hear it in her solo work. The synths on her albums were her. I did exactly what I got credit for and nothing more, nothing less.
So please, listen. Enjoy. Try to understand who did what, if you care to. If you don’t, that’s ok, too, but don’t come running to me when I correct the misattribution of credit because I have a zero tolerance policy on carelessness on this, I consider it important, even if you don’t and I am too old / ugly to worry about losing friends.
We made this ourselves, in our house, no studios. We spent zero pushing it to PR people. We put on streaming services and you can buy it digitally on bandcamp. There is no CD version. I made some stickers and then realised, I’d have nobody to send them to. Ha. It’s just a modest little side project. We made it because we wanted to. No more, no less. We hope you can find a way to enjoy it. If anyone would like promotional materials/review copies/a press release, then please ask – Josienne wrote one of those for it and it’s hilarious, but so far, nobodys seen it but me. And to be frank, I don’t much care if it stays that way, but I will send it to you, if you like. Drop us a line.
Here’s some cover variations. I did this photoshoot in a bath. Couldn’t decide which one to use. Ha.
Thanks for caring enough to read this!