Legendary American experimental group Xiu Xiu to perform in Tbilisi
27 May, 2017
On May 28 Georgian electronic and underground music enthusiasts will have an opportunity to embrace a live performance by an American experimental group Xiu Xiu. The event is carried out by multifunctional spaces Muzame and SPACEHALL in Tbilisi. Yet before diving into the musical utopia on Sunday night, we offer you an exclusive interview with the lead person behind the project, singer and songwriter Jamie Stewart.

-First of all I would like to thank you for coming to Georgia. I
think you might find it interesting to know that we have an actual street named after George W Bush here. I just want to ask you if he’s still your least favorite president, considering the recent turn of events.

I will have to make a point of taking piss on that street and dumping a garbage can our on the street sign.Obviously Trump is a genuine horror and an evil pile of Satan's aborted children but so far he has been too stupid to really ruin that much. He still has 4 years to destroy the world and seems to be working hard to make that happen.

Bush starts two pointless wars that are essentially both still raging, is responsible for the rise of ISIS, allowed New Orleans to remain in a flood for 3 days before responding, ruined the US economy and was probably complicit in the 9/11 attack.How does one decide which is worse between brain cancer or cholera?


- I know that you’ve been making music since you were young, but if for whatever reason you couldn’t be a musician, what would you do?

I was a preschool teacher and a social worker before making a living as a musician. I would probably go back to something like that. Or dress up as a polar bear and stand on the corner until I starved to death.

- Where do you draw your inspiration from? Do you have some kind of ritual or a certain process you go through during song writing?

From plants, books, alcohol, walking, politics, history, listening to people talk on the bus, looking out the window, movies, mistakes, death, Santeria candles, museums, cats, my nephew, listening to records, Religion, socks and shoes, not being able to sleep, drugs, bird watching and the desert.

I have a lot of little rituals in my life. When recording at least, which is essentially the same as song writing lately, I change the screen on the computer to a different photo of a different trafficked child sex worker and say a little prayer for them before starting. I have never told anyone this. It seems silly to write it but it is true.

- A lot of your music is about sex and sexuality. What would you say to all the people here in Georgia and around the world struggling to express their sexual identities in conservative societies? Do you have some kind of advice for them?

Having the extraordinary privilege and just luck to have grown up and live in California, an extremely liberal place, I have not had to face that much external social discrimination around sexuality. A little but not very much. That said I think it would be hard for me to really give an advice to someone growing in a conservative society in regards to sexuality. I have no idea what the context would be and not much real lived experience so I am not sure I am qualified.

But I can say with certainty that people's sexuality and gender identity is the way is it supposed to be. It is good, inherently good to be who you are, to love yourself and love those for whom it feels natural.

Anyone who who says otherwise, treats you badly, hurts you is fool, wrong and so uncertain and frightened of their own feelings they feel they must squash the true hearts of others.
-Recently there have been a lot of allegations against certain artists. I’m not going to ask about your personal stance on any of that, I would just like to know if you think it is possible to separate artists and their personas from their art, and if we assume that they did commit the crimes they are being accused of, would their art carry the same impact?

Personally it is very hard for me to continue to listen to a band or artist once I have found out they suck as a person or have done awful things so basically I try to avoid finding out too much about people whose music has moved me to avoid this problem. This is of course incredibly hypocritical. I am essentially hiding from the truth? It is tough to know how to feel. Most people involved in art or music are fucking crazy and some fucking crazy people have a tendency to veer into horrible behavior or abuse.

Being involved in art of course in no way excuses abuse but does it taint art...?


Conversely when you find out someone whose art love is a wonderful person does it make their experiencing their art or music better?
It can for me at least.

Good question!

Author: Mariam Lortkhifanidze