The latest to join a league of upset male singers in r'n'b pop swigging whisky over women speaks to us about the source of his traumatic new LP
2012 is a funny year for gender stereotypes. While bolshy females Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks are respectively rapping about “nigga’s getting bucked” and “cunts getting eaten” with the brash confidence of unruly children who’ve never know defeat; Drake is crying over cups of the rosé, Frank Ocean’s contemplating the end of the world, and as for the Weeknd, “Bring the drugs baby, I can bring the pain… I got my scars right here.”... well, yeah.
When you think about death, when you think about love, when you think about pain – these are the main things in everybody’s life no matter who you are. I love going there. I want to go where no one else will
Here we speak to JMSN, another one from camp R&B emo, crooning tales of dark obsessions and unrequited lust, over pained melodies and melancholic beats.
Dazed Digital: Is the name pronounced “Jameson” or “J-M-S-N”?
JMSN: It’s Jameson, like the whisky. The first song of the record was me drinking Jameson by myself and I felt like it was the basis of a lot of what I was doing. It represented the time in my life where I really started pursuing this. It was the right fit. I feel like I never really came into my own until JMSN. I had a lot of different projects before and there’s always someone pulling you in a certain direction. Finally I thought, I’m 25yrs old I have to start listening to myself. I’m in this for the long haul. I’m not trying to do something that’s short and then forgotten. It’s not gonna be right unless I do it myself, no one is gonna do anything for me. I have to do it myself.
DD: The videos are really dark?
JMSN: It all starts with an idea, or just something that I’ve seen that’s inspired me and can be taken as a metaphor for what I’m saying in the song. A video is another dimension to the song, I feel like it’s such an important piece to the puzzle.
DD: Is death something that inspires you?
JMSN: The reason why death is in a lot of my videos is because I feel death is a big part of life. We’re all trying to do stuff before we die. Life is so short. When you think about death, when you think about love, when you think about pain – these are the main things in everybody’s life no matter who you are. I love going there. I want to go where no one else will.
DD: Why is pop music so dark at the moment?
JMSN: I think we’re going against the man. We don’t want our music to be processed, but to come from a real place. If I didn’t have a Radiohead or Fiona Apple or Sigur Ros I wouldn’t even be making music. I want to aspire to those kids who are gonna make music for the next generation, I want to push boundaries and make something real or there’s no evolution. We need to evolve as musicians and music needs to evolve as an art form. Priscilla is part of my life. Every song was so important to me, not one song is a throwaway song.
DD: Making the album sounds like quite a cathartic process?
JMSN: Looking back, I was just in a different world. I was drinking a lot, hanging out by myself making this music. It was a very introspective time for me. I needed that.
DD: Was the drinking and introspection because of making album or due to personal circumstances?
JMSN: Priscilla, who the album is about, was kind of the key to this Pandora’s box that opened up all these other problems I hadn’t faced in my life. I’m still trying to get through it now. It came with the territory; it wasn’t like I had to drink to get creative.
DD: What kind of terms are you on with Priscilla now?
JMSN: I don’t know. We speak once in a while. No comment!