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Inherently Irrepressible

Dazed Digital speak to Jamie McDermott, lead singer of The Irrepressibles about classic sounds, crazy outfits and Vivienne Westwood

Jamie McDermott is the lead singer of the eclectic bohemian rock classicists The Irrepressibles; the kind of difficult-to-pin-down outfit that mix something that's very trendy and of the moment with something that's timeless and beautiful. They are very playful with the music they create and every track has something special about it, and while their outfits are incredible, their ideas are pure genius. The single "In This Shirt" is out now and the album Mirror Mirror is available for download.

Dazed Digital: Who has inspired you the most?
Jamie McDermott: Kate Bush, Grace Jones, Bowie, Freddie Mercury. More recently, I've been listening to Laurie Anderson.

DD: On your Facebook page you cite Vivienne Westwood as one of your inspirations. How important do you think the link between music and fashion is?
Jamie McDermott: Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood are so influential. When I was studying, I got into the crossovers between popular culture and music. The band is very much about creating something with freedom and style, and not just remaining in one of those standard subcultures like rock.

DD: What’s your favourite era of fashion?
Jamie McDermott: It has to be the 80s really. I love Leigh Bowery.
DD: Who usually designs your outfits?
Jamie McDermott: Many different designers. We’ve had everybody from the violinist in the band, to up-and-coming designers. I basically have an idea for the show and somebody helps me create a look.

DD: There are a lot of you in the band, how did you all meet?
Jamie McDermott: Most of us met through arts jobs. Some of the newer members auditioned, and the rest is history.

DD: The other members of the band were all classically-trained, were you?
Jamie McDermott: They were but I wasn't. I started of as a rock singer, but while I was at school I took some piano lessons and occasionally wrote for the school orchestra. I became interested in classical music through that. Then I went very indie and I started composing my own stuff.
DD: This year you played at Latitude and the V&A. How did the venues compare?
Jamie McDermott: Well, Latitude is really laid-back and things take longer. It was interesting. V&A was an amazing place to perform in, and I think the installation worked very well there. It was a very successful performance. The Latitude audience was amazing but we were in the middle of the lake; it was quite harrowing going to the stage in a boat.
DD: Do you think that success affects a band?
Jamie McDermott: I think it’s about the choices you make really. I have other projects that I’m interested in doing that are quite different. As long as you have different ways of expressing yourself as an artist, you can keep things fresh.
DD: What scares you the most?
Jamie McDermott: Probably not being creative, just going and doing a normal job.