aijil asked: where can i go to be sure i'm updated about your new music??
if you are following this tumblr you are probably good but i will probably also make posts on twitter and on the elite gymnastics facebook page and the elite gymnastics tumblr page when i have some new things to share with people
lesbianadelrey asked: if you tour again will you play some of elite gymnastic's songs?
i am not sure when i am going to do live shows again. one of the reasons claire is so good live is that she had a lot of experience doing DIY shows and small tours and stuff as grimes and with other montreal bands for years before she started doing high stakes shows. i was playing to like 900 people opening for sleigh bells before i had ever even done like 10 shows in my life. i would say that probably a majority of the shows i have done have gone kind of badly and the ones that were fun were so weird that i don’t really have a good handle on what makes a good show and i don’t really feel in control of live shows when i do them. i feel like the show where it was when i stopped doing them was kind of a long way away from being something i could feel comfortable asking people to pay to come see as a headlining act or whatever and so i just need to work on it for awhile and try some stuff in a smaller scale way before i do stuff like hire a booking agent and go try to jump through all the dumb music industry sxsw/cmj “HERE I AM, NOW PAY ME” hoops. like, i feel like it’s a bigger betrayal to go around on tours asking people to pay me to do something inconsistent or of questionable quality than it is to not go on tour until i’m ready
but yeah i will always do elite gymnastics songs, most of them are my songs, something i want to do at some point is a bunch of redone versions of elite gymnastics songs like the version of “little things” that was a hidden track on ruin 4, so i can have versions of those songs i’m happy with that i can do in live sets and so that they can kind of live on in the new thing somehow
like that “bonnie prince billy sings greatest palace music” album where will oldham did new versions of the older songs he had recorded under the name “palace” in the style of his new project “bonnie prince billy”
drugshahanewurl420 asked: Wait there's no more elite gymnastics?!
when i was making ruin it was sort of intended to be the last elite gymnastics release, at that time it seemed like people were kind of losing interest in it and josh who used to be in the band doing graphic design and some production had less and less time to work on it so i just kind of made this thing that i meant to be a summation of all the ideas i had lying around at the time, a deck-clearing exercise that would turn all of the unfinished work on my hard drive into something whole and complete and listenable that could live out in the world instead of slowly being forgotten and one day being deleted in order to make room for a torrent when i decided i wanted to re-watch the wire in HD
a lot of the lyrics sort of have this like, sense of finality and preoccupation with stuff ending and friendships and relationships falling into disrepair, like if you look at it in the context of it being like sort of a breakup record or a tombstone marking the end of a part of someone’s life i feel like the purpose of it is sort of evident
as i have explained on the tumblr before, the irony of that is that ruin was much better received than anything we’d done before as a duo and suddenly josh was super into it again and we got a manager and a booking agent and a lawyer and tour offers, it was like a “just when i thought i was out, they pulled me back in” situation
so over the course of the past year me and josh grew too far apart to be able to work together anymore and we had this disastrous awful tour that damaged our personal relationship so much that i doubt we will ever speak again, and i moved away from where i was living and completely changed basically everything about my life
the legal status of the name “elite gymnastics” has sorta been ambiguous for awhile, i haven’t talked to josh in almost a year but other people have talked to him and apparently he was cool with trying to come to some kind of understanding where he’d agree not to claim any ownership of the name, but at some point i just stopped feeling like it made sense to jump through a bunch of hoops just to cling to this name that has always sort of represented a specific part of my life that i now no longer really have any connection to
so “elite gymnastics” is over and when i release music next it will be called something else and patrik north who used to manage me is like a really lovely and brilliant guy that i love and have boundless respect for but i’m managing myself now and i’m not working with the booking agent or lawyer i had anymore either
if anyone is upset that i am not using that name anymore i am sorry i mean if it has emotional resonance or anything like that to you i totally feel you, that whole period of my life obviously has a lot of emotional resonance for me too, but that whole period is over and so changing the name feels like it makes sense on a lot of levels
like it would probably be lame if “bizarre love triangle” was credited to joy division, you know
king-of-the-mods asked: hello james sir! I'm a big fan of elite gymnastics still and I have what I guess is a dumb question. Will the name of your new art project be released once you put out some music for it? o: or am I just not looking hard enough ha.
i’m pretty sure i know what it’s going to be and it’s probably one of the first five things most people would guess, but i don’t really want to say it until i have some music to release because i feel like it’s cleaner and more efficient if people find out everything all at once
at some point in the future there will be a day where i go on twitter and tumblr and facebook and say HELLO INTERNET I HAVE UPLOADED A THING WHICH INCLUDES MUSIC AND SOME KIND OF VISUAL ART CONTENT AND THIS IS WHAT IT’S CALLED AND THIS IS A WEBSITE WHERE YOU CAN LEARN ALL OF THE PERTINENT INFORMATION YOU MAY WANT TO HAVE ACCESS TO
and then if it’s good it will get around and you will probably hear about it and if it’s not then you won’t
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A CANADA
there was no opening act at the kyary show and the before-show music was just this endlessly repeating super minimal xylophone loop that sounded kind of like kefka’s theme from final fantasy vi if someone dragged it into photoshop, clicked on “edit -> adjust colors” and dragged the slider all the way from “sinister” to “benign”. on the tour that me and claire were on last year she decided to have only classical music play between bands so that it wouldn’t be like, a banging party atmosphere when there was no one performing. no one would mistake the crowd situation at the kyary show for a banging party - people in elaborate costumes and painstakingly detailed replications of kyary’s costumes from her various videos milled around on the balcony, occasionally receiving applause when they stepped out in full view of the audience. there were bars on both floors of the venue but they were mostly empty - i’m not sure if it was because the show was all ages and alcohol could not legally be served or if the crowd was just completely uninterested in getting fucked up. i could believe either explanation.
being in the middle of a crowd of people at a concert who are more or less uninterested in drinking and doing the stuff that drinking leads to at concerts was a pretty strikingly different concert experience than anything that i’ve ever been to before. since we mostly quit drinking last fall it’s been really weird to see how alcohol-oriented most live music experiences are. i remember reading articles about dance music around the mid-00s that discussed the relationship between drugs and music and about how the banging 4/4 electro era kicked off by ed banger records/justice was distinct from previous waves of dance music in that it was extremely boozy and visceral and alcohol-fueled as opposed to ecstasy or cocaine-fueled. i feel like the connection between alcohol and the current dance/pop epoch has been made pretty explicit within the lyrics of a lot of contemporary pop songs. lots of current pop music is sonically engineered to complement the experience of hearing music while you’re wasted and the experience of being wasted is often presented as the definitive 2013 pop music culture experience.
i feel like i should also somehow attempt to point out ways in which indie music as well as mainstream music often sorta glorifies being fucked up but in doing so i would have to specifically cite things like the final third of the wavves interview that recently went up on pitchfork where he talks about getting fucked up all the time as if it is an essential part of his personality which absolutely cannot ever be changed, and i don’t want to get into finger-pointing or anything like that you know
anyway it was pretty interesting then, to go to a pretty huge show and be part of a huge audience for whom the getting fucked up and partying concert experience was not even an option. i don’t mean to come off as condescending, i’m not trying to intimate that the kyary audience REALLY CARED ABOUT THE MUSIC and were therefore all definitely having a superior and more authentic live music experience than the experience typically had by other concertgoers at normal rock shows where the performers speak english. it was just an interesting experience to go to a show that was full of people who were not going to shows for the reasons i’m used to seeing people to go to shows for. i liked being able to see what a live music thing could be when you take getting wasted off the table
what i especially liked about this particular show and this particular audience is that the entire premise of the show was kind of challenging. kyary pamyu pamyu speaks very little english and mostly communicated to the members of the audience who could not understand japanese via a translator. this did not stop her from communicating with the audience and attempting to impart to us instructions for proper audience participation before various songs. as much as it was a concert, it also felt like a mario party-style sequence of minigames, a procession of setpieces that required the enthusiastic attention and engagement of all audience members to achieve maximum entertainment value. there was even an intermission early on where a man in a giant bunny suit pranced around onstage as text boxes on the large projector screen at the rear of the stage rattled off a series of facts about kyary and her bunny mascot friend. it reminded me of tutorial sequences in video games where mascots or mentor characters appear onscreen to teach you how to play the game - it was like an in-concert tutorial that taught the audience how to more effectively enjoy the show.
it was kind of thrilling to be at a show where, rather than imploring me to stop thinking critically, to lose myself in the music or whatever, the people onstage were exhorting me to engage, to be present, to attempt to intellectually parse and understand things slightly outside of my comfort zone. like, most shows are about killing brain cells. this one wanted me to learn, and i was sharing that with 2000 other people that were as up for it as i was. i had a really amazing time and i felt excited about the possibility of what a live music performance could be.
after the show, a couple of crew members ushered me and claire backstage. kyary stepped outside her dressing room for a minute to pose for photos with toshiki from x japan and then she said a few words to everyone in attendance, mostly crew members who were gathered in a loose circle around her. everyone softly applauded and bowed and me and claire don’t really speak any japanese and couldn’t understand any of it and then we looked around and realized that we were the only people there who were not japanese. kyary seemed really tired because she had just done a pretty long and intense show and still had a huge meet and greet and probably a bunch of press to do so we didn’t want to bother her but we didn’t know how to express that properly through the language barrier so a crew member led us over to her dressing room and kyary and claire said hi to each other quickly and then we left.
the crew member who led us out to the door brought us some t-shirts when we asked how to get to the merch booth so we could buy all of the merch, when he handed me the size medium t-shirt he had brought me he did so kind of sheepishly, knowing that a medium t-shirt would probably not fit me in a very flattering way. i was still very grateful, i think we gave it to one of claire’s brothers. as the crew member led us to the exit, once he was away from his co-workers, he smiled slyly and pointed to himself and said “i’m pamyurin”, meaning that he was the one inside the giant bunny suit during the tutorial intermission. i was genuinely thrilled about this, i felt like clark kent had just casually lowered his glasses and winked at me, revealing that he is secretly also superman.
i feel like i should say something about how it is ironic that no one at the show seemed to be drunk and that i spent most of this post talking about the relationship between live music and alcohol because the dress kyary is wearing in the picture at the top of this post is from the “furiosidation” video which is for a song about drinking that she recorded commemorate her 20th birthday which means she is now legally able to drink in japan but it seems like it would be hard to find a really elegant way to work that in now
anyway 10.0 best new concert kyary is the best
i like this
at some point i would like to talk more about touring, it’s just something i’m going to have to put a lot of thought and time into because it’s a difficult subject to breach without risking violating the privacy of people who don’t deserve it or offending/upsetting people i might not want to offend or upset. the pressure to tour constantly that cole mentions in the NME interview is real and very present, i think - like, i think even audiences have basically accepted it as fact that touring is where an artist’s money comes from now to a degree that makes it feel as though people feel like that’s how it should be. like, a working musician and someone who creates music are not the same thing, and getting out on a stage every night to play songs you wrote three years ago is not the same as sitting down to create new music that will sustain your career into the future and satisfy the creative impulses that led you to this career in the first place. i made a post awhile ago about the weird audience expectations that surround live performances of electronic music, and how frequently they differ from the reality facing the artist being paid to perform electronic music. even if cole’s comments here were supposed to be off the record i still really admire the sentiment being expressed and appreciate someone in his position being willing to be forthright about his frustration with the dissonance between audience perception of what touring is and the role it actually plays in his life
he’s also been really nice both times i’ve met him