Jeremy Warmsley interview, conducted by Roy Marmelstein and Rob Miles for Platforms Magazine
Moustache by Kate Heath

Jeremy Warmsley is a singer song-writer from London. Jeremy makes music, often it sounds like a fusion of melodic pop and electronica. His debut album is out this month.

We sat for tea and cake with a face-painted Jeremy Warmsley at this year's Bestival in the Isle of Wight.

ROB: Dictaphone, on.

JW: I used to have one, I was gonna use it to play stuff live to make little scroochy weebly noises but the technology isn't capable of doing stuff again, it's a one shot machine. either it works or it doesn't and if it doesn't you look like a twat.

ROY: We really enjoyed your show yesterday, we found out about you through MySpace. Do you have an album?

JW: I have an album coming out on October 9th preceded by a single on September 25th, the album's called "The Art of Fiction".

ROB: How long have you been performing?

JW: I don't know, about 5 years. I started off just playing lots of covers really, I'll do these covers and I'll tell people I'll play these really cheesy stuff to get them in and then i'll play a Bob Marley song or something and try to confuse them a lot and for that reason it never really took off. I was always writing but I started having the confidence to play more of my own music and eventually I just started to do my own stuff and then I realised about a year and a half ago that everything I've done up to that point was really planned and unambitious so I had to chuck it all away and start again from scratch. I think really constantly analysing what your'e doing and being really sure that you're in the right path of the circle, so many people play really wierd empty songs being natch on, not really concerning themselves with what they're doing and just doing what feels good at the time and I think there's it leads to complacency. My way of doing things leads to arrogance but I rather be arrogant than complacent so I guess...

ROY: Music selfish or selfless?

JW: It's so hard to answer that question without saying "OH, WELL I JUST MAKE MUSIC FOR MYSELF AND IF ANYONE LIKES IT THEN THAT'S A BONUS". When I'm recording, the thing I always do is think "would I like this if I wasn't me?" I just try and make music that I'll actually enjoy listening to, except that doesn't work anymore 'cause now when I listen to my music I just hear this stuff that I got wrong or the little details I never quite nailed, stuff that no one other than me is ever gonna notice so I don't know if there's some crazy paradox in there, maybe It's some not so crazy, maybe a very reasonable paradox actually...

That was a joke.

ROB: What do you think of MySpace?

JW: It's great for Musicans and people who want to organise their social lives and people who want to combine the two. In the long run I think it's gonna increase the slightly depressing and dangerous trend of music as nothing more than a social lubricant, like alcohol and I think that's a shame but in the short term, it's a very good thing for a lot of people who would otherwise find it very hard to get much exposure.

ROY: We were just talking about that if the Bestival was five months ago, Sandi Thom could have been headlining. Myspace does produce musical novelties...

JW: I don't think Sandi Thom would ever play at Bestival, I mean Rob Da Bank [Bestival organiser]... I never met Rob but Sandi Thom seems a very Radio 2 thing.... I suppose that Nizlopi are playing but I don't know...

ROY: Who's your favourite Beatle?

JW: John Paul Lennon McCarthney - kind of half of each, I love John Lennon when he is trying really hard and I love Paul when he is not trying hard at all. My Top 5 would be Strawberry Fields Forever, I am The Walrus, Penny Lane, A Day In The Life ... It's funny you ask that though, I was just acosted by an old friend of mine who now works for Amnesty International, he got me to do this webcast thing, just sing a John Lennon song because Yoko Ono has given all the rights to John Lennon's music to Amnesty International to use whenever they want . So I just sang "Jealous Guy" with a toy xylophone and my voice was fucked because last night I got lost on the camp site and I had to yell for my friends to find me.

ROB: What are you most looking forward to in the Bestival?

JW: What I was most looking forward to was Scritti Politti last night but it was such a disappointment I left after three songs, its this 80s pop genious who is like Brian Wilson with a really cheesy keyboard sound absolutely astounding, amazing melodies and ideas and arrangement and stuff but like Brian Wilson, songs that don't make any sense. It was really disappointing live though, it was just so cheesy. The thing I most enjoyed so far was The Semifinalists. The record and live, they are amazing.

ROB: Complete the following sentence- Mother used to say...

JW: My mother is a source of fantastic wisdom and she hasn't stopped being a source of wisdom. She still says.

ROY: Do you have any advice for young musicians?

Continue to question yourself. If you're not having success, if people are not enjoying your stuff, it's probably because it's not good enough - no offence. Ignore everything your friends say unless you really really think they've got any objectivity. If you are a solo singer/songwriter please don't bang your guitar and go on about girls because that's really boring.

ROY: If you were given unlimited funds to pursue any project of your choice, what would it be?

JW: Physically possible?

ROY: Yes

JW: With an unlimited amount of money, you could pretty much solve any poverty related problem in the world. I'll probably find someone much cleverer than me, ask them what they'd do and I'd do that. I'd find myself some nice things as well.

ROY: You are often seen as a part of this new scene, this new influx of music from people like Jamie T, Adele, Laura Marling etc...

JW: I think it's just a lazy way to... I think there's a lot of great songs being written by those people, but there are certain stylistic differences between all of us. On record, I use the computer and it's not really about the live thing on the record and I think with those guys it is What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get to a greater or lesser... I'm kind of up-myself basically but I see myself as slightly on the side from all of that and I think Jamie is on the side of that as well to be honest, I mean - Emmy [The Great] is a fantastic songwriter and Johnny Flynn has one of the greatest voices out of anyone singing at the moment and there are other guys who I'm not that familiar with their stuff but they're all doing great things. It can only be a good thing if there are so many good musicians around.

ROB: Do you think there is anything exciting and new happening?

JW: Exciting things are constantly happening everywhere.

ROB: What's your favourite book?

JW: My favourite book of all time this week is "How The Whale Became and Other Stories" by Ted Hughes which is a children's book about the creation of all the animals. It is an engaging and enthralling reading. All the morals in it are perfectly observed and unlike a lot of children's books, all the characters in it, none of them are very nice - God is just some bloke tinkering in a shed basically and there are all these really little details.

At the moment I'm reading David Mitchell's back catalogue, he won the Booker prize a couple of years ago with "Cloud Atlas", it's a great great book.

ROB: What about art?

JW: Visual arts I know absolutely nothing about. Forgive me.

ROY: Do you find though that visual arts influence your music?

JW: I can't think of a single example of a visual image in my songs. All of my stuff comes from ideas and words and stories, a lot of my stuff comes from stories I heard from other people. I'm actually about to start a side project which is based around taking flags and using them as a visual representation of music, so like, say you;ve got something that's three vertical lines like the french flag which means it's one thing then another thing and then another thing.