Interview: Stuart Warwick

Stuart Warwick has just released his excellent second album "The Butcher's Voice" and was kind enough to answer a few questions about it.

Puppies in the artwork of an album, that's always a good choice, even if you put them next to a butcher.  My dog is like the one with the tongue out. I can't stand it most of the times, but he's good company in general. Do you have any of your own?
No sadly not. I would love to own a dog someday though.

Butchers, with their white robes, their knives and their wisdom on the insides of creatures. What do you find so intriguing about butchers?
Well I'm not so intrigued by butchers specifically but I am interested in examples of extreme masculinity, and what form they take. I choose to make the central character of this album a butcher after something a friend said to me. We were out walking her dog (a terrier named Bess) and at one point the animal started chewing on some piece of rubbish that had been discarded on the street. I instructed the dog to drop the litter from her mouth to no avail. My friend then informed me that a deeper more menacing tone would make her drop it. She called this voice her 'Butcher's voice.' Sure enough that worked. So this idea of an authoritve intrinsically masculine tone of voice, which she attributed to belonging to a butcher, became the genesis of the albums themes.

On March 1st/2nd you'll perform Brighton's Booth museum with its collection of taxidermied animals. Now that will be spooky, right?
I hope so.

The album is so beautiful. But it is about a butcher, which is a crowd un-pleaser. Do you have any lines I can use to attract my friends to listen to it?
I can't really sell myself too well. I guess just tell them you really like it.

What was your goal, making "The Butcher's Voice"?
Just to make a good, artistically worthy album. 

Describe the process of making the album. How long did it take you to complete it? Did you have any help on producing it?
It took just over a year to record. I relied on favours from friends to help work on it when they could. Aidan O'Brien produced it and he is the reason this album exists. When I took him the original songs I had it in mind that I would produce the record myself. If I had though I would have made a very different album and it would have sounded nowhere near as good. Aidan made every composition soar, he developed sounds and ideas that made every song be the best it possibly could. I owe him a great debt, he is a truly remarkable man, not just for his abilities for the mechanics of sound but also as a human being. I am very fortunate to whatever good fate brought us together. Also it's worth mentioning that Joe Rubel spent many hours mastering and mixing the album and did a stunning job. I was fortunate to meet him (through Aidan) and now he's a good friend.

Your songs are so diversified. What are the elements of the perfect song, then?
Something that connects with you instinctively. It's hard to say. It could be a great number of elements, but more often than not it's the voice. It's the thing people really listen to.

I bet you actually have a Hello Kitty, but I can't decide on which one. Any clues?
I don't actually, although my friends 3 year old has a vast collection and I play with them with her sometimes. 

What was the best dream (as in when you sleep) that you've had about your music?
To my knowledge I've never dreamt about my own music. Or maybe I have and just can't remember.

Your music provokes such imagery. Haven't you had suggestions about making film-music?
I'd dearly love to work on a film. Hopefully in the future I might get asked. If not I will just have to make my own film so I can score it.

That is, apart from having your music in a documentary about porn. How did that happen?
I'm friends with Buck Angel and he just asked if he could use it.

People are always making comparisons between artists. This, obviously, can be a bit awkward. But if you could choose one, which artist would you like to be compared to?
Comparisons are a necessary evil so I don't really mind who I get compared to. Recently I got mentioned alongside Perfume Genius which I was thrilled about. He is an exceptionally gifted songwriter with a beautiful voice, so I'm honoured if people think I do something akin to his music.

Dan Reeve's Faux Discx records (home of his Cold Pumas and Soft Walls releases) is releasing the CD and vinyl. After you self-releasing "The Ordeal", why did you choose to go this way with the new album?
Dan is one of my dearest oldest friends. I was best man at his wedding and we have a long history together. When he heard the album he offered to put it out and I accepted pretty much immediately. 

Any suggestions about Brighton bands I should google? There's quite a few that have come out your hometown.
Oh there are some fantastic acts in this town. Here are some worth checking out:
Mary Mapton
Animal Magic Tricks
Serafina Steer
Stuart Flynn
Cold Pumas
Kristin McClement
21 Crows
Jane Bartholomew

Do you actually work in a video shop? And, if so, how is business these days? What were the best sellers of the holidays' season?
I work in a video shop and soon that will end. People don't rent films anymore, everything is obtained through the internet. It's sad really.

Your atheist version of "Silent Night" is something to cherish! How has it been received?
Oh I don't think anyone really commented that much on it. I enjoyed doing it and would like to develop more atheist friendly versions of Christmas songs. I may do one ever year.

How did you get the part in the Twilight Sad video and what was the experience like?
My friend Craig who directed it got in touch with me when he was casting people for the role. Initially he wanted someone a lot older but I sent him a photo of me looking a bit creepy at work and he really liked it. I really enjoyed doing the shoot and would love to be involved in other music videos. When Craig makes his first feature I'm hoping to get a cameo. 

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