The Scotsman Sessions #105: Miaoux Miaoux
Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, Franz Ferdinand’s Julian Corrie, aka Miaoux Miaoux, performs Giga Shrug from his 2015 solo album School of Velocity on a hilltop above his home in Mallaig
“Well, it’s changed my life completely,” responds Julian Corrie with a laugh, when asked how becoming a member of Franz Ferdinand – with whom he has played synths and guitar since 2017 – has impacted him over the last few years. “I’m really proud to have been able to tour the world and play music, and to meet so many lovely folk,” he reflects. “We had a couple of covid cancellations, but this year was mostly a year off for us, which is incredibly lucky.”
Lucky too because it has given Corrie some time to refocus on his electronic pop solo project Miaoux Miaoux, which has largely lain dormant since an all-consuming schedule as a member of one of Scotland’s biggest rock bands commenced. A very special Scotsman Session finds Corrie digging out the bleep-tastic track Giga Shrug from his last album, 2015’s Scottish Album of the Year Award longlisted School of Velocity, for a performance filmed on a hilltop above his home in Mallaig on the west coast. On one of the last fine evenings of the strange summer of 2020, the setting sun provides an epic natural lightshow silhouetting the isles of Rum and Skye behind him as Corrie sets the heather ablaze.
“I walk the dog up there a lot, thought it would look nice on camera,” he comments of the choice of location. “There were quite a few takes, I kept messing up the performance. There are a few where the light is amazing but I do something stupid and ruin it. There was a walker up there while I was performing at one point. I think I spotted her in this take and had a laugh to myself. I must have looked like a right wally.”
Of the choice of song he adds: “Giga Shrug is one off the last Miaoux Miaoux album that was never played live so I thought I’d get a good recording of it. Also it has a ripping keyboard solo in it, an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
“Everything is going through a Synthstrom Deluge, which is this all-in-one sampler/sequencer/synth that Lewis Cook from Free Love turned me onto. It’s battery powered and just does everything you could ever want. All the vocal effects and synths are on there. I just dug out the multitracks from the album version of the song and made some loops. It’s the first time I’ve used it for live performance and it worked great.”
Having been on tour pretty much solidly with Franz for the last three years, Corrie has been enjoying some well-earned time off of late. But lockdown and the opportunity for reflection that has come with it has proven useful for pondering how best to go about re-engaging as a solo artist with a music industry which has changed dramatically just in the last five years since he released a Miaoux Miaoux record. New material may be on the way sooner than you think.
“It’s such a weird time to be a musician, notwithstanding a pandemic,” Corrie reflects. “The traditional structures for releasing records are still in place but the way people consume music has changed completely. I’ve asked myself many times what the point of making another album would be, and what I want out of music, which I think has changed a lot since I made School of Velocity in 2015. But I still absolutely love it, and I want to share what I love. I’ve made a bunch of instrumental music, some dance stuff, have written a few songs. I actually have a finished instrumental album that I could put out tomorrow if I wanted. Maybe I’ll do that!”
He might need to do it that quickly, because Franz Ferdinand are gradually gearing back up into action and new material may soon be in the works from them too. “We’re just starting the process of recovening now, I met up with Alex [Kapranos] last week, there are plenty of exciting things in the pipeline. Hopefully this nonsense will end soon and you’ll find out about them.”
For more on Miaoux Miaoux visit https://www.facebook.com/miaouxmiaoux/
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