“I can be rather embarrassing”, Interview in Focus online – Germany

A nice interview here from Germany, a rough translation.

The British pianist and singer talks about his fiancee, Sophie Dahl and his good friend Jamie Oliver. And he reveals why he recorded his new album in the kitchen.
By FOCUS-Online-writer Tina Werkmann

After four years, a new album: Jamie Cullum is sitting in a good mood in his favorite bar “The Regent” and chats with employees. He lives just a few minutes, a little rundown in North London suburb of Kensal Green. A small placard on the bathroom reveals that occurs, his brother Ben, also a musician, here next week.

ABC Online: For your new album, you could be four years time. What took so long?

Jamie Cullum ‘Catching Tales’ was released in 2005, after which I spent two years touring the world. When I came home, I was totally at the end. I had to make erstmal pause. So much I played football and tennis, did a bit with other bands and was found to be honest, quite often in this pub.

ABC Online: And your record company can just give it?

Cullum: Not just like that. If they could, they would let me toil like a beast. I am nothing more than a commodity for them. That sounds arrogant perhaps, but as an artist, you have to break away from such constraints. I knew that I must have real hunger for a new album, so it will be good. So I simply turn off the phone when called, the record company. And after eight months I was actually relaxing necessarily return to the studio. I think the result I was right there. It is the first of my albums that sounds exactly how I imagined it.

ABC Online: Is “The Pursuit” on the shelf for pop or jazz?

Cullum: I will always described as a jazz musician and am of course honored. But “The Pursuit” is in my opinion, almost a rock album. In other words, if the album would be a person, the heart of jazz. But the skin, bones and organs of pop, made rock, funk and hip-hop. To me, these genres are not as far apart as many think.

ABC Online: Why do so many people do not like jazz?

Cullum: Because it’s complicated. As a child I knew I had something like about jazz, but I have not ever understood him. It is just as if “Ulysses” is your very first book. You start to read to understand a word and just think, “what a mess.” But if one knows something with Dublin and has previously read some other books, you realize quickly that it is a work of genius. It’s the same with jazz.

ABC Online: You have recorded several songs on your new album in the kitchen. What’s so great about your kitchen?

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Cullum: At home, the kitchen was always the main room. There is nothing better than eating with the family. So I thought to myself, I combine three of my favorite things to play: Food, cooking and music. Of course we have all the songs recorded in the studio, but some passages from the kitchen, listened to simply better, so we used them. It often happens that what I just fry them and me there remember a piece of music. Last night I had cooked me a big piece of meat over hot coals. I stood for hours outside in the cold, but it was worth it.

ABC Online: You can tell that you are friends with Jamie Oliver.

Cullum: “It’s absurd stories are often in the press, but this is true for a change. We met a few years ago, understood us right away and have since become really good friends. We also have much in common. I love cooking, he loves music and plays drums in a band. I know some musicians who are really good and like to cook. This is probably because we often come home late at night and is the only alternative to a kebab cooking.

ABC Online: And, well, he plays drums?

Cullum: He has played in a charity concert times in my band, and is not bad at all. Listen, he is perhaps the most interesting cooking, which it currently exists in the world and he can keep a pretty good rhythm on the drums. One can hardly ask for more.
ABC Online: Just like Jamie, you are also involved in schools.

Cullum: When we’re on tour, I’m going with the band during the day in local schools and the kids do with music. That makes me more fun than sitting around on the tour bus and wait for the concert that evening. Moreover, it is a very loose way, the children about instruments. It is more like a workshop and is not organized as strict as a school lesson.

ABC Online: It sounds as if you had even had some bad experiences?

Cullum: I jingled as a child, something about the ukulele with my grandfather, but music lessons at school was pretty boring. It was just like math or English – something you need to do. After a botched test, I chose from piano lessons and had absolutely no ambition. I would have never previously have imagined that I earn my living with music times. I was surprised that years later I rediscovered music. At that time, with 14, my favorite instrument was the guitar.

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