❉ Jules Maxwell talks about ‘Burn’, a new collaboration with fellow Dead Can Dance member Lisa Gerrard.
“I know Lisa Gerrard from Dead Can Dance,” says Jules Maxwell. “Do you know Dead Can Dance? I’ve been working with them as a piano player. Lisa is a singer, and I’m a piano player.”
The Bangor, NI-born musician, whose work has featured in London at the Royal Opera House, the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, is calling to discuss Burn, the lushly produced record he completed with fellow Dead Can Dance member Lisa Gerrard.
Apropos of form, it’s a difficult album to pigeonhole, but the music – replete with soundscape and mystery – more than compensates for any misgivings a We Are Cult reader may have. “It’s an album we put together over the last few years, maybe the last five years. It’s been recorded in different locations. Some of it was recorded in France, where I lived for five years, and we recorded a choir in Bulgaria.”
It sounds like he’s describing a James Bond film, but unlike Roger Moore’s approach to life and work, Maxwell says expediency was more important than location. “I think what contributed wasn’t so much geography, but working independently and quickly. We’d do a few hours in Australia, then I took her vocal stems back to France. I mean, music doesn’t have to be complicated; records are meant to be records.”
Through a collage of drones, divergences and directions comes Gerrard’s sharp voice, every note reaching that most desolate of feelings. In what can be more easily compared to tapestry, the installation that holds the framework is also the foundation that shapes the album as a project. “It was quite simple, really,” Maxwell says; “Even though it took five years. There’s a purity to the process. In the past, I have collaborated with people in one room, each of us standing together, feeding off each other.”
Instead, Maxwell is tasting the moment, and he’s happy to promote another album that’s equally close to his heart. “I have an album that was released in March – Nocturnes – and I have a second volume of work coming out in Autumn called Cycles. I’m very proud of that, and Dead Can Dance are hoping to perform again soon.”
❉ A regular contributor to We Are Cult, Eoghan Lyng is the author of ‘U2: Every Album, Every Song’ which is out now and available from Sonicbond Publishing, RRP £14.99 (ISBN 1789520789). Follow him on Twitter. Visit his homepage.
Photo credits: Robbie Perry. © Image subject to copyright.