“It’s a lot different now,” says Blur singer-songwriter and guitarist Graham Coxon, inhaling his arc.He looks back on the difficulties think tank An album session that led him to leave the band in 2001. “I should have talked much earlier about my own difficulties, anxieties, and harmony with the world.” But is he ready to talk now? “Yes, yeah, because of recent events, I’ve been treated almost every day for over a year,” he says near a computer video screen.
The famous shy musician is one of the UK’s most acclaimed musicians, both as a solo artist who has released nine albums so far and as a quarter of Blur. Still, he was always an introvert of the group and had the hardest time rising the stratosphere in the 90s. In his new album, he found a way to speak out his recent sorrow by adopting many different personas. Superstate Is a dystopian concept album in which Coxson plays a variety of characters, exploring the themes of loss, regret, and neurotic fear of the future, even without the people and places we love.
“If I pretended not to be myself, I realized I was a better singer and lyricist,” he shrugs. “By putting myself in another character, I gave me the strange freedom to say what Graham Coxon doesn’t say, and perhaps sing what he doesn’t want to try.”
Coxson cuts out a gentle figure in a cozy DIY studio set up in a spare room at his home in London. Surrounded by instruments piled up high in every corner, he wears gray and black striped vests and his trademark heavy-rimmed eyeglasses. His answer is quiet but thoughtful. What led him to treatment? He paused, thought carefully, and then suddenly shook into the back of the chair. He looks away and inhales deeply.
“I can’t say much about it right now. I’ll go someday, but it’s pretty difficult now. I lost my mother in March. I don’t even know if I’ve done it right yet. That’s terrible,” he said. Explain, the pain was carved all over his face. He is also working on a larger “recent crisis,” he says, “personal,” but for now he can’t go there.
Indeed, the starting point for the album was the loss of one of his idols in 2016. “When David Bowie died, I had a special strange feeling and I remember going to the studio and writing the song“ We Remain ”,” says Coxson.This melancholy masterpiece incorporates the voice and style of 52-year-old Bowie. Next day The times. As the hymns to Bowie go, you will have a hard time finding another one that is constantly beautiful.
Sometimes I lost my house. Coxson immigrated to the United States in 2018, but his admiration for England was too great. Last year, I returned to Japan in the midst of a pandemic. “The song was also about not regretting, missing, and not taking good care of others. [imagining] A future without culture. I thought, “God, I might live on Mars soon,” and started thinking about what I missed. And what does he miss? “A view of the train passing through the Essex countryside. Roads, walls, roses.”
Coxson found that undertaking various personas was a necessary element of liberation for him to be naked. For example, the piano-powered movie-like “Tommy Gun” is afraid of the children left behind when the main character of the song, the parent, died. This is a premise that feels crushed in the light of Coxson’s recent news. “This is really personal to me, because as a parent, the whole idea that you are no longer around and your child has to go out to the world wants you to look down on them. Because there is.
“Originally, the name of the two daughters was included in the song, but I changed it – it’s too emotional. I can think and write things. But in reality, to say a few of these things out loud, what you wrote, the feelings behind what you wrote, or what it actually sings is even worse. It’s so amplified that it’s pretty overwhelming. “
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Writing with personality, not as Graham Coxon, liberated him.It was a trick he discovered creating an angry comedy series soundtrack The end of this sci-fi world When I’m not okay with this, He wrote in terms of the show’s character, not himself.
“Pretending to be in a post-punk band in 1979, pretending to be someone like Roger Miller, or pretending to be someone who might have knocked out Beck or Scott Walker in 1991. The shoes released me when I was inside, “he says. The result, ironically, feels like the most autobiographical album of Coxson’s career to date.
“Comprehensive about Superstate It’s basically my head, “he explains. “That means it can’t be anything else. It’s really about my delusions, my experience with an intolerable and difficult personality, and how I reacted to them. I did it all. Divided into letters and actually let them pass. The way to understand it all gives these characters good and evil, all the characteristics of yourself and others, and how they do with it. I think it’s about seeing if it fights. “
Fighting it is an important element of the new album. Over 15 songs, Coxson built a vast sci-fi universe where characters fight evil forces. There are angels, demons, gods, and masters, exhausted people, and trampled people. The synopsis of the album, written by Coxson, states:Superstate It’s a story of an escape in a society where war intensifies between negative and positive forces, and the forces of encouragement and disappointment. Only the fight against oppression, chaos and brutality leads to a fragile path to freedom, a planet called heaven. The characters in the song often fight the devil. Coxson fought in 2001, just before his eldest daughter was born.
When Blur peaked, Coxson was debilitated with undiagnosed anxiety. He drank hard to relieve pain, rehabilitated, and was later fired from the band. “Thirty years ago, no one said,’This is anxiety,'” Coxson recalls. “That was the only thing that alleviated my anxiety, so I drank a lot, but I couldn’t stop. Then I got a hangover and became anxious again. At that time, I was so absorbed in mental health. No one was there. It was a bit like,’Backup, you’re an idiot. What’s wrong?’ If you’re lucky, slap your back and say, “Get out there and keep going.”
The constant tour schedule meant that his condition deteriorated and he didn’t want to go on stage. He said it was “really sufficient” in an industry with constant demand and felt that “the state of mind was not taken into account.” “In 1998, there was nothing wrong with me. [than] He went up to the stage and was indignant at the audience. I didn’t feel very good, “says Coxson sadly. “I spent a lot of my twenties from this very quiet, anxious and gloomy person in less than an hour until it was completely different and awkward and unclear why. It’s much better now because I can see it in action. How I’m wired, and the template in my brain clicks to become the default, 7, 18, or You can see how easy it is to be exactly the same as at 21. “
“The other boys in the band also worked until we died, but that was normal. We were traveling to America, and you were left to do what you liked. After entering the dressing room in a large mountain of liquor, enter the dressing room and drink everything. You play well and then drink. Then, after a two-week tour, wonder why you are crying. You don’t know what happened. “Why am I crying?” Because there was enough and the limit was reached. “
Part of Coxson’s recovery after checking in to Priority was brought about by art and “drawing therapy.” Since childhood, Coxson has relieved anxiety by listening to music and “drawing songs,” and art has proved an effective strategy.Coxson brings art and music together Superstate In a way he has never done. The album is released with a graphic novel with a comic book story that matches each song on the album. Coxson wrote them all (with the help of Alex Paknadel and Helen Mullane) and he chose artists to bring them to life.All his solo works so far (and Blur’s 13), He also draws the project’s dystopian cover art himself.
“I used to write songs and listened to them to understand how the world felt. [drawing] The Beatles and anyone’s song, “he says. “That’s what became my world. I express myself by drawing and get inspiration from music and art about the feelings and feelings of others and all the information about the world. They both saved him. “Music was a playground for me Did it Confidence. It’s like a world where my flaws disappear. “
He says he will struggle in most social situations. “It’s always been really hard for me to be comfortable. It was easy for me to struggle myself about how I’m doing as a person, socially, and everything else. He was pretty confident when I first met Damon. He didn’t seem to care about people’s thoughts. He didn’t apologize, was honest, and I always spoke straight. I was impressed by the assertive people. ”He thinks this is getting better now. “The good thing about getting older is that you don’t really care what people are thinking.”
This not mind can be seen vividly Superstate.. The song is much longer and much more experimental than Coxson’s previous solo work. He not only played all the instruments himself, but also challenged new and amazing genres. “People are SuperstateBut in a good way. I was listening to Sly & The Family Stone and King Crimson. There is some kind of progressive fun clock happening with lots of psychedelia. This is new. Songs such as “LILY” have hints from the 80’s, but the SF soundtrack and Duran Duran’s albums are not strange.
“Yes, I somehow noticed that I was a little in Duran Duran,” Coxson laughs.He played on some songs on their next album Future past We played together at this year’s Billboard Music Awards. “The hardest part was trying to find a clothes rack that wasn’t very spiritual for me to wear,” he laughs. “I put on a beginner’s amount of eyeliner. It was a lot of fun. It was surreal and a lot of fun. They are all really great and personally the same as Blur.”
After he reunited with Blur in 2009, his bandmates became more intimate than ever. “When we came back together, I think we were a little more thankful for what we had and realized that Blur was actually so much fun.” They plan to work together again soon. Do you have? “It’s been some sort of debate,” he says. “We told some loose stories about it, but it’s good that we all do different things.”
For now, Coxson is enough to deal with. He focuses on therapy and another project that he describes as “beautiful and really positive.” He says he expects this to be seen at the end of the year. “Creative people must be creative,” he says. “Songs are a good place to deal with all sorts of confusion, sadness, and anger. Internalizing them wouldn’t help.” He surely looks into the camera only once. “Painting and making music is, in a sense, a subconscious cleanout for me. I’ll always have to do that … as me or someone else.”
He may need to draw and make music like everyone else, but real Graham Coxon has never been so vivid on the show. Superstate It’s his solo masterpiece, not anyone else’s.
“Super State” came out