Jonnie Common: 'I felt like a bit of a basket case when I was making it'
- Niki Boyle
- 21 September 2017
Experimental singer-songwriter heads out on the road with music from his unnamed forthcoming album
Jonnie Common has a healthy reputation for experimentalism. His last album, 2016's unexpectedly beautiful Kitchen Sync, sampled found sounds from around his kitchen; the year before, his release with hip hop side-project CARBS (the excellent Joyous Material Failure) was built on a backdrop of malfunctioning electronic devices. It's surprising, then, that his latest, still unreleased album originated with a more stripped-back approach to songwriting. 'I wanted to be able to play all of the songs on guitar, unaccompanied, as a kind of measure of how good they were,' says Common. Ever the deadpan, he waits a beat. 'That hasn't really happened – it probably works for about half of them, but at some point it was just like, "Well you can either do that and sacrifice some of the more experimental side of things, or you can just get on with making music the way you make music."'
Following a few standalone gigs to workshop the material, he's now embarking upon a short stint of tour dates in early October – and Commonites should take note, as they're the last guaranteed airings of the new tracks for a while. 'It's entirely written – I just don't have time to record it, which is super-frustrating,' says Common. 'I don't know, it might be another year before it's out, which is horrible now that I've said it out loud.'
And the title? Jonnie's got one, but he's not sharing. 'I don't want to say in case it changes. I'm pretty sure it's not gonna change, because I've been sitting on it for quite a while. I feel like it's a good representation of the album, which is kind of reference to … not mood swings specifically, but emotional ups and downs, just because I felt like a bit of a basket case when I was making it.'
Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Thu 5 Oct; Tolbooth, Stirling, Fri 6 Oct; Hug and Pint, Glasgow, Sat 7 Oct.