I first heard about Mancunian singer-songwriter Jim Noir last April, while traveling through London. By the time I returned home, his debut album, Tower of Love, seemed to be getting attention in Toronto too, including a large display at Sonic Boom. But Jim Noir himself was not so lucky crossing the ocean. When Sean Lennon took the stage at the Opera House last week, he welcomed Noir and his band, saying he was glad they could finally join them – apparently trouble at the border had forced them to cancel their appearance at some shows. Fortunately for us, Noir was able to not only take the stage, but speak with Torontoist for a moment as well.
Read on for our interview.
How’s the tour going?
Great… it’s, uh, an adventure.
I wanted to ask you about Tower of Love. I know it was put together from some EPs but it still sounds really cohesive as an album. Was that something you were conscious of when you were recording?
Not really, I don’t really plan where thgings are going to go. I just usually write a bunch of tracks, put the link tracks in at the end.
What kind of influences do you have? A lot of press seems to cite the Beach Boys. Is that accurate
Yeah, I mean, it’s accurate… but you know, it’s not really creative is it? For the journalists out there… But yeah, I agree.
Anything more specific?
Bands from England- Super Furry Animals, Beta Band, Stereolab, and bands I find interesting.
You covered Cat Stevens recently [“Here Comes My Baby”, for a bank commercial]. What about him?
Oh yeah, yeah, totally. I mean, he’s not a direct influence on what I was trying to do, but I’ve definitely got his albums in me collection.
One similarity I found was with Elliott Smith, who also tended to record all the instruments on his records.
Oh yeah? I can’t see the similarities musically, but there’s a similar guy in Britain called Badly Drawn Boy.
Why the choice to record everything yourself?
Because I was pretty much unemployed. It was just something I was doing with me time. I wasn’t planning on being in a band or anything. Just having a laugh- it was a side-project.
Out of your house?
Yeah, I was living with me parents. And I was mainly trying to get my electronic stuff heard and out there. You know, it’s difficult to get into that, because it’s such a niche. And this was just like a side-project, seeing if I could do it. And it ended up an album and selling records.
It’s impressive, especially considering you must have friends in bands of their own, also trying to make it.
Most of my friends are in bands that I think are great. It’s not like I’ve left everything behind. There’s a lot of talent bubbling around; it’s quite a nice community there in Manchester. So I’m just one of the ones who got away, or got a break.
What’s next after the tour?
I’ve pretty much done half of the next album. It’s a lot more electronic-y. It’s going to be a lot more ‘pro’ sounding, because I’ve learnt so much. But still pretty short pop songs; to the point, no messing around.