Chris Corner started his musical career by cofounding Sneaker Pimps with Liam Howe in Hartlepool, England. From 1994 to 2002 the group released three acclaimed albums of which the last two saw Corner expand his role to include that of vocalist. Corner moved on to form his own fiercely independent project, IAMX. Starting with an album release in 2004, IAMX has been Corner’s core musical focus for his personal and introspective songs. Corner spoke with Auxiliary from his adopted home in Berlin where he lives and works in a disused German Democratic Republic (GDR) industrial space in former East Germany which he calls Turmwerk. The multi-talented and charming musician talked about the upcoming fifth IAMX album, The Unified Field, and his insights as an artist on topics including making it on your own and human nature.
interview by : Aaron Andrews & Elizabeth Rhodes
Let’s start with your new album, The Unified Field. Can you speak a bit about the title, as well as its themes and ideas?
Chris Corner : I can tell you what the title means. The Unified Field is primarily a scientific concept, or a theory actually, that comes from Quantum Mechanics and has kind of permeated philosophy and also meditation. It’s based on the idea that underneath everything, at the very core of existence, there is an infinite plane of consciousness out of which everything is born, is created. So we have this unified field of consciousness, which creates super strings, quarks, atoms, humans, galaxies, everything that exists. What I like about that is, it’s something scientists have been trying to discover for a long time, they haven’t got that much solid evidence. So it’s in more of a conceptual stage, but they’re pretty sure that they’re getting there. For me it feeds my philosophical imagination. I like the idea that everything is connected and it almost replaces the idea of god. The song, “The Unified Field”, it’s not so specifically talking about that but it’s using the kind of glorifying reference of the unified field to connect us all and make a positive, uplifting statement about that. That concept does pop up throughout the album, it’s quite a nice place to start. There’s many themes on the album though.
For this album you decided to enlist Jim Abbiss as co-producer, as well as having Liam Howe (from the Sneaker Pimps) helping with some programming. It seems that in that past you’ve sought a creative isolation, why did you decide to seek collaboration on this album?
CC : Well. I’ve never been seeking isolation, it just found me. My work on my solo project came about through a bit of frustration and maybe not being so content with compromising my ideas and also wanting to find a more singular vision. But also it did come about through sheer practicality of basically not finding the people I felt I could work with, that would really understand me. I think that’s also what happened to IAMX as a project in general, it became a fiercely independent project. Its very nature is bit of an left field, outsider nature. Through practicality of not finding the right people I just ended up doing everything myself. There was something very satisfying about that and you don’t have to constantly please others when you write something, you don’t have to think about anybody apart from your idea at the time. It can be very satisfying but over time it also becomes very isolating. It wasn’t a choice. I mean, I made choices sure, but it wasn’t what I was aiming for. Volatile Times was the pinnacle of that, not the high point but the lowest point of that isolation. It was very difficult to make emotionally. So once I’d finished that, when I was drained emotionally I made a promise to myself I’d never make an album alone again.
read the full interview in the April/May 2013 Issue