With her solo, audio-visual ‘Loops in Secret Society’ tour kicking off this October, Jane Weaver is coming home to roost with a run of shows we’re all aching to get into.
Manchester’s stunning spaceship-esque Royal Exchange theatre is just one of the venues hosting the highly visual interpretations of her newest work. We’re expecting an experimental, musical nova of a show!
If you feel like Jane Weaver has appeared all of a sudden on the music scene, you’ve been looking in all the wrong places. It’s true, her ‘Silver Globe’ and ‘Modern Kosmology’ albums have somewhat propelled the experimental songstress to the fore of a UK scene perhaps more open in 2018 to her original take on creativity; but the biography shows eight albums and three decades worth of devotion to her craft. Everything about Jane has a vintage meets future feel about it. The typography is 1960s psychedelic folk meets sci-fi; the image of Jane in a black and white motorbike helmet and white jumpsuit holding a 1980s Suzuki Omnichord is kitschly retro and futuristic all at once.
Weaver’s two recent albums have been reworked for the solo tour. Collaborations with visual artists and videographers, paired with a choice of venues that lend themselves to a more theatrical interpretation, suggest we can expect a uniquely atmospheric experience when we get inside. We’re promised that Jane will be toying with melodic codes, vocal treatments, cinematic motifs and drum drones via her unique AV setup. It’s a combination that will make each show a different watch; a different challenge.
We caught up with Jane who was kind enough to speak to us about the tour and her place in the music world.
FLUX: Are you excited to be on the stage without the rest of the band? Will you be playing all/different instruments in the solo show?
JANE WEAVER: It’s exciting and a bit scary, I’ve been touring with the band for years but I used to do solo shows for some years before this, for this show I’ve written new backing tracks which have been made into dub plates so it’s a combination of DJing, playing different instruments and singing.
FLUX: Why did you decide to do a solo show?
JW: I was lucky enough to receive Arts Council Funding which allowed me the opportunity to produce something different. I wanted to make the events a bit more cinematic and theatrical, I think most of the venues are seated too. I’ve been back in the studio re-working backing tracks at Eve Studio’s that I can then work with live. My friend Emma Beech from ’Trouble at Mill’ in Chorlton has designed and made special costumes for the tour, so there’s been a lot of creative work going on! It’s actually been more labour intensive than normal on the pre-production side!
FLUX: Have you worked with any one on the visuals for the shows?
JW: Nick Farrimond who worked on the the video for ‘The Architect’ with Andy Votel and the artist, Gary Clarke, has made a film specially for the shows. They are loops of collages of imagery he’s made combined with other footage. Some is from Sam Wiehl who did visuals for our last tours – he also does AV for Hookworms and Immix Ensemble. When Nick and I talked about it initially it was also important to pay tribute to the artist ‘Hilma Af Klint’ who was the inspiration behind the last album ‘Modern Kosmology’.
FLUX: Where did you play your first ever gig?
JW: An upstairs room in a club in Widnes called ‘Players’. My friend ran the indie night there and gave the first band I was in a break – we were all 16 I think! I grew up in an industrial town between 2 cities, there was a vibrant local music scene and I was lucky to be part of it. It opened doors for our band and we eventually got signed to an indie label through Polydor.
FLUX: Who are you listening to at the moment?
JW: I’ve just been listening to a lot of library music as my husband and I were djing last week for the KPM All Stars event at The British Library, there’s so much stuff. It’s very comprehensive and I feel like I have so much to learn. Today however I’ve been listening to Fairouz, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Cluster and the new Exploded View album. I also did a radio show which included some Horror soundtracks for Halloween!
FLUX: You have been a musician for a long time. Have you ever felt like walking away from it? Are there times when music is more important to you than others?
JW: There’s no escape from music, it can be like a sickness and a cure. Creativity is a wonderful thing but I do struggle with the industry side of it all. No matter what level you’re at the entertainment industry can be a bit brutal, and it’s no wonder it goes hand in hand with mental health issues either. Unwittingly involving yourself in the competition and popularity of it all is surely a distraction from what you should be doing as a creative person.
FLUX: You’ve referenced Hilma Af Klint as inspiration for your last album. Can we expect something of a mystical séance atmosphere in these shows?
JW: I hope so! I love the idea of channeled energy vibes and unification! Hilma Af Klint was my muse, and I’m still learning things about her. More people need to celebrate her work and her life. The Guggenheim in New York has a new exhibition of her paintings for the next six months so I’m hoping to get over there and see them in the flesh.
FLUX: Love your logo. Who’s the designer?
JW: Thanks! Andy Votel designs all my graphics.
FLUX: Are style/image/visuals an important part of your creativity? Does it feed in to the music?
JW: Definitely, it’s so important to have good sleeve design and art. When physical LP sales dropped years ago on the mainstream front, it’s like the graphic format of LP design dropped off for some people. It never has for me and seeing that square of art is such an important part of the puzzle.
FLUX: There are so many disparate references listening to and reading about your music and like/dislikes from disco to psychedelia to art with Klint to Kate Bush to Arabic pop and loads more. Is there something they have in common that you pick up on do you think?
JW: I have no idea, it would be interesting to find out what the link is. It’s funny because algorithms don’t get it right and the recommended music digitally is sometimes pretty bad based on what you’ve listened to! I think pop music is changing technically and structurally but you have to embrace the future and see progression. I’m pretty open minded tbh.
FLUX: If you could revisit a moment from your creative career what/when would it be?
I guess the excitement surrounding the release of ‘The Silver Globe’ and it being voted Piccadilly Records number one record of the year. It totally took me by surprise.
Jane Weaver’s ‘Loops In The Secret Society’ UK Tour:-
17th Oct: Pleasance, Edinburgh UK
18th Oct: Leaf, Liverpool, UK
21st Oct: Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, UK
30th Oct: City Varieties, Leeds, UK
6th Nov: Hackney Arts Centre, London, UK
7th Nov: Trinity Centre, Bristol, UK
8th Nov: Komedia, Brighton, UK
9th Nov: Arts Theatre, Nottingham, UK
For more on Jane Weaver see https://janeweavermusic.com/