Interview: Jiminil

You may remember I mentioned Jiminil’s song “Spider” in the summer new music feature. We’re lucky to have him here on the blog to talk about his music! Today, his new song “Family Tree” is now available to stream. It’s a mysterious song about a family unit in disarray and the narrator speaks to their family. Who is the hero? Who are the villains? Well, that’s up to the listener’s interpretation and that’s the fun of music. Once a musician releases a song, the listeners create their own meanings and interpretations based on their life experiences and opinions. Below, you can listen to “Family Tree” on Spotify:

I had a listen and watched the music video and it’s a beautiful acoustic gothic folk song and a very cool music video visually. If you’re really into 60s and 70s folk music, Jiminil’s music will be something you’ll enjoy! If you can’t wait for more music, his debut album is coming out later this year. Below, you can watch the music video for “Family Tree”:

Just some background information about Jiminil before we get to the interview. He’s originally from Belfast and is now based in Nottingham. His style of music is definitely folk, but with other influences, especially psychedelic rock. Some of his biggest influences are Bob Dylan, John Renbourn, Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, John Fahey, John Marytn, Van Morrison, and Joni Mitchell. If you want to learn more about Jiminil, keep on reading!

Angie Moon: How would you describe your music to a new listener?

Jiminil: Eh.. I’d probably spew out something like “late 60s/early 70s folk-influenced garden indie rock tinged with psychedelia and jazz. That’s a mouthful. Indie-folk I guess?  I just play acoustic guitar and whatever comes from it seems to come! I’m blessed to collaborate with great musicians who take the folk thing to a whole new level. I mainly just sit around noodling in open tunings – Fahey/Renbourn/Jansch/Drake/Martyn style stuff!  

Angie: How did you get into folk music and 60s and 70s music in general?

Jiminil: I originally got into 60s/70s stuff in my teens. I was really into Beat/Freakbeat style stuff, then stuff like The Who/Led Zep etc. The folk thing came through Dylan. A friend from home in Belfast showed me Dylan and it changed everything!  I was obsessed for a good year and listened to little else.  I wandered from it for a bit and was more into soul or the mod/beat thing (amongst many other things) for a while, but then on my 18th Birthday I got a tattoo by a guy called Lee Rogers, who is an amazing musician, and he showed me what really got me into the folk-guitar thing.  I’d been busking that day, so had my guitar with me & he taught me ‘Don’t Want to Know’ by John Martyn.  We listened to Solid Air twice while doing the tattoo. It blew me away completely. I still don’t think there’s many things that come close to my first time hearing that. It’s just so gloomy and powerful – it cuts right through you.  I love how the whole record sounds so smooth but it’s fraught with emotion & John really, really digs in on the guitar.  It’s all this wild, raw energy converted into this smooth, beautiful jazzy record. From there I got into Nick Drake & Bert Jansch. Pentangle really did it for me. No cringey folk-rock stuff from them in my opinion – they were always just  really cool. Then heard things like Fahey & Basho. I had a huge Folk-Blues phase in university too. I could go on for days about this, sorry!

Angie: What do you like most about music of the 60s and 70s?

Jiminil: I just got drawn in by that fire and it’s rawness initially. I’d been into guitar music from I was around 11 and ventured in & out of it. I really liked punk when I was quite young, then going through beat/freakbeat/garage 60s stuff still had that same vibe for me so I guess that way. I would say it was the songs, but in all honesty I didn’t really get in to any nice melodic 60s stuff ‘til a bit later. I really didn’t like the Beatles until I was around 18/19. The textures are the main thing I really still appreciate there. The dense arrangements – strings, brass, harmonies, tremolo all over the shop – I love that. I really like the way 60s & 70s arrangements smooth over the warm, crackles to provide a nice listening experience when someone’s really digging in.

Angie: You like a wide variety of music, how do you usually discover new music?

Jiminil: I’m blessed to live amongst a vibrant music scene in Nottingham – I’m constantly being turned on to new things by the people around me and new people I meet. It’s pretty basic but I do a lot of Spotify digging too, find something I like & just wiggle around it as much as I can. Bandcamp’s good too, but you gotta know where to go.  It has it’s faults but I really like Social Media for that reason. A lot of US blogs like Aquarium Drunkard, Petal Motel, NO Depression, Raven Sings the Blues & New Commute’s Instagram accounts generally fit exactly my mould of what I’m into so I’m always looking around there if my queue is looking thin. I’ll generally try to buy records from Bandcamp if I’m discovering a new, smaller artist that I really, really like. Can’t beat crate digging too but there’s not been a lot of it done in the past couple years!

Angie: What albums were the most influential to you as a musician?

Jiminil: Definitely Solid Air as I mentioned earlier. Five Leaves Left by Nick Drake too. Desire by Dylan is HUGE on me. Harvest by Neil Young. Lorca by Tim Buckley. The White Album. Earlier on probably things like Urban Hymns by The Verve have stuck with me, What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye, Anything by Lightnin‘ Hopkins, Fun House by The Stooges! Astral Weeks by Van Morrison’s a big one. Basket of Light by Pentangle. Joni Mitchell’s Hejira (I could pick anything from Joni Mitchell really but this is a belter). Things like I Need to Start a Garden by Hayley Heynderickx & Jessica Pratt’s first album were really big for me too. Anything by the holy trinity of Steve Gunn, Ryley Walker & William Tyler. Fleet Foxes first album! That’s a bit chaotic but that’s what has come to mind here. I’m sure there’s some unspeakable omissions I’ll get pelters for but If I crack on I’ll get carried away.

Angie: How did you get started as a musician?

Jiminil: So my mum was a musician and was really lucky to have been fortunate enough to tour in an orchestra when she was at school. So when I was growing up music was really all around me. My Grandad drummed in a local marching band & looking back at pictures of me in living rooms with dodgy carpets in the 90s it seems I had a toy drum kit when I was crawling around. My grandparents saved up for many many years so my mum could have a piano and I was lucky enough to benefit from that too & my mum’s incredible talent and guidance. I ploughed through classical music and the grades and what have ye until I broke my arm which meant I couldn’t bend it round to sit at a piano properly so then I picked up my dad’s guitar which he had started learning as a hobby, that was much more comfortable – my dad was definitely the one who got me into the guitar side of music. He’s got great taste! We’d started a band in school before even then & went through many phases – some pretty dodgy pop punk band names I won’t mention here. Then I used to busk on the streets of Belfast when I was 16-18 then to make a bit of money. From there I went on to I start doing Soul & Blues covers in a couple of pubs. Once I moved to Nottingham I started to hone the craft a little more.

Angie: What inspired “Spider” and “Family Tree”?

Jiminil: “Spider” basically came from a place of wanting to do something a bit more fun from previous projects as I felt they were always a bit too emotionally straining. The lyrics have a duplicitous meaning that I won’t say too much about. Basically “The Bug Collector” by Hayley Heynderickx sparked something about insects which made me look at one of my biggest fears and my relationship with it. 

We’ve had a torrid time in British politics of late so it’s also kind of a reference to “Boris the Spider” by The Who and the Tories. I’ll let people take from that what they will! Musically it’s quite a chuggy train finger style thing, then I’d been listening to Rosinha de Valença so the Latin-style chorus came in as a nice contrast. Texturally pretty much everything I do I like to be as dense as possible so everyone layered it up in their own way. I’m proud of it!

“Family Tree” comes from a place of a little more sincerity – it’s intended to be a gothic-folk-tale and with a bit of mystery behind. The secrecy’s sort of intended in it too so I don’t wanna say too much right now.  It’s kind of based from a personal experience but way exaggerated for dramatic effect. Musically I wanted it to be super gloomy, a droney guitar with driving drums. The big post-rocky chorus was a ‘happy accident’ I think. 

Angie: What was writing and recording “Family Tree” like?

Jiminil: It was fun to write, the repetitive lyrics meant it was super fast to write.  It said all it needed to say almost instantly. I’m always noodling around riffs like that, so that came together quite quickly in an evening. I took it to Cam who’s on drums and we kept it simple which we very rarely do! It just felt great from the off set, almost powerful which I wasn’t used to. Everyone’s parts just flowed pretty naturally I think! 

Recording was super easy, we do everything at Cam’s studio – Summerhouse Recording Studio. It’s my home from home! It all came together quite well as it just felt great. I think John did his bass remotely as it was still during the pandemic. For that reason sessions were stunted a little but once we could it came together quickly. Alice added her cello which instantly made it sound so beautiful and Henry went to town on it with the electric guitar. I think there might be as many as 5 electric guitar tracks. He’s a magician! I always hate recording vocals but I think this went relatively smoothly. Cam will probably tell you different though!

We sent it off to Tom Rees for mixing and he nailed it instantly – another wizard I’m grateful to work with.  Eddie Al-Shakarchi mastered it and that was that! 

Angie: What inspired the aesthetic and concept of the “Family Tree” music video?

Jiminil: Almost as soon as I wrote the song I had the idea for doing that! So it’s filmed in our house, so the aesthetic is basically just my partner & I’s house, we’re that spooky on a daily basis. I wanted to play all the characters to try something new & Soph has an incredible wardrobe which I’ve always wanted to dress up in so it was as good an excuse as any. I’ve always been into spooky stuff, so I wanted it to have that feel & feel really classic. It’s really down to Marie, Steph, Ivy & Ben at CLUMP who nailed it, Soph too for getting me dressed up and doing the make up & hair etc. I basically just did fun stuff in different costumes for a day while those guys made magic happen. Was honestly one of the most fun days I’ve ever had – I’m sure the outtakes are hilarious. I struggled to find stuff to get angry about so I was half-cut screaming ‘Get oot ma swamp’ for about 20 minutes at one stage.

Angie: What are your future plans for your music?

Jiminil: There’s an album!  It’s almost ready. A long process. Real fun though! Got a load of instrumental stuff I want to do too & then I’ve got some more electric stuff. Waiting for my big ‘JUDAS!’ moment on stage some time in 2022.  Main plan is to keep making fun music with good friends for as long as possible. I’m also going on tour playing bass in Alice Robbins’ band in November, so anyone in UK please come out to those!  It’s gonna be great! I’ll hopefully have a few more shows of my own to announce soon too!

Angie: I see you’re going to play a festival in Wales, Focus Wales, soon, can you tell me about that?

Jiminil: Yeah!  It’s been rescheduled a bunch of times so I’m glad it’s finally going ahead. I’m really excited as I had to cancel my first 3 shows due to isolating. Gonna be real fun going to Wrexham, playing a couple sets on the Friday. Anyone in Wrexham come down!

Angie: What have you been listening to lately?

Jiminil: I keep monthly Spotify playlists on my artist profile which should show that.  Been listening to loads!  Today I listened to the new GOAT album, the new William Tyler & Marisa Anderson album, Fang Jr’s new remixes EP, Tempest by Bob Dylan & some Kikagaku Moyo because I’m going to see them tomorrow in Manchester!  Can’t wait.  Sorry that was a pretty shitty self-promo kinda answer. Also check out all of Fang Jr’s stuff, Alice Robbins too. Also Catmilk & Brown Fang.

Here’s my artist profile with the monthly playlists – they have fun names but don’t be put off. I nabbed the idea from The Blindboy Podcast my life/craic guru.

Angie: Any words for your fans?

Jiminil: Thanks for putting up with my shit! Stay safe have fun support people and keep ‘er lit!

You can follow Jiminil on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Shoutout to Patrick and Jeffrey from Maryland for supporting the blog!

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