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Q&A: Scissor Sister JakeShears

Same Same chatted to one of our favourite gorgeous glam rockers as his latest New York recording studio session turns out to be an earth-moving experience.

Yes, Jake Shears and his Scissor Sisters pals are now confirmed to be returning to Australia for Summadayze in Melbourne, Perth and the Gold Coast to welcome in 2012.

Our interview reveals the welcome news that a new Scissors album is well on the way, despite the talented team’s various side projects and extensive touring schedule. It’s all good, Jake tells us, and he’s having more fun than ever before…

Hi Jake! Where are you now, are you in New York?

I’m in New York, we’re in our little studio at the moment now making fun little tunes.

Oh wow, but did you feel the earthquake? We just woke up to the news that there was an earthquake that a lot of people felt in New York. Did you feel it yourself?

Yeah, we were recording in here and the microphone started shaking. We had to record the vocals and a lot of the equipment started vibrating around. It was really exciting.

You’re making the earth move. What have you got planned for the next record then?

Oh you know we have tons done so far. We’re on the way to another record, and we’re really excited about it. We have great songs and it’s a great time for us. Our heads are all in good places and we’re just having fun. I love the stuff we’ve been writing and yeah, I think we’ll have music out to hear later.

Great. It’s interesting you say you’re having a lot of fun because it feels that way following your career. Like you’re confident at the moment and that’s really coming through, you’re allowing yourself to have more fun.

Absolutely. I think it’s also just getting a little bit older. It’s funny that this whole year and a half my anxiety on stage just completely evaporated and I had so much more fun performing without anxiety. You know, I would always get very nervous and quiet before I went onstage, but I just go out now and have a great time.

It’s amazing how our dynamic with people has really matured and changed. I think as a band it brought us together in a really great way and solidified our relationships with each other and really solidified us as a band. It’s a really great thing to see relationships evolve and progress and not stagnate.

That’s amazing, and I know it’s not just you that’s the creative powerhouse in the group. Everyone else has their own blend of talents that they bring to it, don’t they?

Absolutely. We’ve always worked with people and branched out but it’s really great.

Babydaddy’s been working with this girl called Elle King who’s from Ohio. She’s incredible and they’ve been making this amazing music together. Ana [Matronic]’s always got various performances and things going on – she’s been working with this amazing group called the The Joshua White Show and they did these amazing shows in the planetarium in New York. She does oil effects; it’s really incredible. And I did this musical which just opened in San Francisco beginning of June that I worked on for five years.

So it’s really good to have those kinds of distractions and to get your head in a few different places. Because it’s nice when you come back together as a band or in the studio, and you have these other experiences you can feed off and not these solitary world as just a band and that’s all you do.

Keeps things fresh. That show you were doing, was that Tales of the City? How did that go?

It’s been amazing, it’s been the biggest show (at ACT theatre in San Francisco) they’ve ever had. It did remarkably well. It was such a complex process. It was very satisfying but backbreaking. It’s still the craziest work I’ve ever done. It was just like a fever dream or something. With a band you’ve got 6 or 7 people on the same page. During a musical you’ve got about 100, with all the crew and the costumes – it’s insane, but so gratifying and exciting. I can’t wait to see it up again. I’m looking forward to the next iteration of it.

So now that the new songs are coming together are you getting a sense that your next album will be a concept one or will there be a different feel to it?

It’s going to be very different from Night Work. It’s going to be much more broad than Night Work and so far it’s a broad swath of songs. I think the themes are going to start emerging really soon. You can’t tell when it’s really going to start taking shape and how things will tie together. But I love so many of the songs we’ve really; I’m really very excited about it. You just know when you’ve written something that’s special and I think we’ve got some really special songs.

You’re lucky to work with such talented people all the time. One of the things I love about the Scissor Sisters is that you’ve been able to work with so many greats, like going on tour with Lady Gaga and working with Elton John, who I read somewhere was one of your friends. You’re quite close with Elton?

He’s one of my best friends. He’s family. I don’t know what I would’ve done the past six years of my life without him. He’s just been an incredible friend.

I must ask about New York and gay marriage coming in. Could you ever imagine one day getting married?

Well I call my boyfriend my husband now anyway. We’ve been together for over seven years now. We’ve got two houses together and a dog. We’re still madly in love. I don’t know if we’ll ever officially get married. It may not be our bag really, but it feels like we’re already married.

Since you’re so often on tour, do you get much of a chance for time off and to go out? What big nights out have you had recently?

I have to do it on holidays. I spend at least a week/week-and-a-half in Spain every year. I stay in Barcelona and I got o Ibiza sometimes. I have little holidays and I love raving. I fucking love clubbing so much. But I really have to strategise and plan those times carefully because we’re working so much, we don’t really stop. I really have to be strategic about when I take a clubbing holiday because it’s just so easy to get warn out.

Tell us, are there any more episodes of ‘Scissor Sisters TV’ coming up?

Oh God! I love those too. We loved putting those together too, they were just such a laugh. And that newscaster is Babydaddy’s brother! He’s a comedian in LA and he’s just fucking hilarious. So we’d just get all those together and every month we’d watch them and laugh hysterically. They were really just a joy to create. Yeah, we’ll be doing stuff like that, definitely. We’ll have other fun projects like that – and that was Babydaddy’s idea. I never really knew how it was going to work until I saw the first one and I loved those things.

How’s Dave Grohl doing?

He’s amazing! We’re going to see Foo Fighters real soon. He and his wife are massive Scissors fans and come to our shows. They’re just wonderful lovely people. I really want to collaborate with him on something – who knows, but he’d be a blast to write songs with.

What I love most about your recent album, Night Work is that it feels like every song has a visceral sexuality. I wonder, was that controversial in any corner of the world? Some albums and some artists get banned from certain countries. Did that happen to you? Did you get any weird feedback about it?

No, I wouldn’t say there was weird feedback. Night Work wasn’t a record for everybody. It spoke in a language that was a bit more specific, and it was about themes that were a bit more specific. The whole album’s one of our most conceptual we’ve made thus far. So I didn’t get any weird feedback, just that it wasn’t necessarily for grandma. And that’s fine. You make the things that you got to make.

It was amazing to see who it connected with. In America we had a real fun thing happen where people really discovered us through that album unexpectedly. We got a ton of new fans here and the shows were really fresh. It was interesting here, especially with the tour with Gaga and playing to these massive audiences, playing for kids. There’s this really great discovery with the band.

I’m so proud of that record. Love it love it. That record was a massive triumph for me, personally because I’ve struggled for so long with that album and gave up on it. When Night Work happened it happened so fast and I felt so creative and reinvigorated and excited and inspired about it. I never knew if that was going to happen again, so that record is special to me. I never knew if we would make another record. I’m so proud of that album.


Sat 31.12.11 Phillip Island Pyramid Rock
Sun 01.01.12 Melbourne Summadayze Tickets on sale at
Mon 02.01.12 Gold Coast Summafielddayze Tickets on sale at
Tue 03.01.12 Perth Summadayze Tickets on sale at
More shows TBA…

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MrAsh said on the 7th Sep, 2011

Great interview Matt! It sounds as if Jake and you got along FABULOUSLY!

I'm not a huge Scissor Sisters fan. Yet I really love Jake Shears as an artist.