Jamie Telford from My Glass World has had an interesting musical life, having recorded with The Jam and The Style Council, composed for television and radio and dipped his toes into contemporary classical music. Luckily, things are only getting more intriguing with latest project, My Glass World, a collaboration with accomplished cellist, Dinah Beamish. Together they’ve produced Book One, a work of startling beauty, maturity and complexity that combines a dreamy-folk aesthetic with classical sensibilities and references. We spoke to Telford about his latest musical adventure and Ghandian philosophy…
Hello, please introduce yourself and your music to the uninitiated.
I am Jamie Telford, a composer and singer/songwriter. Together with cellist Dinah Beamish we perform as My Glass World. We have a very concentrated sound based around vocals, piano and cello with quirky percussion, odd guitars and other bits and bobs. I work hard on the songs, and hopefully people get the emotional content in the push and pull of the music, alongside a dab of irony and wit in the lyrics. The reaction so far tells me most people understand where we are going. It’s simple but poignant and hopefully something people perceive it as beautiful as well as moving.
Tell us a bit about your latest release?
We have just released our first album Book One out on Luxury Noise, which we recorded towards the end of last year, partly in our home studio, with a few tracks mixed by pals. We’ve had a couple of brilliant reviews, which was not necessarily expected, but they give you lots of motivation to carry on. Although we’ve both had lots of musical experience we’re still getting used to playing together, and I think the next time we record we’ll see the development of the greater understanding between us. It’s a “quiet ” album but people tell us it really grows on them – which is just as it should be. The album was recorded over a six month period in the gaps between the rest of our lives
What was your best ever gig?
Strangely we played in a barn in Scotland to a few people and there was something in the air…Our connection is improving. It’s a subtle thing but it comes out when you play live. Being relaxed is one of those things that you can’t always control, but when you’re out there, and you’re relaxed and in the groove, then it sure comes across.
What’s the worst thing about being a musician?
It’s not a career for the faint-hearted, however even the worst things about being a musician are relatively speaking unproblematic, compared to some of the things you have to face in the non- music world. Personally I’m grateful to be recording and playing, and that there’s an audience that wants to listen…. It’s a lovely thing to do. Maybe hanging around waiting for things to happen before gigs – that’s a bit dull.. although we have laugh whatever…We had a gig in a tent in Tewkesbury a month ago, and had a mini pub crawl on the way home stopping at places with unusual names like “Nettlebed” in Oxfordshire. Anything to break up the routine.
What inspires you?
The unusual, the unexpected, and not necessarily the musical… Strangely I seem to find more inspiration in poetry and art than music at the moment. I have being reading French poet Paul Reverdy – very simple poems that are very powerful, and have a big emotional punch. Similarly, I quite often get inspiration for songs from art works and their concepts… Musically, I think we could introduce more elements of contemporary music into what My Glass World do in due course. More Space and less obvious orchestration maybe.
If you won a billion pounds what would you do with it?
Keep a million to work with and give the rest over to saving the ecosystem and promote Ghandi’s philosophies: political decentralisation, to prevent massive concentrations of political power in the hands of too few; economic decentralisation, to prevent massive concentrations of economic power in the hands of too few; absence of oppression on the basis of race, caste, class, language, gender or religion and a deep respect for mother nature, necessitating an economic system based upon the preservation rather than destruction of the natural environment.
Which of your songs is your favourite and why?
Personal favourite from the album is ‘For Yat’. I wrote it really quickly and it more or less wrote itself unlike some of the other songs. It has a nice story which might be bit long-winded to relate here, however it was heartfelt and I felt I’d encapsulated a few things in the writing, that gave it a few layers… Some of the songs, especially the ones that take a long time to write can often lose something in the process. I like the track ‘My Glass World’ as well, it has a lovely cello part, and a really nice arc.
What are you plans for the future?
More gigging and recording the next album. We haven’t performed enough yet, and are just starting to find our feet. Ambitions would be to attract decent audiences and perform in interesting places to interested people… I like the concept of playing in exotic locations. If you’re reading this, please book us for that one-off gig in a cave in Norway. We’re packing skis already.
I’m not sure we’re absolutely suited to playing in huge arenas until we recruit the Psycho- Acoustic Orchestra of the Underworld but that still leaves the whole wide world to bump around in…. I’m recruiting for the Orchestra now, but please please let us know which instrument you play, so we can get you to play something else.
Finally, we’re always looking to expand our musical horizons. Do you have any recommendations of bands or artists we should be looking out for?
Hmm….There’s such a lot of interesting artists out there. Quite often the new gets lost in performing versions of the past. There are still original voices…however they can be hard to find. How about Christian Marclay – not new, but not very well-known, a turntable artist, unusual. Oh yes, and the Psycho Acoustic Orchestra of the Underworld…. album out on Luxury Noise next week….