Photo by Upneet Neetu Bains
Stabbed by a radioactive Pitchfork, Tom Krell has completed his transformation from Cologne-based philosophy grad student to a full-band-fronting, post-glo-fi, Jacko-flecked ‘PBR&B’ singer. With a new album, Total Loss (Domino), the American blog idol will keep his feet on the ground whilst reaching for the stars at Bi Nuu on Monday, October 29.
You’ve been doing a lot of interviews...
That’ll be about 100 in the last five weeks. I don’t know if everyone does this, but I’ve actually learned quite a lot about myself and what the album is about and I’ve actually done a lot of the thematising kinda retrospectively. Like, “Oh yeah, shit... that WAS what I was doing there!” That also comes from touring too, like when you start singing the songs out – you’re in the neighbourhood of the affect of the song, and then you, like, see people react and you go, okay THAT’S the affective charge of the song, that’s gonna make people feel the dissonance. I think of the songs as just something about this collective sharing live, and you start to realise what the songs are up to.
You’re attempting to motivate specific emotional states?
Yeeeah... not quite. The way I think of it, a certain affect PUTS a human in an emotional state, but the affect kinda lives outside of any given human. It might live in an image now, in a human now, in another song now, in a movie now, in a child now – affects kinda have a world of their own. It’s a Platonism of affect, basically.
This is rather esoteric.
I just think, basically, that affects are charges of energy that produce different results in different sort of material instantiation. So, like, the way an affect registers cinematically is different from the way that same affect registers in a sculpture or in a song. Or in a person or experience. Or in life. What I want to do in a song is – I’ll be moved by an image or a personal experience that was ambiguous or stirring somehow. Or a turn of phrase or something, and what I want to try and do is go to where that affect lives independent of its instantiation that moved me, and see if I can trace it out in melody.
You’re attempting to depersonalise emotion.
I wouldn’t say ‘depersonalise’, but I’m interested in the place that affects connect to multiple people. I’m NOT interested in confessional poetry, which is, like, about ME ME ME ME ME and my experience. I do want it to be more transpersonal – interpersonal, rather than personal. I find that I have this moment where I’m, like, this is my experience, and then I realise, “Oh you’ve had that experience too.” There’s something there that now you can see lives between us.
So, the language is almost a technology that could be used to access the affect.
No, that’s exactly the opposite of what I mean to say.
How to Dress Well, Mon, Oct 29, 21:00 | Bi Nuu, Im U-Bhf Schlessiches Tor, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Schlessisches Tor