Messing up with… jo syme from big scary


Why did you leave the ‘mistakes’ in your new album? When we came back to playing together again after a five-year break, we were reflecting on what Big Scary is. The simple answer was that it’s the music made by Tom and Jo together, so that’s what we embraced. We could have neatened up every element of our performanc­e – handclaps out of time with snares, shakers that flam with the hi-hats – but we decided to let those bits stay a tad loose so what you’re hearing is what we actually sound like. Would you describe yourselves as perfection­ists? Perfection­ism is an enemy of creativity and output. I think Tom and I strike a good balance between exploring how far to take a song so it sounds its best and not letting fear of failure or a desire to reinvent the wheel prevent actual progress. You slip up while playing live on stage – what do you do next? Try not to smile and make it really obvious. If it’s small enough, you’ve got to just pretend you meant it – that’s jazz, baby! What have you learnt from your failures? My main failures have occurred when I haven’t had time or headspace to focus on something properly. Know when to say no. Trying to take things on to help people isn’t helpful if you aren’t going to do a great job. One thing you’ll never be good at? Knitting. I’ve given it a few attempts, but cannot keep a straight line. What’s the best perfectly imperfect song? Cat Power’s cover of “Sea of Love” is a little out of tune on the autoharp, loosely timed and lo-fi, but it’s exactly how it should sound.

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