Three high-profile musicians who have chosen to live abroad.
An enGlisHMAn in PAris Joseph Mount nAMe Founding member of the British electronic Known As pop group Metronomy Love Letters, 2014 lAtest AlbuM 32 Totnes, United Kingdom AGe born in Paris, France resides in
— “I probably would never have left England if I hadn’t met my partner in Paris, where she and I have been living together for several years now. I had no deep desire to leave. When you spend most of your time touring, there’s a 70 % chance you’ll meet the person you love far from home, so you really have to learn to be flexible. I love the Parisian lifestyle, especially the veneration of fine cuisine and the social customs that come with it. Treating dinner as the main event of the evening, for example — taking time at the table to appreciate what you’re eating and drinking. In England we dine early and quickly so we can then busy ourselves getting dead drunk by 11pm, which often puts the dampers on the evening. But there are things I also miss, terribly. Nearly all the buildings here are twice as high as those in London, and I often feel a lack of open space, of access to the sky. I’ve returned to England to make each of my albums, although I’d love to record in France or the US one day. But the reason I haven’t until now is that there’s a part of me that keeps wanting to make authentic English music, to be fully a part of that tradition. I’m very influenced by wherever I happen to be. When I moved from the country up to London I was 24, the perfect age to enjoy the nightlife, and that led to Nights Out. The next album, English Riviera, was a sort of imaginary projection of the place where I grew up — Devon, on the coast. I’d have these daydreams of the golden age of seaside glamour, which Devon certainly never knew. My new album has lots of songs that have to do with the feeling of being uprooted, far from the one you love, and missing out on what’s happening back home. It’s something any touring musician has to handle — at some point they end up hopelessly obsessed with the idea of going home. Love Letters plays with this idea and the emotions that I think go along with it, although I can’t say that I’ve felt all these emotions myself.”
a CanaDian in lisBon Alex Zhang Hungtai
Dirty Beaches, ghostly Known a s garage rock musician
latest a lBum Drifters / Love is the Devil, 2013
34 Taipei, Taiwan age Born in
Lisbon, Portugal resiDes in
“I’m talking to you f rom Shanghai where I’m celebrating the Lunar New Year with my family, who’ve been here several years now. I was born in Taiwan, I spent most of my adolescence in Honolulu, and I’ve lived many years in various parts of the States, in Canada — but really, I feel I’m from nowhere. I’ve just moved to Lisbon, where I adore the architecture, the weather, the food, the pastries, the friendly people, the ocean, the low cost of living. Before that I lived a year in Berlin, a city of many contradictory qualities where I felt I found a mirror. Berlin has this weird tendency to amplify people’s character traits. I’d never lived in a place like that. Unfortunately, I was one of those North American expats who today are destroying the city’s identity. I said I lived there, but I believe that in the past year alone, I was in over a hundred different cities ( I’ve stopped counting ), striding across Europe to Volgograd and Jerusalem. This wandering has always been central to the identity of the Dirty Beaches project, which feeds off of t ravelling and being in exile far from home in order to speak of life from a foreigner’s perspective. It all fits perfectly with the odd itinerary that’s been my rite of passage. And the need for it just grows stronger, to the extent that I now relocate from one country to another every few months. At this stage, the whole notion of ’ home’ can be summed up by the bed I’m sleeping in. But my music is also inspired by places where I’ve never set foot — like Egypt, or this district in Istanbul that inspired me to write a song after I fell asleep watching a documentary on it that worked its way into my dreams. I thirst for lands and cultures that I don’t understand, and everything that for me is unknown. Maybe in the process of understanding these new lands that I’m always exploring, I’m actually discovering a part of myself that’s hidden. I’m going to take a short break from touring to write and record some new songs in Lisbon. Then I’m going to perform in China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand. And maybe afterwards I’ll move to Asia — who knows? I think it’s always better to have a clean slate and just let the wind take you …”
They happily went
where the wind took them. Inspired and inspiring,
musicians Joseph Mount, Alex Zhang Hungtai and John Grant
speak of the need to be elsewhere.