Playback, an interview with Robert Jonnum (page 1 of 3)

Seeing Ai Phoenix perform live somehow lifts the air of mystery that pervades their new album, The Driver Is Dead, like a body-bag being unzipped to expose not a tortured soul but a beatific glow. By having Mona Mork there before us, a undeniable presence not an undefinable entity, and seeing the increasingly frequent glances and smiles break out between the five members on stage they counteract any suspicion of a devilish ulterior motive for being here on our doorstep. “Ai Phoenix
impart a sharp sense of melancholic dread and encroaching violence which keeps them nearly earthbound,” reads our second review of this remarkable album, Greg Weeks’ viewpoint going someway toward supporting my outlandish claims. Theirs is a mischievous blend, as founder member Robert Jonnum explains:

“Hopefully we may be serious about our music, and at the same time have fun making and playing it. It's the same paradox as some people seeing our music as depressing and pessimistic, although it obviously optimistic music.”

Perhaps less obvious to your audience. Are your fans the intense bed-sit type or is there no typical Ai Phoenix fan?

“As the members of this band are completely different from each other, it would seem strange if our fans were of any special kind. From what I've heard single mothers, firemen and circus artists all like us. And usually they're the romantic kind, and we take romance seriously.”

What memories do you have of your recent travels in the UK?

“We've had a really good experience playing [there]. The first was a warm up gig for Snowpony at the Garage. Nobody had ever heard about us, but the audience was really interested and paid attention - completely different from what I expected from London. Travelling has been a bit worse. On our last tour our car broke down, then we had a break in, and finally we got a flat tire - all this in two days. The performances were good experience though.”

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