Interview: I Am Giant

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By Ben Doy

I Am Giant’s have recently released their third and final album ‘Life in Captivity’. Featuring the singles ‘Dead Flower’, ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Don’t Look Back’, the band are currently touring New Zealand; their final tour and last hurrah in NZ. 

I caught up with bassist Paul Matthews to find out why this is the end of the line for I Am Giant.

The latest I Am Giant album 'Life In Captivity' has just been released, and it’s set to be the final album from the band? 

That’s right, yeah. With the way things work out it became to hard to get together. Aja lives in Australia, I live in London and Shelton lives between New Zealand and London. Initially we thought we could make times and get things done. But it’s been a lot harder to get together than we thought. Things had slowed down and it seemed like the right time to make this our last one, and we’ll go and work on other things.  

Where did you record Life In Captivity?  

We recorded the drums in Berlin, while the rest of it we recorded in my studio in London. When we were writing the album the better part of it happened in a burst of enthusiasm during the European summer of 2016 - and then I had to finish it the next year. So it took about a year to come together, even though it started really fast. It became hard to get everyone to get it finished. 

We had our friend from Berlin who is a guitarist play with us a lot around Europe. He came up to London and wrote a bunch with us. So he actually recorded the guitars in his studio in Berlin. 

Did you know it was going to be the final album at the time?  

No. We just thought we did the best we could and as we finished it up we noticed it had become quite difficult. Conventional wisdom says if you want to make great music you have to put a lot of time and effort into it. And it’s just not possible to put the time in anymore. It’s a really great record and we’re really happy with it, so it’s just a good time to move on and do other things.  

As well, I think a lot of bands become like part of the furniture. You’re just used to them being there and the novelty just kind of wears off and you just want to listen to different things.  

And you’ve got the farewell tour as well!  

Yeah! We go to Greymouth for the first ever. We’re doing Nelson, Greymouth and Christchurch in the South Island. We couldn’t get a venue in Dunedin. Then in the North Island we’re doing Auckland, playing Homegrown in Wellington, and then doing Tauranga and Hamilton.  

What can we expect from the tour?  

You’ll hear all the best songs from all three albums. We’ll play old classics from the first album... if I’m allowed to call them classics. So we’re going to make sure that we have a really great tour. We’re going to enjoy it, we’re going to catch up with all our fans and friends that we’ve made over the years.  

Do you think the last night could be quite emotional?  

Hmmm... yeah I’m not sure I want to get too emotional. It’s that stiff upper lip kiwi thing, haha. But it could do. It’s going to be a lot of fun regardless. You know what? We actually have our last New Zealand tour, but we actually have a festival in the Ukraine we’re booked at in August. So we have one last European run.  

The grand finale!  

That might be when we get emotional. 

What have some of the highlights been being part of I Am Giant?  

I always have to say playing with Slash. When we opened for Slash we got to meet him and there was a downstairs at one venue where Slash was playing one of our riffs on his guitar and he was saying “I like this song man!”. That was really cool. 

I think probably the opportunity to travel to a bunch of different places in the world, and play to people in different countries. That’s a definite highlight!  

What plans do you all have following the final show? 

We’ve all got a few different things that we are working on. We’ve all got other musical projects that we’re already involved in. So we’ll see what happens. I’ll be based up in the UKl; I work as a producer with a bunch of people including a young band in Canterbury called The Alchemy. So I’m looking forward to them getting their album out at the end of the year. 

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