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Isobel Campbell

2005 Year-End Artist Survey

Jan 01, 2006 Photography by Autumn DeWilde Isobel Campbell
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Isobel Campbell

Top Ten Albums of 2005

1. Richard Youngs: The Naive Shaman
2. The White Stripes: Get Behind Me Satan
3. Madonna: Confessions On A Dancefloor
4. 50 Cent: The Massacre
5. Alasdair Roberts: No Earthly Man
6. Matt Sweeney & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy: Superwolf
7. Directing Hand: Bells For Henri Lesage
8. Jandeck: Glasgow Sunday
9. Vashti Bunyan: Lookaftering
10. Lucky Luke: Patrick The Survivor

What was the highlight of 2005 for either you personally or for the band?

A highlight of 2005 for me was getting Ballad Of The Broken Seas in the bag.

What was the low point of 2005 for you?

A low point of 2005 for me was being very, very poor. It took a lot to keep the wolves from the door.

What are your hopes and plans for 2006?

My hopes and plans for 2006 are to work some more, tour for once, and see what other adventures arise.

If you could drop a copy of one album in the mailbox of every American citizen, what album would it be?

It’d probably be After The Goldrush by Neil Young or Gris Gris by Dr. John. Then again there’s also Desire,Blood On The Tracks and Blonde On Blonde by Dylan or Old Skin For The New Ceremony by Leonard Cohen. It’s a tough one.

Will the iPod, and its ability to combine all genres and its emphasis on individual songs, render the album format irrelevant?

Perhaps, at the moment it looks like it could go that way, though I hope not. Seems to be making music more about the listener than the artist. Maybe this is a good thing? Though the disposable times in which we are living are sad. Also, there is nothing quite like the romance of discovering an ALBUM by a great artist - think ofBlue by Joni Mitchell for example. It’s the great sum of all the parts.

With Kate Bush, Gang of Four, Ray Davies, Scott Walker, and others issuing new releases, what icon needs to return and make another album?

I’m not sure what icon needs to return. I’m kind of bored with it to be honest. There’s a lot to be said about knowing when one’s time is up. It seems to me that people don’t like to stop very much these days, though ask me again in a decade or two.

With the mainstream success of artists like Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, The White Stripes, and Franz Ferdinand, has the meaning of “indie rock” shifted? Has the term lost all meaning?

Although I may have been in one of the indier than indie pop collectives, I’ve never been very interested in this kind of labeling. In fact, it is quite often irritating. Labels are inhibitive. Just do something that you love. That’s the most important thing.

If you couldn’t be a musician, what other profession do you think that you’d enjoy and why?

I might like to own a cake shop, I’d enjoy sampling product - and cakes always smell really great when they’re baking. Or being a gardener may be nice. All that digging, being close to the earth and NO COMPUTERS!

If you could travel through time, where and when would you go and why?

I’d like to travel back in time to be an American Indian squaw or perhaps a milkmaid in Rural England or be a seamstress to Marie Antoinette or something. In the first two it’d be great being so close to the earth. I love nature worship. Being a seamstress I would love to be surrounded by sumptuous fabric - quite decadent! Then again, being a shepherdess or Roman princess would be pretty great too!

Do you feel more or less optimistic (about music, about your personal life, about the world in general) than you did a year ago?

I feel a lot happier in general than I did a year ago. However, I don’t know if I feel more optimistic about the world in general. The world (and life) can be tough and cruel and crazy with little reason sometimes. Or when there is a reason for a people’s hardship it is usually a bad one.

Arcade Fire broke through in 2004. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Wolf Parade broke through in 2005. Who will be the “it-band” of 2006?

I don’t know of these things.

If you had/got to switch careers with another artist or band, who would it be and why?

Maybe I’d switch careers with Chris Hillman? I liked the suits the Flying Burrito Brothers wore. He was cute. The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers are two of my most favorite bands.

What, in your opinion, is the most pressing problem that is affecting the world right now and if you had the power, what would you do to address that problem?

Maybe the greed and evil of the western world is a pretty pressing problem and its abuse of power. If I had the power I would somehow try and get folk to realize that there’s enough to share round. Fuck oil. Failing that, I would try and get scientists to release some kind of love gas, then the world could be kind of like the garden of Eden without the apple or the snake!

Do you have any other thoughts about the current state of the world or the state of the music industry?

I have many, many thoughts though they’d be hard to pin down.


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