29.1.2019 @ Helsinki, Tavastia
Give Me The Stage, God Knows My Life Needs Staging
Transformation is at the core of Chris Corner’s music and
outlook. Ever since leaving wildly successful 1990’s trip-hop group Sneaker Pimps, Corner’s
process of becoming IAMX beginning in 2004 has been theatrical, transcendent, and communal.
Androgynous and visceral, IAMX has metamorphosed from small-town blue-collar kid to
international pop star in the 1990’s to creator of raw art that disrupts gender and genre in the 2000’s.
Fuelling electronic experimentation with punk energy and confessional lyricism, Corner’s goth and
industrial sound, fashion, performances, videos, and persona are larger than life,
iconoclastic, and shockingly intimate.
I Forget That There’s A World Outside
Growing up as a self-described socially anxious geek,
Corner’s interest in music was stoked by a “weird uncle” who would play “strange music” to him.
Interest became obsession, and obsession a means through which Corner explored his growing
fascination with technology. The interest lingers to this day, as IAMX not only writes and performs,
but also produces his own music. The awkward kid who spent a lot of time in his room became the
iconoclastic artist who recently spent weeks in a tricked-out trailer in a desert staring at
mountains, mining the silence around him, fastidiously mixing and engineering his new album, Alive In
New Light (AINL).
I've Seen Attention - See Through Me
Corner’s adolescent curiosity moved to a new level in his
teens when he connected with his older sister’s boyfriend Liam Howe, who became a friend and
collaborator. Their first band F.R.I.S.K. released two bedroom-produced EPs – Soul of Indiscretion,
World as a Cone – that provided an early sonic template for trip-hop in general. The pair also
performed as DJs under the alias Line of Flight. In 1995, Corner and Howe formed Sneaker Pimps in
Hartlepool, England with support from Kelli Dayton (vocals), Joe Wilson (bass) and Dave Westlake
(drums). The newly formed band took rave culture and the pop charts by storm with their 1996
debut album, Becoming X which featured dancefloor classics “6 Underground” and “Spin Spin
Sugar”, sold over a million copies, led to extensive touring, and attracted the attention of
Virgin Records who signed them.
There’s Something That’s Stirring Deep In Me
In 1998 the band’s changing creative direction lead to
Corner taking over vocals from Kelli, and Splinter was released on Clean Up records in 1999. Splinter
fostered a bourgeoning cult fandom, who continued with Sneaker Pimps through the band’s third
album Bloodsport (Tommy Boy) and beyond. Soon, Chris realised the band was no longer the
right vehicle for where his music was headed, and from this awareness IAMX was born.
I Know You’re Aching To Be Saved
Even though some of the songs on IAMX’s 2004 debut Kiss +
Swallow were originally slated to be on the Sneaker Pimps' fourth album, (and IAMX is itself a
reference to Becoming X), shades of Chris’ old life quickly faded as his theatrical and
gender-bending alias emerged with full force. From 2004 onward, IAMX maintained a hectic recording and
touring schedule, moving to Berlin in 2005 at the peak of its electronic renaissance. IAMX
released his sophomore album, The Alternative in 2006, followed in 2008 by Live In Warsaw.
Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction and its anagram remix album Dogmatic Infidel Comedown OK followed in
2009 and 2010, chronicling a dark phase in Corner’s life. As dark energy seductively
does, it produced compelling work, including 2011’s Volatile Times and 2013’s The Unified Field
albums, the latter of which is considered a milestone in IAMX’s creative development as a
musician and performer. Eventually, however, dark energy claims its toll.
The World Outside May Still Be Beautiful - But I Love This
Following a successful world tour in support of The Unified
Field, Corner fell into a depressive and insomniac state. His ordeals – detailed in his personal blog
here – prompted him to move to Los Angeles in sunny California for a change of scenery. “I
stopped listening to music for about a year. I stopped making music and it was almost unbearable to
listen to music. For instance, I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t even drive as it would invoke these
waves of almost panic, depression, and exhaustion. I thought I would not only be able to not make
music again but that I also would not enjoy listening to music again. That was a very scary idea,”
In The Sunlight And The Dust Of California
The move was a good decision and yielded one of IAMX’s best
albums, Metanoia in 2015 and the mini-album Everything Is Burning (Metanoia Addendum) in
2016. Having poured his heart out lyrically on two successful albums and rigorous world tours,
IAMX released Unfall (German for accident), an instrumental album to cleanse his creative
palette. In 2017, Corner emerged from his depression into a state of euphoria captured on his newest
album Alive In New Light (AINL).
The Boys With Their Toys Are Bringing The Void Our Way
In addition to his success as a songwriter, producer, and
touring artist, IAMX is one of the most licensed musicians on ABC TV’s runaway hit show, How To Get
Away with Murder. By the beginning of 2018, IAMX had synced 16 of his songs to its
soundtrack, becoming one of the most recognisable composers on television thanks to the show’s
creator Pete Nowalk being a superfan of IAMX. Another superfan turned collaborator is postmodern
tattoo and makeup powerhouse, kindred spirit Kat Von D, who sings on four songs on AINL
and shares IAMX’s avant-garde fashion and design sense, epic stage theatricality, and
gender-bending proclivities. IAMX’s provocative aesthetics are not limited to his music and fashion. As a
video artist, he crafts IAMX’s stunning live visuals and most of their music videos, as well as videos
for other acts, most notably his close friend Gary Numan.
The Sky Has Opened Up And Now I’m Overcome
IAMX isn’t clear where this newfound liberation will lead
him. Rising from a humble working class background to capitalistic celebrity, then down to the
depths of despair and back into a new light, IAMX’s armour is now more permeable and his imagination more
stimulated by Los Angeles’ unrelenting optimism. For Chris Corner, turned IAMX, the
transformative journey that began in his bedroom as a young kid in the North East of England and
found its way into the California desert continues. The I AM in IAMX may imply stasis, a fixed state
of being, but the X signifies the variable in mathematics, and IAMX the person is in no way