The Magic Lantern, the musical moniker of Jamie Doe, has released a new single titled ‘Holding Hands’ via Hectic Eclectic Records off the album ‘To The Islands’.
Born in Australia, Doe moved to the UK at an early age where he had the opportunity to meet and play alongside This Is The Kit, Rozi Plain, and Rachael Dadd while studying philosophy in Bristol. In recent years, The Magic Lantern has been expanded to include more members, marking an important step for the project’s evolution. The beautiful ‘Holding Hands’ was originally written for voice and guitar, but Doe eventually decided to arrange it for a saxophone trio – and it was a decision that paid off, as the song manages to integrate some of Doe’s influences such as improvisational jazz in a way that renders its folk harmonies richer and more compelling.
We caught up with Jamie Doe to talk about his influences, his new single, and
When did you start performing music?
I guess I first played in public when I was about 7, I had a really out there piano teacher who encouraged kids to improvise and write little tunes and then he’d organise concerts at his house for his students and their parents. The first piece I remember ‘writing’ and performing was called something like ‘When the Giant Hurt His Thumb’ – I think I just hit the keyboard with my fists – it was louder than it was melodic.
Are there any contemporary artists you really admire?
I’m very lucky to be part of an amazingly diverse community of musicians in London. We’re friends as well as colleagues and we really support each other. I’m a big fan of Mancunian poet and saxophonist Alabaster Deplume, we’ve done a lot of touring together and what he does is honest, true and unlike anything I heard before. I love Seamus Fogerty, a great Irish singer-writer and lovely man who has just released a beautiful and quietly surprising new album. One of my favourite bands is Snowpoet – the project of Chris Hyson who plays bass with me, and jazz singer Lauren Kinsella. Their song ‘If I Miss A Star’ is one of my Desert Island Discs.
How do you feel your sound has evolved since you first started releasing music?
I think i’ve grown as an arranger and musician a lot since I first starting doing this. Experience has given me the courage to experiment more, to follow my convictions. I have also developed the ability to view my songs with a measure of independence, so I can hear other ways of doing them – that’s been a great asset when it comes to recording. There is no right way, just different ones. I think i sound more like me now. I think when you start out, your brain is trying to squeeze all your influences into your work, and it takes a while to realise that you’re own ideas are enough.
Can you talk about what inspired ‘Holding Hands’?
I wrote ‘Holding Hands’ during a moment of desperation. I had been back to Australia, where I’m from, for the first time in nearly a decade. I was chasing the dying embers of something as well as looking to explore my relationship with Australia. When I got back into the bleak London mid-winter I was pretty strung out and very alone. I found himself writing this song for the person I hoped to meet – i’m singing it to them. Writing the song was as much an act of faith in their existence as a cry of frustration at where I’d washed up.
The saxophones give the track a unique, ethereal feel. What made you want to incorporate them?
I have wanted to write for voice and brass for a long time but I didn’t have quite the right song. I wrote ‘Holding Hands’ on the guitar originally but when I was thinking about how I wanted to arrange it for the band, I happened to be listening to Bjork’s first album ‘Debut’. I heard ‘Anchor Song’ which is for voice and saxophone trio with a similar sort of cascading line that harmonises at the end of the phrase, and I had this brain flash where I suddenly heard ‘Holding Hands’ with saxophones, but with this big groove in the middle. It was really fun bringing it all together.
What’s next for The Magic Lantern?
I’m doing a mini tour in London, Stroud and Deal from 27-29 October and then ‘Holding Hands’ will be out on Monday 30th, which is really exciting. I can’t wait for people to hear it. The album ‘To The Islands’ will be out in Spring next year, all being well. All I want to do is connect with as many people as possible.