I recently had the very wonderful, and uplifting opportunity to interview Aidan Casserly, an extremely multi-talented artist with whom I had interviewed once before, when Aidan spoke in regard to his band Empire State Human. This time, Aidan spoke to me about his other creative projects in his musical career, such as with his solo albums---an acoustic album called “White Soul”; and under the name Figaro, his album “I Am Figaro”, geared toward the electro scene. Keep your eyes and your ears open for the music of Aidan Casserly, and his bands Empire State Human, who are working on their new album “Audio Gothic”, and have released “Rarity” a follow-up to “Popularity?”, and with The Garland Cult, and their album “Glitterazzi”. Such a joy…such a talent Aidan Casserly is! (:
Grave Concerns: Greetings my friend Aidan, what a super pleasure it is to have you back at the grave, how are you doing?
Hello Lynda and GC! It’s a pleasure to be spending some ‘spooky’ time with you again. All I can say is “Listen to the children of the night. What beautiful music they make” (Smile).
Grave Concerns: Aidan, you know how to start an interview off right! (;
Grave Concerns: Jumping Shamrocks Aidan---you’re a busy, busy fellow! You have an album coming out with The Garland Cult called “Glitterazzi”, two solo albums; one, under your name Figaro called “I Am Figaro”, which is electro based, and lastly, as mentioned in a previous e-mail a “proper solo album” under your given name, called “White Soul”. Do you sleep? Do you have any friends left? (; Congratulations on all of this amazing creativity---you deserve it! Please tell us about all of these incredible works in the making.
Well, I decided that whilst 2006/2007 where creative highs that I wanted to follow on completion of “Glitterazzi” and “I Am Figaro” with a full acoustic solo Aidan Casserly album to satisfy my drive and interest in acoustic music. I wanted an album that spotlighted me as a singer, and one that stripped back the production layers so as to let the song stand or fall on merely its songwriting merits alone. All I can say is that recording “White Soul” has been an incredible experience… I’ve 3 tracks left and it’s recorded. With The Garland Cult we wanted to quickly follow up the debut CD “Protect Yourself From Hollywood” with a very special album. “Glitterazzi” contains our “BoyGeorgeICON” and “Talking With Aliens” singles, as well as “A Girl Called Harmony” and a beautiful instrumental called “Gender Intro” (based on our song “Gender Device”). There are remixes of a number of songs from the debut CD too. It’s a really vibrant CD. “I Am Figaro” is me working on electro that’s in my own personal production and song tastes. I re-recorded an old Empire State Human song “Hand On The Gun” with Turboscreamers and it’s a whopping tech-electro version. Hi-NRG for the 00s. “Baby’s Got Soul” and “Cautious” have been getting some excellent feedback from people, so hopefully it will help push the album when it’s released. Both these albums are out in the next few months. Figaro being the first.
Grave Concerns: I read you wrote a song called “Wanquetin” for your great Uncle Thomas Casserly who was killed in WW1 He was only 21years old---so, so, sad. What a beautiful way though, to honor your great Uncle. Please share what had you decide that now was the right time to write this song?
The song was written a few years ago. It came from a visit my brothers and my father made to Thomas’s grave in Wanquetin cemetery in France. We really learned full details about Thomas and his full story a few years ago. He appeared to my brother Eoin at a spiritual gathering in London, which was an increble and emotional experience for Eoin. I wanted to tell his story in song and verse (the lyrics featured in my poetry/lyrics book “Chasing Vapours” a few years ago). It’s not yet recorded, but I hope when it’s done it will fit the album “White Soul”. It’s piano and vocal only, so it has to be sensitive enough, yet full enough to work.
Grave Concerns: That’s so moving---so breathtaking. What an experience that must have been. I’m looking forward to heating that piece when ready.
Grave Concerns: You also have a book of poetry and lyrics called “Chasing Vapours” that was published in 2004 by the German publishing company U Books. Any future plans for more books? I adore poetry. Would you please share a poem with us?
I did start to write a new one called “Night Moves”, but had to stop due to recording/songwriting commitments. I may complete it one day. “Chasing Vapours” is now out of print, but I would like to share a few short poems with you.
Beauty In Your Eye
When my beating heart is silent
And my lips are dust again
On this earth I’ll go a roaming
Not in shape of other men
But I’ll sail above the hillside
On the wind I will but fly
And when your lover lies before you
I am the beauty in your eye
Question Remained Unanswered
The question remained unanswered
So silent in many ways
Lights too dim to notice
A movement or a sway
With tears so pure and silent
And with conversation low
I slid into the darkness
Knowing it was time to go
A Star Full Of Swing
A star full of swing
Settled in the sky
A conductor set in tempo
Beat the clockworks dry
In De Profundis
Oscar Wilde’s on trial
To Paris, where another legend dies
It’s more than a sudden chill or s sense of de-ja-vu
That makes stars fill with swing
And dreams full with you
A star full of swing
Isn’t much to thrill or shock
A calamity of sins
Are not worth the confession lot
Yet maybe sometime soon
We’ll descend the ocean blue
And make stars fill with swing
Whilst our dreams fill with you
Grave Concerns: Aidan, thank you…so much! I hope one day, you’ll write your new collection. That is such stunning and beautiful work, my friend. You’re such a talent!
Grave Concerns: So why is it that you felt you needed to record a “proper solo album”? BTW…beautiful voice on those tracks. Your musical styles are so diverse. You have a voice that can sing ANYthing.
Well thank you for such brilliant and kind compliments on my voice. I guess as I listen to all types (mainly acoustic) music myself, that for me to do an honest solo Aidan Casserly album, it would really have to be just that - acoustic. I will always be a musical workaholic I’m afraid. I’ve accepted that along time ago to the annoyance of others!! But I’m lucky I’ve the outlet to create and to observe things about myself and others. As I am recording “White Soul” I am also in another studio working on a new Empire State Human album called “Audio Gothic”. The bands music is so different to my solo stuff, that it’s good to have different ends of the musical ladder to focus on. I relate my music to my life and wee must all work forwards.
Grave Concerns: You’re very welcome. (: And music is like personalities---many levels to be explored.
Grave Concerns: Your song “Smoke Before The Fire” was inspired by 50s singer Johnnie Ray---please tell us more about how you became a fan of his music? Aidan, dynamite performance too. (: I am truly impressed.
Again, this is so great to hear these kind words from you Lynda! You’ve really looked into my music in advance J
My Uncle played on the same bill with Johnnie Ray in the 50s. He got to meet him and we’ve a signed photo of Johnnie in our family home to record this. So my Mam was mad about Johnnie and because of this, I became interested enough to search him out. I would call Johnnie Ray a song stylist rather than a singer. I met Tony Bennett a few years ago, when he played Dublin and we talked about how good Johnnie Ray. I was surprised to hear Tony was a fan too as Sinatra wasn’t and I guess I felt Tony and Frank were similar. Well they’re not. I wrote “Smoke Before The Fire” about the darker side of Johnnie’s life. It’s a jazz/pop song because that’s were Johnnie recorded his best material.
Grave Concerns: Aidan, you’re very welcome. And yes, I have. (; What a rich musical you have---you may have to write a memoir…hint, hint. (:
Grave Concerns: Most difficult songs, and most rewarding ones on those albums?
On “White Soul” there’s a track called “How Bitter This Loss” which was a very painful song to record as it’s about depression and loss, and we all deal with things like that from time to time, whether it’s a partner or a friend or oneself. Most rewarding on “White Soul” is the opening song “Saviour”, because it’s the classic singer/songwriter song and I felt I could do a song like that and I did and it turned out very moving.
On The Garland Cult “Glitterazzi” album, the most difficult was “BoyGeorgeICON”, as writing tribute songs can be such a gamble and thankfully it paid off, as George’s fans really loved it. Because or that we were asked by Pet Shop Boys fans to write one for them. We did and the song’s called “How Cool …Pet Shop Boys”. This track will be released as an exclusive EP on a Mexican label this summer. The most rewarding one was “Talking With Aliens” as it was produced by synth legend Steve Bronski from Bronski Beat and I was/am such a fan still.
On Figaro “I Am Figaro” the most difficult track was “Shifting Sand” as the production was difficult to complete the right way. I think it’s a very mature song and that must be handled the right way. The most rewarding is in fact “Shifting Sand”, as it’s tender and beautiful to me.
Grave Concerns: Your profile picture on MySpace is soooooooo cute! Is that a Gecko? Yours?
I’m not sure what creature it is. Would I could really see the white soul of it because it’s beautiful. I sourced it via the web, so I guess I can’t take any credit for it. But I would love to incorporate it into the album artwork when the time comes.
Grave Concerns: Unexpected company arrives, and your house is a mess! What do you do, what do you say?
Tell them I’m not me and to call back in an hour!! I suppose I’d have to roll with it and invite them in for tea (coffee) and hopefully get around the situation with a nice cake. I love good cooking.
Grave concerns: I think that would work out nicely---food, drinks…comfort goodies!
Grave Concerns: If you could have a movie director direct your next video, who would it be and why? And which song would it be?
I would not really like to direct, but I’d like to give a director a hand in it. I’d pick “Saviour” as I think it’s subtle enough to make a good visual. I would love to include images of Christ with Marilyn Monroe, as they both such strong visual images of love.
Grave Concerns: If you had the power to live the life of any character in a movie for one-week after the end credits rolled, who would you choose and why?
Superman and I would hopefully not let the main man down by taking over duties. I love positive images and also fragile honestly. Even though he’s the man of steel, I think the Clarke Kent character has fragile beauty.
Grave Concerns: Lovely put Aidan.
Grave Concerns: Tell us two things about yourself that your fans would be surprised to know about you?
I like boxing and Mike Tyson especially. Can’t explain the latter but I’ve always had an interest in the former. I met Big George Foreman and he was a gentle giant (and funny too). I’m a massive Laurel & Hardy fan. My same Uncle that met Johnnie Ray met L&H on a tour on the UK in the 50s and his stories were a wonder to me as a child. I love stan and Ollie, that every time I put on a DVD it’s like meeting up with two old friends. Another thing which may surprise people is that I’m not that interested in synth music anymore. That may be a surprise, as all the music I’ve done is synth music. That’s the crazy thing about it!! I’m now only interested in songs. The productions take care of themselves.
Grave Concerns: Do you have tattoos or piercings?
Had my ears and nose pierced before, but let them seal up again. No tattoos though, as I’d never just have one .. I’d want 21 and that might look over kill.
Grave Concerns: For some…yes. For others…no. It’s up to you though. (: I have two. A black rose on my right shoulder blade; a bracelet of pansies on my right wrist. Thinking of getting something on my earlobes. Fun!
Grave Concerns: Do you think evil is born or raised? How about the goodness in people? Can people change…for the better, and for the worse?
I think everyone has the ability to be evil, given the right conditioning. I was recently looking at a series called Most Evil (about serial killers), and it all started with childhood. Everything traces back to how we are brought up and what cruelty we have to deal or not deal with. I do believe people can change but it must be for the right reasons and it must be honest change. My favourite actor (Dirk Bogarde) once said “The sweetness of life, is terribly perishable” … and he was most definitely right!!
Grave Concerns: What is something about the human race that really gets you down…make you wonder…how could that person do that, act that way…say that?
I think when children or the vulnerable get abused, hurt or killed by the hand of others, that’s really hard to read about. The human race has the power to be so good and so caring, and yet we have the ability to be do hurtful instead. Whether it’s in relationships or business, it always floats to the top in the end. That’s the worst of it.
Grave Concerns: What then, on the other hand, does the human race do to make you feel simply proud and amazed by?
I’m amazed at how some people have the ability to forgive. Some forgive the most terrible crimes and in doing so, show so much love and compassion that it really is a test of the good we can do when we want to do it. If I could wish for something more, I would wish to be more tolerable.
Grave Concerns: Thank you Aidan for your deeply affecting answers---truly appreciated.
Grave Concerns: Do you use fabric softener and/or dryer sheets?
Yes, myself and my wife use Comfort fabric softener. I’m not sure if you have that in the US? We don’t use it on bath towels, as we find it makes them soak up water less. Dryer sheets? I take it they are for the dryer for clothes? We don’t have one so no is the answer to that.
Grave Concerns: Hmmm, I don’t think so. And yes, dryer sheets for the dryer. (: Well, you do have the stunning breezes of Ireland drying your clothes. (:
Grave Concerns: Have you ever told a white lie?
Yes, I’ve told one or three before. I think we all do, in times when we know being 100% honest could set off the wrong signals or assumptions. White lies are not all bad, sometimes they can ease a situation and bypass a worse one.
Grave Concerns: I so agree.
Grave Concerns: Since nature is very precious to me, I tend to be drawn more toward the Earth element. Although each one has its own special attributes, together they are priceless. Which element do you see yourself more drawn toward?
I love the water. Listening to it or seeing it on TV or swimming in it. As I’m also afraid of the sea too, it’s a strange yet wonderful balance. I don’t like having my face exposed under water, so I must always wear goggles. But I love watching and looking at sea life and the feeling of floating under water.
Grave Concerns: If you had the ability to change the color of the sky during the daylight hours to a color of your choice…once every 3 months, what four colors would you choose, and why?
I like the sepia colour of the sky just before an evening rain. So sepia would be a colour choice I’d go for. I think we all look better in sepia in fact. I also like the dusk red hues and white lights. Anything along those lines would be overwhelming to me.
Grave Concerns: Very pretty.
Grave Concerns: If your were to write a short story or a novel based on one of your songs, which one would it be? And if it was to be adapted to the silver screen, who would be your leading actor and actress?
I’d pick a song called “Signal & Noise” from Empire State Human’s last studio album “Cycles” (2005). It was in fact written from a Science fiction short story of the same name. Both the song and story were in a special compilation album we did for US label A Different Drum. So that song/story would make a great Sci-Fi film. I’d like a young Charlton Heston to star on it, as I think he’s always been seen as an example of a hero and general good fellow!
Grave Concerns: Do you have a calendar hanging on your kitchen wall? If so, what is March’s picture?
We do, it’s a 2008 I.I.S. calendar and the picture is of four young children.
Grave Concerns: That’s sweet! (:
Grave Concerns: Have you ever waved to someone you thought you knew, then in mid-wave realized it wasn’t who you thought it was? Then you try to be cool and pretend to wipe the hair from your eyes?
I’ve had times when I was surprised by the actions of those I thought I knew, and in doing so you loose a tiny portion of the feelings you have for that person. In time, you can rebuild the friendship but sometimes through those actions you loose the essence of the friendship.
Grave Concerns: When I get embarrassed or nervous, I turn beat red…it’s just so ridiculously obvious. And sometimes I’ll stutter because my heart pounds so furiously with nerves? How about yourself?
I can also turn red and stutter. Sometimes I’ll also mix words up or turn them around, so instead of saying something like “Square Feet” I’ll say “Fare Squeet” instead. Very, very funny sometimes but also a bit annoying.
Grave Concerns: I like your honesty and humor, Aidan. Thanks for sharing that. (:
Grave Concerns: What’s in your CD player right now?
A 4-CD set of Petula Clark and the special edition of Jeff Wayne’s “War Of The Worlds” album. All stunning stuff really.
Grave Concerns: You’re lying down in a field of strawberries. The sun is brightly shining down on you…warming your face. There are soft breezes going by. You feel your body drifting. You suddenly open your eyes. What did you just see?
Probably a mix between red and of that negative image of black and white, as my eyes would need adjusting the sunlight. For me to fall asleep in the outside, I would have to feel very safe and relaxed. I would normally be a little uptight for a while, until I feel more relaxed in the open by myself.
Grave Concerns: Have you bought or sold something on eBay before?
No nothing. I never was able to set up a PayPal either. I’m sort of useless with things like that. I buy a lot from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk so anything I need I tend to get from there. eBay does have all types of interesting things, so one day I will I’m sure. It took me a while to get to MySpace but I’m there now under a few sites.
Grave Concerns: Write whatever comes to your mind after reading the following:
1. The moonlight came into… view, as I left the safety of home that night. I felt a giddy swirl, creeping up within me as I reached the outdoors. There in the moonlight, was a strange a wonderful vision. A beautiful girl, with swooning eyes and dark hair gazed at me. “You came” she said …..
2. I have to do it this time, because if I don’t…I will never ever do it. All my life I have wondered about my ability. About my grace and skill and also if my inability was strong enough to hold me back. This was my opportunity; on only real opportunity. For once in my life, I decided I was ready!
3. The rain fell hard that afternoon…more so that it had on every other day of my holiday. It wasn’t going to stop me from leaving the Hotel this time. Again and again I used it as an excuse, but this time my only excuse was not leaving.
4. Confused by what she said, it only proved to me…that she was either a mentalist or someone of low IQ. Either way, to mix up to word “Gun” with “Gub”would prove to be an embarrassing thing to do during a bank robbery.
5. If I told you I was… as old as my gums but slightly older than my teeth, would you believe me? She put down her drink and let out a massive laugh. It was then I knew she was mine and this time I wouldn’t let her go.
6. Sometimes it really is…the difference between right and wrong that proves the significant other in the equation of life. Robert was beginning to loose it again. I wondered how he ever managed to graduate from college with a B minus.
7. I laughed so much that…during the walk from my chair at the bar to the hotel toilet I noticed I was being followed by three dwarfs and an actor dressed up in a fictional spy book.
Grave Concerns: OMG Aidan---those are so AWESOME! You are so cool, and so much fun---such a talent! Thank you SO much for your truly impressive answers. I love what you came up with! (:
Grave Concerns: Other than musical inspirations, who are your favorite authors, poets, painters, or any other artistic creators whose work you respect?
Authors would be H.G. Wells, Dirk Bogarde, Jules Verne, Oscar Wilde, John Wyndham, Colette, Saki, Primo Levi. Poets – I love all the classics and particularly Christina Rossetti and E.E. Cummings. Jean Cocteau is an artist I really love and when myself and my wife Bairbre were in Nice/France we traveled up the coast to visit his home. Wonderful stuff.
Grave Concerns: I love cobblestone paths, old rock walls with moss, and cottages in the woods. If I ever make it to Ireland, do you think I’d come across any?
Once you enter the rural side of Ireland you would most definitely come across a lot of that. The images from the 50s film “The Quiet Man” are still very much around in parts of cut-off rural Ireland. Well worth a visit.
Grave Concerns: If you were to plant a tree to symbolize something special in your life, where would that tree be planted, and what kind is it?
I will stand tall in Phoenix Park (a park in Dublin city center. The biggest in Europe) as one of those great evergreen trees.
I would pick Phoenix Park, as it’s a wonderful place and always filled with people.
Grave Concerns: Such a lovely place---thank you for enclosing the link.
Grave Concerns: I’m giving you 13 letters to choose from, in any order; you only have to use 6 of them (you can use more if you want, but not less than 6) and you have to make up the phrase describing what a woman who’s wearing a shimmering purple gown, and whom seems to be heading toward a cliff stops, turns around, and looks straight at you and says...but only with these letters...ORWPJGSFDLBCM.
This is a tough one. Let me see. Minimum of six and could be more and it’s a phase or word (one or two?). I can only think of “Blow” or “Bowls” I‘m afraid. I guess this is a little more difficult than you think.
Grave Concerns: Here’s another game I like to call “Would You Rather”…
1. Win a Grammy or an Academy Award for Best Song?
2. Play the lead in a musical, or produce it?
3. Pick up the phone and call someone, or have that person call you?
4. Have a mud bath or a seaweed body wrap?
5. Smile at someone first or have them smile at you?
For me it would win a Grammy/Academy Award for best song. That would be the more challenging an also lead to more interesting work after. With Empire State Human we composed film music and TV advert music, so I think we’d give a song in a film a really good try.
Grave Concerns: How much fun are interviews? (;
Depending on the questions, they can be a lot of fun. What I like about your questions is that they tend to help the interviewee show something more than just a musical side etc. It’s good to be able to discuss things outside the area you’re known for.
Grave Concerns: Awww, thank you Aidan. (; Seriously though, I’m glad you have found them to be a good way to express yourself though. And I’m sure our readers will enjoy reading more about whom Aidan Casserly is.
Grave Concerns: What would you like to say to your fans right now?
Mainly to thank anyone who’s shown interest in me with Empire State Human, The Garland Cult, Figaro and Aidan Casserly solo. Thankfully the ‘great’ ESH are still on the go and working on a new studio album “Audio Gothic”. I’d dare say there will be more solo Aidan Casserly work. The Garland Cult have planned one final studio album called “Monster”, which we’ll work on later in 2008 for 2009. Figaro is probably a one off unless it’s a massive success. But you never know what’s around the corner of course.
Grave Concerns: Anything else you care to share with us about yourself and your fantastic music?
Other than to feel free to email or contact me anytime via the various sites –
Watch out for the single “Beautiful Girlz” Bitchmode feat. Aidan Casserly later this year and also I featuring on some tracks from People Theatre as well as “How Cool …Pet Shop Boys” with The Garland Cult. Stay happy and keep creative.
Grave Concerns: Aidan, once again this has been such a wonderful pleasure; we here at Grave Concerns admire all your creativity, and wish you continued success in all of your artistic endeavors. Please keep in touch! Cheers!
For more information on Aidan Casserly check out
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