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It's been seven years since Scissor Sisters' last album and Jake Shears, the much-loved band's lead singer, describes his debut solo album as a continuation of the Sisters. He wanted it to feel familiar, and on this week's episode of LGBTQ&A, he talks about what went into crafting the album, what's in store for the band's future, and why it was time for the band to take a break.
This episode was recorded live at the Big Queer Pod Fest in New Orleans and also features Ira Madison III (from the Keep It! podcast) and Fran Tirado and Dennis Norris II (from Food 4 Thot).
Read highlights from the interview here, or listen to the full podcast interview on the audio player below.
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The Advocate: Four or five years ago, you said you would never put out a solo album and here you are. You just released one. What changed?
Jake Shears: I figured if I made something good, if I made a record and wrote songs that were meaningful to me, it wouldn't matter that it was a solo record. As long as it was good, that's all that matters. So, I kind of just got over that.
What was the judgement against a solo record?
I like collaborating. I liked having a band. I like working with other people. I always thought it might be too lonely. Like maybe it'd feel narcissistic or something. I don't know.
You wrote all the music for Scissor Sisters. Did writing music for just you feel different?
Babydaddy and I also wrote some of the stuff for this one. It felt different in the way that I got to say more personal stuff on this record. I didn't have to worry about filtering it through a band because when you're writing for a band, there's five other people that are all playing these songs and they all have to kind of represent them. You have to make sure everybody feels it. You've got to make sure those songs go through that filter.
Now it's just me singing them and I can get a little deeper and a little more raw with it.
The music feels very familiar while also feeling new.
Yeah. I wanted it to feel familiar and I wanted it to have a continuation from Scissor Sisters. I thought, Do I reinvent myself? Do I make a dance record? And I was just like, Why don't I just write the songs I love writing and get those sounds that I love hearing. It's a kind of continuation of Scissor Sisters.
That last Scissor Sisters album was in 2012. What have you been working on since then?
I had started writing music. I was doing initial stuff The Greatest Showman that never got used. In fact, the overture at the beginning of this new album is something that I actually had written for The Greatest Showman. I was writing songs. I did a movie score. Just nothing was jelling. I was writing, but I just didn't have the idea yet.
Has Scissor Sisters stopped making music forever? What's the future going to be?
I don't know. I don't want to do Scissor Sisters, at least right now. I'd love to do another three solo records and then maybe another Scissor Sisters record. I had so much fun making the last album. Particularly after "Let's Have A Kiki" came out, which just sort of blew up. I didn't really feel like we had anything left to say. I felt we did it.
Was that the group consensus?
It was, it was definitely. I felt like it was. The impetus was me. I just wanted to give everybody their lives back. We've been going for 10 years. I felt guilty. I was basically the leader of this band and no one expected to be in a rock band for 10 years, their entire lives revolving around this entity. I had a lot of guilt about that because it was my dream, but not necessarily everybody else's dream for what they were going to do with their lives. I felt like it was time for everybody to go live their lives.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Subscribe and listen to the full podcast interview on LGBTQ&A.