sean lennon and charlotte kemp muhl are ghost of a saber tooth tiger
The Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger is the result of a perfect pairing. Son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, bearded wonder Sean Lennon and his model girlfriend, the brilliant Charlotte Kemp Muhl make beautiful music that'll take you on a trip through time...
Could you please describe Midnight Sun for us in 5 words?
Epic post-psychedelic surrealist rock'n'roll journey.
Do you have a a favourite track from the album?
That would be a bit like asking someone to pick their favourite child or something. The album's sort of meant to be experienced as a complete whole so I couldn't really pick a favourite.
My favourite is Moth To A Flame…
That song was really cool because my roommate gave me a lap steel guitar for Christmas, which is like an American country instrument that you play with a metal bar. Recording Moth To A Flame was the first time I'd ever heard it. I plugged it into an amp with a wah pedal and just started jamming over that song and it was so much fun that Charlotte had to copy the song over and over again to make it longer because we were having so much fun that we didn't wanna stop. Actually I wound up playing for like 20 minutes and we had to edit it down to like three. The sound is that sort of languid, crazy screaming solo that goes on at the end of it.
Where's your Xanadu?
Where's my xanadu? I dunno, my house I guess. By xanadu I just meant… well, I don't like to analyse lyrics too much but it was sort of about a girl, well, a type of girl who doesn't really want to live with you or do the normal things that you expect girls to want to do, you know? A sort of rebellious and contrary girl.
Are there any particular qualities that an artist needs to possess in order to be part of the Chimera family?
Usually it's more that you're a real friend of mine. I don't go out and seek bands that are strangers, so everyone who puts records out on Chimera is basically either my mom or my girlfriend or a very close friend. It's never somebody that I've A&R'd, you know? It was meant to be an extended family label.
What's it like making music with your girlfriend?
It's really great. She's really changed my life - I know that sounds like a cliché but she's one of the smartest and most creative people I've ever met and you know, I think we found our sound together.
What's the secret to a great relationship?
Separate bathrooms… It's actually a Johnny Cash quote, but I believe it.
Nice. Are there any other areas you'd like to explore?
Well I've started scoring films and I'm really interested in that. In fact, I'm interested in directing films eventually so I'm sort of scoring films now so that when it comes to directing, I'll know the nuts and bolts of it.
Who would your dream collaboration be with?
Paulo Sorentino who made a film called La Grande Bellezza, The Great Beauty. It's an Italian film that won best foreign film at the Oscars this year. If I could score a film for him I could probably die happily.
Talking of dying... how do you feel about the current state of the world?
It feels like we're no longer orbiting the sun. It feels like we're hurtling into space, you know what I mean? As a kid I used to feel like the world was spinning gently around the sun like two dancers in a tango but now it feels like the earth is flailing and spinning through space like some kind of out of control yo-yo or something. Like a ferris wheel that's gone mad. And it feels a bit scary but at the same time, while there's pending environmental disaster and basically an undeclared WWIII because there's so much violence in the world, I feel like it's also a very hopeful time. I met this guy… I forget his name but he's dating Lily Cole and he was talking about all these incredible scientific ventures like printing thoughts and dreams and now they're doing 3D printing for organs and things like that. You know, they've figured out how to take the heart cells of mice and make them into shapes so that they're biological batteries that actually emit electricity. There's so much interesting stuff happening, you know, glow in the dark cats - they've taken phosphorescent cells and put them into cats so they can glow in the dark. There's so much weird, cool shit happening that in a way I feel like the possibility for us to save ourselves is there… so it's a very exciting time, but also a terrifying time.
Too right. What's your favourite Miyazaki movie?
Both Nausicaä and Princess Mononoke - I think about Charlotte when I see them because she's sort of like a wild, insect-riding feral princess too.
And which Miyazaki character would you be?
I don't know because all of his protagonists are women you know… I guess Totoro? I'm like that giant teddy bear.
And finally, what's the plan Stan?
Well, we have David Letterman, we're touring in May, and this year's gonna be all about the GOASTT!
Text Francesca Dunn