Momus (musician)

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Born Nick Currie
February 11, 1960 (1960-02-11) (age 50)
Paisley, Scotland
Residence Berlin, Germany
Other names Momus
Occupation Author, Journalist, Songwriter

Nick Currie (born February 11, 1960 in Paisley, Scotland), more popularly known under the artist name Momus (after the Greek god of mockery), is a songwriter, blogger and former journalist for Wired. Most of his songs are self-referential or postmodern.

For more than twenty years he has been releasing, to marginal commercial and critical success, albums on labels in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan. In his lyrics and his other writing he makes seemingly random use of decontextualized pieces of continental (mostly French) philosophy, and has built up a personal world he says is "dominated by values like diversity, orientalism, and a respect for otherness." He is fascinated by identity, Japan, the avant-garde, time travel and sex.

In the last two decades, Momus has lived in London, Paris, Tokyo and New York. He has made Berlin his home since 2003.

He wears a patch over his right eye because he lost the use of it after contracting acanthamoeba keratitis from a contact lens case washed with Greek tap water.[1][2]


[edit] Career

He began by recording post-punk material with various ex-members of Josef K in a group called The Happy Family in the early '80s, and was associated with the musicians around Postcard Records (although he never recorded for that label). His debut solo album Circus Maximus (1986, él Records) explored biblical themes in dark, almost Gothic acoustic style, and his debt to the influence of Gallic pop was clear from a subsequent, sardonically self-referencing cover of Jacques Brel's "Jackie" and portraits of himself in the style of early 60s Serge Gainsbourg. In 1987, by which time he lived in London, he signed to Creation Records, and began to record the hyper-literate, quirky pop songs for which he is best known. A trio of albums, The Poison Boyfriend, Tender Pervert and Don't Stop The Night blended accessible dance-pop with such heavy lyrical themes as paedophilia, necrophilia and adultery. The latter album almost yielded a hit in the UK with "The Hairstyle of the Devil". Subsequent albums on Creation included Hippopotamomus, a scatological tribute to Gainsbourg, as Momus continued to push boundaries of acceptability within accessible pop structures. By 1994, however, when Creation signed Oasis, his music started to sound out of place on the newer, more 'laddish' and commercial sounds Creation then started to produce, and he moved to Paris and signed to Cherry Red records. Since then he has lived in various countries and, whilst less popular in Britain, has had a reasonable level of commercial success in a number of countries, especially Japan, where he wrote and produced records for successful singer Kahimi Karie, including the hit single "Good Morning World".

He has been sued by Michelin UK, for the song "Michelin Man", which compared the mascot to a blow-up doll, on Hippopotamomus (1991); and by Wendy Carlos for the song "Walter Carlos" (which postulated that the post-sexual reassignment surgery Wendy could travel back in time to marry her pre-surgery self, Walter) on The Little Red Songbook (1998). In response to the debt incurred from Carlos's lawsuit, which was settled by withdrawal of the song, agreement not to use Carlos's name for any purpose whatsoever and payment of damages and attorney's fees to Carlos, Momus wrote thirty songs about every person or group who commissioned a song at the price of $1,000, compiling Stars Forever (1999). Patrons include artist Jeff Koons, Japanese musician Cornelius, and three-year-old animator/superhero Noah Brill. Stars Forever also features the winners of a karaoke contest started on The Little Red Songbook (1998).

Other Momus activities include writing for Wired, Vice, Index Magazine, AIGA Voice, and Design Observer. Momus has also been a kind of guest instructor working on sound-art projects with students first at Future University in Hakodate, Hokkaidō, Japan during the early months of 2005, and then again in September at Fabrica, the Benetton Group "research centre" near Venice, Italy. In 2006 he was a featured artist in the Whitney Biennial in New York City, serving as an "unreliable tour guide" to visitors of the exhibition. He also keeps an online blog, documenting his everyday experience, philosophies and fetishes. Momus is an atheist.[3]

Momus is credited with the first documented instance of writing, in 1991, that "In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen people", which has evolved into the popular meme "On the web, everyone will be famous to fifteen people".[4] The quip is a parody of Andy Warhol's famous prediction that, "In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes".

The Fotolog.Book with texts by Momus on photoblogging was published in April 2006 by British publishers Thames & Hudson.

He is a cousin of musician Justin Currie, the lead singer and songwriter of Del Amitri, although Momus has been critical of his musical output at times.

In 2000, he performed "As You Turn to Go" (written by Stephin Merritt) on The 6ths' album Hyacinths and Thistles.

[edit] As Author

Momus has published several books, most recently The Book of Jokes and The Book of Scotlands which have received positive reviews in places such as the LA Times and the Guardian.

[edit] Discography

Album name Release year
Circus Maximus 1986
The Poison Boyfriend 1987
Tender Pervert 1988
Don’t Stop The Night 1989
Monsters Of Love 1990
Hippopotamomus 1991
The Ultraconformist (Live Whilst Out Of Fashion) 1992
Timelord 1993
Slender Sherbert 1995
The Philosophy of Momus
Twenty Vodka Jellies 1996
Ping Pong 1997
The Little Red Songbook 1998
Stars Forever 1999
Folktronic 2001
Oskar Tennis Champion 2003
Summerisle, a collaboration with Anne Laplantine 2004
Otto Spooky 2005
Ocky Milk 2006
Joemus 2008

[edit] References

  1. ^ Gerry Visco (2007-10-13). "Momus Revisited". New York Press. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  2. ^ Momus (April 1998). "Story Of An Eye". Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  3. ^ Thompson, Stephen (2000-09-06). "Is there a God?". The A.V. Club.,1394/. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  4. ^ Momus (1991). "POP STARS? NEIN DANKE! In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen people...". Grimsby Fishmarket. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 

[edit] External links

[edit] Listening