Jape finds his focus for This Chemical Sea in Sweden

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

'Most complete': Richie Egan - Jape - who has just released his fifth studio album and plays in Limerick's Kashbah this Saturday, February 21
SOME might be amazed that, after two Choice Music Prize album of the year awards for successive records, Richie Egan feels his newest offering is actually the “most complete”.

SOME might be amazed that, after two Choice Music Prize album of the year awards for successive records, Richie Egan feels his newest offering is actually the “most complete”.

But the Dubliner, who records and releases music as Jape and relocated to Malmo, Sweden in 2012 takes such things in his stride. And, crucially, in this instance, he is right.

This Chemical Sea, the electro-rock outfit’s - which includes long time collaborator Glen Keating - fifth studio offering, feels like, Egan has said, having a uniquely, ‘Jape’ sound from start to finish.

Bursting with pop majesty, deliciously fluid dancefloor beats, lilting vocals and ethereal harmonies, the album oozes hazy, swirling synths, all of which were given a delicate sprinkling of magic by mixing extraordinaire David Wrench, who boasts FKA Twigs, Caribou and Bat For Lashes amongst his back catalogue - a coup Egan compares to “like winning the lotto for me”. This album is the real deal and Egan has found his rhythm.

“What I like about this one, I never had on an album before, I feel like it has a personality which stays kind of similar from the start to the end,” he says.

“That was something that I really wanted to get with this one, I didn’t want to be bouncing around between having an acoustic and dance track and everything like that.

“It is definitely the most complete one, it is the deepest one I have done and I think it is the one that will stand the test of time.”

After moving to Sweden for personal reasons, Egan was, he says, less distracted by his environment and could focus rigidly on the follow up to 2011’s Ocean of Frequency. Walking to the studio, he listened to the songs almost to the point of obsession, discarding anything that didn’t meet his test.

“The main thing for me is it gave me a lot of time to reflect on the songs, a lot more time than I would ever have in Dublin, because there seems to be more distractions,” he says of Sweden.

“You wouldn’t believe the amount of hours that went into thinking about every, single little bit of it. I never had that before - there was always one or two tracks on an album before where it was like ‘ah sure that’s grand’.

“I realised - after five albums, I am a slow learner - the ones that you work really hard on, are the ones you can stand behind forever, so that was why - I wanted to have an album with ten of those.”

It became like a fix, he says, “trying to get better at what I do and trying to make a track that makes me happy for a fleeting amount of time.

“When you make something that seems really good and can’t understand where it came from, that is the addictive feeling for me, the thing I am always chasing.”

Allowing some creative control to Keating helped shape the album, the back and forth between them nurturing a stunning album to life.

“There were definitely days when I felt like I had bitten off more than I could chew and throwing stuff away that we had been working on for two months - that to me at some point felt insane. But I am glad we did it.”

This Chemical Sea is out now. Jape play the Kasbah Social Club on February 21