IAMX Comes to Denver

Beautiful chaos.

These are the only words to describe the live performance of IAMX, the solo project of Chris Corner. Formerly the front man of the 90’s trip-hop band Sneaker Pimps, Corner has created a self-proclaimed “all consuming beast” over the last 11 years with IAMX, with the latest chapter “Metanoia” releasing back in late September.

Before his performance Saturday night at the Marquis Theater in Denver, Corner sat down to discuss the latest album, Sneaker Pimps reunion rumors, and the future of IAMX. Early Saturday afternoon after a bus trip from Salt Lake City, Janine Gezang, the brains behind IAMX management as well as the energetic talent on-stage as live keyboards/bass/backing vocals for IAMX, greeted me outside the Marquis with a warm smile and welcomed me onto the tour bus where Chris sat drinking coffee in the back.  

Joe Parris: Back to Denver, you were here a few years ago. What do you think about Denver?

Chris Corner {X}: I love Denver, the scenery is beautiful when we come in, we really like to drive through Colorado it’s just beautiful.

JP: Have you ever gotten up into the mountains at all?

{X}: A long time ago I was in Estes Park, it was beautiful. That’s weird that I remember that (laughs).

JP: What is the biggest difference between American and European crowds?

{X}: There is this feeling of “yeah, go for it!” here and that’s really refreshing. There is a slightly rowdier quality of the American crowds, which I love. You can get tired of the European undercurrent of cynicism, I love Europe but it’s refreshing to be in a place where people are just positive. There isn’t as much of that in England, or Germany.

JP: What was the process like recording the latest album with another pledge campaign; did you have any reservations about it?     

{X}: I have gone through some turbulent years psychologically, but once I made the decision to make the album it was very quick and very easy actually. There was no reservations, I had specifically chosen to written about that period of depression and chronic insomnia and anxiety and I wanted to talk about that on that album. It was actually a real pleasure to make, it was the first album I’ve ever made that was easy, that was an amazing feeling.

JP: And you produced the album in the desert?

{X}: Actually making the record I did it in the desert, I have a little cabin in the desert not too far from Joshua Tree, and that was completely inspiring and breathtaking. Silent, just amazing.

JP: Was that near where you recorded the music video for “I Come With Knives?”

{X}: It wasn’t too far from there, I feel in love with it then when we did the video and kept going back. It was amazing. I love going there to write and record. That’s actually where I finished the album.   

JP:  Last time we talked (2013) you were at the tail end of “The Unified Field” and you mentioned you were interested in doing an acoustic album. Is that something you are still interested in?

{X}: Absolutely. On the one hand IAMX is very electronic but there is also this yearning to do an acoustic thing. I think that will come in time and I know there will be a natural time for it. I dabbled with it last year with the online acoustic sessions, which were a lot of fun, but it’s not quite the right time.

JP: Is there an artist out there you’d love to collaborate with like you have with Gary Numan?

{X}: Gary Numan was one of my idols when I was a kid, I absolutely loved his music, so that was a bit of a golden moment to be able to do work with him. David Sylvian is my musical idol. I’m not sure if I would really want to do that in reality or just hold onto the fantasy of collaborating with your idol but if I were to do that I would love to do that with someone like him. I’m up for anything really; I’m up for anything good. I don’t really care what the genre is, or what the attitude is. It could be hardcore punk it could be classical music, the essence of good music is the same for me, it could be anything. 

JP: Reflecting on the end of Sneaker Pimps and the beginning of IAMX with “Kiss and Swallow” seems like you’ve had a pretty full story.

{X}: I think about the Sneakers a lot lately with Liam Howe (founding member of Sneaker Pimps with Chris) suggesting a new record and I thought about that. The problem at the time when we drifted apart, when I started IAMX, I was putting so much into Sneakers that it was just out of proportion with everyone else, and everyone started to back off and he backed off because I was just driving it. I can understand it now but at the time I just thought nobody else was interested in the project anymore, which I do think was part of it. That’s really what started my solo project. Over the years we have toyed with the idea, he seems to want to do it now. It all comes down to him driving it and me kind of being on the periphery or me just tip toeing into it. If it becomes something great, then I can become more involved but obviously I still have my baby to deal with.

JP: What’s next for IAMX?

{X}: More touring. We are planning to take a break in winter, probably disappear to the cabin. I might have some friends over for a fifties “Christmas in the desert.” Then probably South America in the spring maybe Mexico. Places we haven’t been before which is what we did this pledge campaign for to try and expand the project a bit. We’ll do Europe again; hopefully we will do America again……        


Later that night the show itself was nothing short of incredible. IAMX band members Sammi Doll, Jon Siren and longtime IAMX cast member Janine Gezang were welcomed to the stage by a thunderous ovation from the Saturday night crowd as Chris awaited in the shadows for the chorus of synths so greet him to his stage. A familiar beat announced IAMX to the venue with an electrifying rendition of “I Come With Knives” that echoed through the Marquis Theater.

The set list contained a diverse history of IAMX tracks from every studio album, even digging deep into “Kiss & Swallow” with the performance of “Mercy” much to the delight of the crowd. The entire band displayed an incredible showcase of musical range from Chris whispering quietly into the dual microphones he commanded during the track off his latest album, “Happiness”, to the beautiful screams of “Bernadette” from Gezang, which sent an emotional wave through the audience, drawing tears from a fan near the front.

Every song had been reimagined as an engaging live version while staying true to the original rendition, the crowd hanging onto every last lyric Chris exclaimed. As the bass pulsed and synths serenaded Denver, there wasn’t a static body in the room. As one fan exclaimed, “this isn’t a show, this is the IAMX experience!”

Chris fed off the energy of the crowd putting on over an hour and a half of high-energy art creating an experience paralleled by few artists. The night was completed by an encore performance of “I Am Terrified” off of the album “Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction” to send the IAMX community inspired into the warm October night.

IAMX live is a unique blend of intimate energy and emotion that is more of an artistic conversation with the audience than a standard performance. 10/10, could not recommend a better band to see live.