Intergalactic Czar quality of Cork artist Arthuritis!

Following the release of new single ‘Dancing with the Czars’, we talk with Cork musician Arty Pawsey, better known by his alien pseudonym Arthuritis, about creating through lockdown, and what the future holds.
Intergalactic Czar quality of Cork artist Arthuritis!

Arthuritis: A spacefaring purveyor of sound and improvisation from the planet Lukon 5.

Onstage, he’s Arthuritis, a spacefaring purveyor of sound and improvisation from the planet Lukon 5, channeling intergalactic inspiration while assuming the form of an unassuming Earthling occupying the stages of Cork venues.

Offstage, musician Arty Pawsey is, in usual times, kept busy between musical projects, including one-half of improv duo MueseuM alongside Leeside music stalwart Darren Keane, while unverifiable rumours persist of his involvement with noise outfit Celebrity Power Couple.

Lockdown, then, has provided him with ample challenges, but also space and time to further his musical and visual experiments, the most recent of which, single ‘Dancing with the Czars’, has just been released. A prelude to the release of upcoming album ‘Occam’s Razor’, Pawsey talks about how it’s been received, and how reception of new music has changed, as our own relationship with music consumption has done during lockdown.

Arty Pawsey, aka Arthuritis, whose new single ‘Dancing with the Czars’ has just been released.
Arty Pawsey, aka Arthuritis, whose new single ‘Dancing with the Czars’ has just been released.

“The response has been great, I think because of the time we are in, people have a lot more time for consuming and creating art. Obviously, there have been many livelihoods lost due to the pandemic, but I feel that I have spent a lot of my down-time sprucing up my knowledge of what people are doing around the country, and spending some time to really digest what is happening around me and I think most people are too.”

The single came with a video featuring 3D animation by Aodhagán Ó Riabhaigh, a fittingly bizarre visual creation for Pawsey’s work under the Arthuritis moniker.

It has definitely been the least amount of stress I have felt making music by myself, I guess there was enough to be stressed about this year so keeping things as simple as possible has helped keep things chill. As they say, ‘keep it simple, stupid’

It’s the next step in a working and artistic relationship, building on a trust that’s been earned in previous collaborations.

“I love Aodhagán, he’s so kind and talented. He worked on the video for a single I released last year, ‘Left Over Seas’, and I must say I was blown away. This time around I sent him a few different songs and let him pick whatever stood out to him.

“I had very little input into the video, I totally trust Aodhagán to know what he is at. He has a big aul’ brain, and I’m glad he let us all in to have a walk around.”

According to Arthuritis’ latest intergalactic communiqués, upcoming album Occam’s Razor is due for release in 2021, having been created amid circumstances that have been trying for artists across the board. Pawsey gets into the album’s raison d’etre.

“I wrote and recorded this album over the first lockdown so it was very immersive, I worked on it every day for three months or so. I wanted to try to make a record that was much simpler than my previous ones. I get very wrapped up in getting the song structure and production a particular way, and it usually becomes quite stressful so I wanted to make something conceptually straightforward that I didn’t go completely mad trying to make.

“It has definitely been the least amount of stress I have felt making music by myself, I guess there was enough to be stressed about this year so keeping things as simple as possible has helped keep things chill. As they say, ‘keep it simple, stupid’.

Arthuritis: More music on the way.
Arthuritis: More music on the way.

It’s been a difficult time specifically for the arts in Cork - venues and gigs being as they are - and it’ll be very hard to predict what the landscape looks like for artists in the city until a while after the dust settles.

For Pawsey, staying connected to his art and process in lockdown meant reaching out for collaborations.

“I make almost all of the music by myself usually, so being in lockdown I decided to do the opposite. I realised a lot of people, like me, didn’t have loads to do. So I contacted some artists, some of whom I’d never worked with before, and one I’d never met. This record actually has a lot more collaborative tracks than previous records I have made.

“I feel like the ongoing pandemic has changed my process a lot: my level of focus throughout has been far more intense.”

Pawsey has also played a curatorial role in the Cork scene in recent times, helping curate ‘Still Life’, a compilation of alternative and avant-garde sounds in the city. He discusses his role in the project with enthusiasm, in terms of reaching out and bringing different artists together to feature.

I suspect 2021 will be much like 2020: we will spend most of it alone or missing many who we can’t be with. I also predict wearing a hoover tube as a scarf will be quite fashionable sometime around the autumn.

“It was a great experience, I learned a lot. I love all the music on the compilation so much.

“We really wanted to help artists out whatever way we could, even if it is just a few bob, and a few more people hearing about their music, he says.

“One of my favourite things about the compilation is how diverse a group of artists there are, and I hope it helps connect some people who might not have had the chance to hear about each other otherwise.”

With uncertainty continuing well into the new year, Pawsey’s guess at what next for the arts in Cork is as good as anyone else’s, but one thing is for sure - he’s keeping himself as occupied as humanly possible, and making good on his newly-honed focus.

“I have another album to follow Occam’s Razor in the can, also to come out in 2021 hopefully, and another well underway.

“I suspect 2021 will be much like 2020: we will spend most of it alone or missing many who we can’t be with. I also predict wearing a hoover tube as a scarf will be quite fashionable sometime around the autumn.”

  • ‘Dancing with the Czars’ is available now for download, streaming and adding to your Bandcamp collection at https://arthur-itis.bandcamp.com/, while its accompanying video is available now on YouTube.

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