'Fill the room with love': the stress-busting jazz of Alabaster dePlume

Uncertainty has been the only constant of this strange year. For Gus Fairbairn, AKA multi-instrumentalist Alabaster dePlume, the anxiety bred by that feeling is the lifeblood of his work. “There’s lots of fear in our society – we are encouraged to be afraid of each other and afraid of ourselves,” he says in his soft Mancunian accent. “But you can’t make courage without fear. Next time you get some fear, you will have nearly everything you need. I want to create using those qualities.”

Speaking to Fairbairn is an exercise in disarming earnestness. He is stick-thin and effusively gestural. Each sentence is gently considered and peppered with mentions of “love”, “encouragement” and “empowerment”, yet this is no life-coaching session. Fairbairn offers up his credos with self-assuredness while also welcoming challenging perspectives. “The more of your personality we can have in the piece, the better,” he tells me when we first speak by phone, before later meeting in person.

Read the interview in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 04/11/20]