James has added another country to visit this summer: Spain! On July 5, he is set to perform at the Cruïlla Festival. This two day summer music festival in Barcelona has grown to be one of the best summer music festivals with around 30,000 music fans in attendance. Tickets are on sale now.
Lithuania, James is coming to you this summer! He’ll play at the Granatos Live Festival on August 2, which will be held at the unique location of the Rumšiškės Museum. This will be the first time that James performs in Lithuania. Tickets are already on sale, so get yours now!
Part 2 of the new Q&A! In this part, James talks about new songs, snowboarding and singing to his daughter.
Click here to read the Q&A on James’ official site, or continue reading below.
Margarida asked on Facebook whether you’ll be singing something new at these summer dates. So you think you might?
It all depends on whether I get something together in the next few months. I think there’s a good chance that I will. It’ll just be whether I’ve got the bollocks to try them! I’ll have to be really sure that they’re good. If they are, then I’ll definitely play some new stuff!
When you play a new song, can you read the response of a crowd quite easily?
Yeah. When I’ve played new songs before, yeah, it’s quite an instant thing. Although maybe if you played them twice you might get a different reaction the second time. But you’re always gonna get a different vibe when you play a new one. I’m never exactly overjoyed if I go and see someone in concert and they say they’re gonna play a new one! It just has to be good.
Next question is from Lynn, who saw your snowboarding pictures and asks where you went?
I went to Meribel, near Chamonix. We weren’t in the posh area, though. I had to keep it real with all the northern blokes. Not that I’d want to go to the posh bit anyway. It was really nice actually, we had fresh powder for the first few days. It was lush.
Did you have any accidents?
Yeah, I had more accidents than anyone. I was like Crash Bandicoot! I took out an old man. Not for dinner. I took him out on the hill. His face planted pretty badly and I apologised to him. He was quite dazed. He was going about 30 mph and I just didn’t see him coming. Every other day I was getting battered. By the end of the week, I was knackered from all the crashes that I’d had. But it makes it more exciting when you know you can hurt yourself! It was a good trip.
Did you get recognised out there?
Yeah, I did! Someone tweeted a picture of me on the first day I was there – even though I had my snow hat and my goggles on. They were like, “Alright James”! But generally it was nice not to get recognised too much. We’re all men with kids, so it wasn’t like we were going out clubbing every night. We were in by the fire with a hot chocolate, taking it easy.
Maureen asks if you watched the Brit Awards this year?
I didn’t actually. I had something on that night. I was glad that Ben Howard won a couple, though. He’s amazing. I was well stoked for him.
Have you met him?
I haven’t. I know he’s from down near Cornwall, and a few of my mates have known him. And we’re on the same label.
Natalie would like to know how many guitars you have.
No. I’ve got about ten or eleven.
You’re not a massive collector, then?
I try not to be. But every guitar I’ve got is different. I’ve got a nylon guitar, and a 12-string, and a few electric guitars. And loads of battered ones from when I was a kid – nostalgic guitars that sound like shit.
Do you play electric guitar much?
No, that’s one of the things that I want to try and accomplish this time around. I’m a good rhythm guitarist, so I’d definitely like to get something on there next time. I’ve been listening to a Lianne La Havas album. The electric guitar sounds wicked on that album. Thing is, the guitar player in my band is so good, I’m like, “OK, I’ll put mine away!” Actually, yesterday I had to do some rehearsals for this Save The Children gig I’m doing, with Nile Rogers and Maceo Parker from James Brown’s band. All these amazing players. I was quite nervous about going along. I was like, “There’s no way I’m playing electric guitar in there!”
How are you when you meet legendary musicians like that?
For the first hour, I shrink myself as much as I can and not get in anyone’s way. See what the lay of the land is. Then I start coming out of myself a little bit more. I think that’s just my way anyway. I never want to push myself on people. Especially if they’re legends! They need their space. They don’t want some little cocker spaniel jumping up at them.
How did you get on?
It was nice. They were all like “Yeah man, good singing man”. It was good to feel like I’m quite anonymous but I can still go into those big band situations and do it.
What is this Save The Children thing?
It’s like a private charity gig in London. Jonathan Ross is hosting it. And I’ll be a doing a couple of numbers.
What else have you been up to?
Not much, really. Just dicking about at home, doing my gardening and riding my motorbike and hanging out with my little girl.
Tania would like to know how your daughter responds to your music. Is she a fan?
Yeah, she is actually. Well, she says she is. She said, “You’ve got a really nice voice daddy”.
Do you sing to her at bedtime?
Definitely. She always wants me to sing to her.
What do you sing?
The weird thing is, I used to sing to her just “close your eyes” and I ended up singing Eternal Flame, just cos it’s got that line in it. So she asks for that all the time now! I’m a bit sick of it, to be honest. And I sing Love Me Tender to her. Just sweet, calm little songs, really.
Quite a few fans actually asked if you’d do a covers album. So maybe it could be James’ Lullabies.
Haha! That will never happen.
Briona wonders what your favourite country of all the ones you’ve visited is.
Oh. That’s difficult. I like so many different things about so many different places. I did like Australia, just because the weather’s really good and they have so many exotic plants. And I liked Hawaii for that wildlife and nature side too. In terms of the people, I thought the people in the Philiipines were really nice. And when I went to America, I really liked Alabama. But I like Europe as well. Switzerland and Italy are beautiful. And Portugal. I like so many different places. I can’t really pick one place.
Toja Jing asks how many countries you’ve been to.
Oh, wow. I have no idea. I think if I had to count it, it’d take quite a while. It’d probably be easier to say the ones I haven’t been to!
Go on then.
Well, I’ve never been anywhere in Africa. Or India. And I’ve never played in Iran. But apart from those, I feel like I’ve been pretty much everywhere. It’s certainly made me better at my geography. I got the worst mark in that when I was a kid, so it’s been useful.
Valentino Woof asks if you’d consider singing in another language.
I was thinking of that the other day, actually. I heard one of the Beatles songs in German and it made me think it’d be quite fun. Other artists have covered my songs in their own languages, too. I always think it must be really hard to write a song in a foreign language that has the same impact as a song by someone who comes from there. You don’t know all the nuances of the language. But I would like to try something, definitely.
Maybe if you do it in Iranian, you could finally get to visit.
Haha! Yeah, maybe. A bonus track in Iranian, just in case I break over there!
Written by JMHQ
Video interview! James joined Neil Fox on Magic FM‘s breakfast show and they had a nice chat.
There’s a new Q&A with James. JMHQ gave James a call for another of their exclusive chats, this time armed with questions supplied by fans on Facebook. In part one, updates us on his home studio and tells us about his songwriting process.
Click here to read the insightful Q&A on James’ official site, or continue reading below.
Hello James, how are you doing?
I’m good thanks.
What have you been up to?
I’m still busy getting my studio together. I’m just buying gear at the moment. Mics and vocal compressors and stuff like that. It’s all coming this weekend, so I’m going to be setting it up then.
How do you choose which mic to buy?
I’ve gone for a Neumann 47, I think. That’s just a mic that I used to use when I was putting demos together, that I really like.
Are you obsessive about which mic you use?
I am a little bit. I’m constantly looking for mics that suit my voice. But at the same time I don’t like to be too precious about it. Some places you go they’ve just got SM58s and you have to get on with it. But in the studio it is annoying if you get on the mic and it doesn’t sound right. So I’m hoping that this Neumann 47 will sound like what I want it to in my head.
How could a mic sound wrong?
There’s just certain mics that pick up the wrong frequencies for your voice. Like even though I’ve got quite a high voice, there’s quite a lot of bass in it, so I need a mic that can deal with that. But I’m not really that technical with it. I just know what I like. Which is why I got that one. I think I did You Give Me and some other songs on that.
Presumably it would be possible to obsess about every part of the studio, down to the last wire.
Yeah, you could. I’ve basically just gone for good gear that I know will do the job for what I need it to do, which is to make good demos, essentially. One day I’d like to be able to make an album there, but for now I’m just gonna get the basics for what I need for it to function properly and make it sound nice. As long as I can record and it sounds decent enough, then that’s what I’m after. But I’ll try and fine tune it over the next few years.
And theoretically you should be able to do everything at home these days? Do people even need studios any more?
They are kind of losing their function, really. There’s so much good technology that people can just do it at home now. Which is kind of sad, really. But it’s less money and easier, and for me personally it’s about having the freedom to record whenever you want.
Recording at somewhere like Abbey Road presumably adds *something* to the process.
Yeah, it makes it more exciting. And it makes it an occasion. Something rubs off. But with recording at home, I think there’ll be a separation from when I do finally record the album properly in a studio. I think I’d feel nervous if I had to make this whole album at home, when I’m still learning how it works.
How are you on the recording software?
Not great! I think we’re going to be using Pro Tools. I’m just going on what is being recommended to me. I’ve made some things on GarageBand, but that’s about as far as it’s gone before. I’ve got a lot learning to do! But it’s exciting. Although I want to also keep my head focused on the soulful side of writing music, rather than getting too much into the technical stuff. I don’t want to be sitting there just editing drums for hours!
And you don’t want to be too clinical about music. It’s meant to be something you feel.
Exactly. And it can be clinical. But I wanted to get my own studio so that I can learn a bit more about it and how to get what you want from sound.
And as of this weekend, you should be ready to go?
Well, I’ve got two guys coming to set all the gear up for me – including Rich who plays keyboards with me – and he’s going to just go through how to put a track together. And then they’re going to leave me to it!
Have you been songwriting already then?
I have, but in terms of having anything solid, it’s not there yet. I’ve got a few starting points that I need to build on. It’s in its embryonic stage!
We asked for questions from fans for this interview and Patricia actually asked, “How would you describe your creative process? Do you start by choosing a topic to write about? What comes first, working on lyrics or music?”
Well, it changes for me, really. Sometimes if I don’t get anywhere with the melody, I’ll try and think of a topic. But usually I’d prefer it to come to my mind naturally. Thinking of something to write about is almost a barrier. I like the subconscious mind letting me know what it’s about. When your mind’s thinking like that, it always comes up with better ideas. So I always try and let the melody come first.
So you’ll be sitting there “la la la”-ing?
I usually try to get a rhythm or a melody and then usually after that I’ll start getting some words. But it still takes me quite a long time before I decide where it’s going. I let the melody dictate what a song’s about, though, rather than having a load of words and putting a tune to it. I find that harder.
How does it work when you work with other songwriters? You bring something to them which you’ve already started?
Yeah, exactly. I just take in what I do on my own. It might be a verse and a chorus, or even just a hook, or a lyric idea. It’s usually a melody and some words, to be honest. Then we’ll build it out of that. Or sometimes we’ll start something brand new together. On the last album, for me, the ideas that I worked on my own and then took in turned into the better songs.
So, really there’s no set process for you?
Yeah, the freer it is, the better, I think. Sometimes I can start playing someone else’s song and then it’ll inspire me to write something of my own. Or just listening to a song that I can’t hear properly can get me inspired. It’s about just letting my mind come out with stuff. It’s not always good! But at the moment it’s a nice stage to be at. I don’t really know where I’m going with it, or what it’s going to be like, but I know what I want and a bit more about how to get it. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. I like that.
By far the most common question we got asked on your Facebook was “When will you be playing in….?”. There’s a certainly a lot of demand to see you all over the world.
And you do have quite a lot of shows coming up.
Yeah, I’m doing a little Europe tour in the summer. It’ll be nice to get out. Hopefully I’ll be able to play some sort of new material. That was kind of the idea behind it. It’s a little tour, really. There’s only 12 dates – with just 3 shows in England and one in Ireland – but there’s enough there that if people want to see me live, they can hopefully come out and see me.
And you’re getting around a lot of countries.
Yeah, those are places that still have people that want to see me! I’m well grateful that I can do it. I didn’t expect to be doing another tour between albums. I’m looking forward to it.
Written by JMHQ
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