Introducing Interview: Chris James

Formally of electro-rock outfit Stateless, singer-songwriter Chris James has now decided to go it alone as a solo artist. Based in London, James now creates cinematic folk ballads with raw emotion and rich musicality.

With his new EP Space In The Clouds out now, we caught up with Chris James to find out more…

Hi Chris James! How are you today?
Well I was lucky enough to see Stewart Lee do stand up the other night which was totally amazing, so I can’t complain!

Can you tell us about your new EP Space In the Clouds?
It’s 5 songs which were written over the past few years, produced with Barny Barnicott (Arctic Monkeys) and Suneil Pusari (Michael Kiwanuka) featuring DM Stith (Sufjan Stevens), Nick Ramm (Cinematic Orchestra) on piano, Lorna Rose on vocals, Arista Hawkes (Guillemots) on bass, and Ben Trigg on cello. The title track is essentially an older self talking to a younger self through a time lapse, with the counter voice sung by DM Stith.

Why did you decide to move away from Stateless and start to work on solo stuff?
These songs are more personal in this project, so they didn’t really fit with the Stateless band vibe. We’re all still friends and still work together on various projects. I don’t really like the “solo” title either, as there are lots of people involved as I mentioned above, but I guess it’s a way of being a bit more flexible with what I do now, I feel freer to collaborate with different people and try new approaches.

Can you describe your sound in five words?
Cinematic, folk, electronica, atmospheric, spatial.

You collaborated with DM Stith for your latest single ‘Space In The Clouds’ – how did that come about?
I met him through Shara (My Brightest Diamond) an amazing artist for whom I wrote a duet, that we recorded together at her flat in Brooklyn. It’s called I’m On Fire (Stateless). She introduced me to his music and I LOVED it. He quickly joined her in my list of favourite artists in the world. I met him in London while he was working on his album ‘Pigeonheart’ and we recorded ‘Space In The Clouds’ at my flat, it was a really special thing for me as I love his work. He’s also the nicest guy you could hope to meet.

If you could pick anyone in the world, who else would you like to work with?
I guess Bjork would be number one. I’ve loved her ever since Debut came out when I was a teenager.

Any live dates coming up?
Yes, definitely. We’ve just done an AV show in Camden with an amazing visuals guy Exceeda, so we’d like to do more of those this year. I’m well chuffed to be performing alongside Nick Ramm (piano), Lorna Rose (vocals, bass), and Gillian Wood (cello).

What can we expect from Chris James in 2017?
A full length album (can’t wait to release that!), possibly preceded by another EP. Still fine-tuning the recordings. More AV shows, more live shows.

Huge thanks to Chris James for answering our questions! Find out more at his Facebook page. 

Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.