JAMES DOWNEY came all the way from Belfast to perform at Scholars (Aberystwyth) last year alongside, Alice Signal Fires and I (Louise and The Feathers). Even though I had unfortunately arrived without the plug, thankfully Tom (Scholar’s Boss) managed to find a replacement, so we got going and had an absolute blast! Now going it as a solo performing at loads of gigs, whilst working on some new songs, I want to find out more.
Heya, it seems you gigging loads since your mini tour. Has your schedule effected your song writing?
“Things have gotten busy with around 3-4 gigs a week, and since they’re in small pubs/bars I’ve been learning a crazy load of cover songs. The benefits of this, is I’m playing more music than ever. The downside is that I’m spending more and more time looking at other people’s songs instead of writing my own. However! I do sneak some original songs into my sets, and I’ve got great feedback so far!”
Aha sneak originals in you must! Your EP with AOS Si is brill, are you working on any new tracks?
“Yes. I’m working on 4 new tracks, which I’m planning to release as a solo EP. This time it will be more of an individual effort, writing songs by my lonesome in a room, instead collaborating with other musicians in the writing process.”
Ohh right so will the songs sound really different due to being solo orrientated?
“Yes. Last time I released an EP, I wrote the lyrics and the chords and then presented them to a group – who’d chip in with melodic ideas, harmonies and the structure of the song would change to fit them in.
This time, the whole process will spill from my head, straight oto paper. Hopefully Positive!”
Exciting. Any videos featuring humans dressed as cuddly animals again like ‘Lullaby’?
“I’m hoping to do more music videos. Maybe cuddly animals can be a recurring theme. Or maybe people would think that was weird. Have you heard of “Furry Fandom”, or “Furry fetish”? I wouldn’t want people know…..thinking I was into that“
Aha, perhaps a different animal, or location theme. You have been to varied cities and towns to be fair. Do you have a favourite?
“Experiencing different cities was great for self-confidence and meeting new people. It went very quick, and the whole thing was an amazing experience. Liverpool had a great music scene. Aberystwyth had an infinite amount of bars situated on the sea. One of my favourites is now Dublin, which I travelled to when I came back for an open mic night. Everyone was so friendly!“
Travelling is great. When and where are your next gigs?
“I’m flat out with cover gigs in different venues across Belfast, Antrim and Crumlin. I’m trying to “perfect” these new songs, and then get on the band circuit playing originals again. There is an abundance of music promoters in Belfast and the scene has grown a lot. In the past I’ve had help from Shizznigh Promotions, Pop Up, Soni Ni, Bright Green Octopus. So I’ll have to come knocking on their doors and start annoying them with emails again soon. My next original gig is with Bright Green Octopus on the 29th June. Ages away!”
Amazing! Well excited. What are your three words of encouragement?
Practice. Write. Practice.
I am so glad to hear James is going for it, by gigging and starting to work on a new EP. I can relate to the struggle of finding balance sometimes, when choosing which songs to play, as covers do go down well. But we must always remember, as an artist, to get personal ones heard too so stand out and progress. Like with AOS Si, he made Lullaby (film below) utilising a strong wind and baby introduction, before amazing harmony of the groups instruments and vocals. Then a moment of his extremely powerful voice, before the ending of their multi layered talents, showing true variety. So yeah it be a shame to not hear more of this, especially now he going to go about it from a solo perspective. I know I’m really excited! If you wanna see, hear and enjoy, check more out here:
YOUTUBE / FACEBOOK / firstname.lastname@example.org
Works with Other World Productions
Thanks for having a read. Next week will be a catch up with John Charles’s and find out about his new “THE HEAVENS” EP!
Em @ RM