Musician Patrick James is on the rise
We speak to the man behind the music and find out what it’s like to be on the brink of shedding the ‘emerging’ artist title.
We love emerging artists here at BYO. We get even more excited about emerging artists who are on the brink of leaving their title of ‘emerging artist’ behind. This is exactly the case with Port-Macquarie born, Sydney-based folk troubadour Patrick James. Patrick James has been kicking around the scene for a little over two years, and has been building his fan base rapidly. In part due to his hauntingly stripped back acoustic folk tracks as well as his avid busking around Sydney, he also joined a slew of big Australians artists on tour. This year he’s managed to get the invite from Josh Pyke and Emma Louise, and even been tour buddies with Thelma Plum. With the release of his ‘All About To Change’ EP earlier this year receiving reviews that included 4.5/5 and 10/10 ratings, it sure is exciting to see what the recent release of his single ‘Wait’ is going to take him. An extremely hard working and humble character, we found out about his Monkees musical roots, live music pet hates and uncovered the title of his forthcoming biography*.
*Yet to be confirmed.
You’re just about to release your new single ‘Wait’, without obviously giving too much away, tell us a bit about the track and the story behind how it came about?
Um well I think it’s one of those tracks that for me, went in a different place to what I was expecting. We didn’t really know where we wanted to take it when we started recording, and it sort of ended up as a bigger track with a lot more production elements than the last few pieces of music I’ve put out. It was really cool to work on in the studio and have a bit of time to really explore where everything goes. So yea, I would say its slightly bigger sounding than my previous songs.
Is it going to be on a forthcoming EP?
That’s right, a new EP or an album. I’m still deciding what the release will be next, but it is the first single of the new release, which will be out next year definitely.
How did you get into music originally?
I think it was just when I went to high school, I was surrounded by a lot of people in my music class that I took as a subject. I played I'm a Believer the first time at a concert, and then it just went from there. I played in a number of bands, played a number of different styles and all that stuff, and then landed on this project and stuck with it.
Is there any particular song that you hold really close, and feel like it really reflects you as a person and a songwriter accurately?
Do you mean any song of my own, or just in general?
That’s interesting actually, yes just any song in general…
There’s a song by Crosby, Stills & Nash called 'Helplessly Hoping', it’s just a really simple acoustic guitar line with three part harmonies that stuck with me for a while. But in terms of my own music, I think instrumentally I'm pretty stoked with the one that we released today ‘Wait’. I don’t know how it’s going to go or anything but we just had a lot of fun recording it, the band and I. It's a bit different, we did a few experimental things in there that was really fun for us to record, I guess a bit more than the other ones.
I notice that you do a lot of busking around Sydney, what’s the response generally like and do you find it assists with growing your fan base much?
Yea definitely! I think busking is a perfect way to promote your shows, especially when your shows are still small enough. I think when you’re still developing your sound and you haven’t completely cracked radio or YouTube, busking is a really honest way to do that, to develop your fan base. It’s great for that, as well as being fun. With touring and making the next cd, it’s all constantly getting your name out there which is always good.
When people listen to the music that you write, what do you want them to take away from it?
I guess that my music can go into unexpected places and not stick to one specific genre or one kind of writing. That’s what I’m going for, so I really like moving forward with my song writing and trying to adapt it each day. I hope that I can develop a fan base that can do that with me as well.
Everything you’ve been releasing so far has been gaining critical acclaim from almost everywhere, you’re selling out headline shows, you’re going to be big man! Have you got any opposition to being famous?
I think I’m a long way off that! (laughs) I think like ‘Why isn’t a professional doctor not famous?’ You know what I mean, a musician can just happen to be famous because its something that everyone listens too. So I’m definitely not in it for that type of thing. But I think it’s just so good when people appreciate music. I think it would be a weird thing to walk down the street and have someone point you out because you have that song or whatever. I don’t really think about that, but if it happens, which I don’t think it will (laughs), if that does happen then it’s all good. I'd just appreciate it all.
So if it wasn’t music you were doing right now, what would it be?
Um well I did study acting for a little bit, so it could be something with that. But if it wasn’t music, I could maybe teaching or something along those lines. Both my parents are teachers, so it’s kind of in my blood. But I think even if I get to a point with music where the performing stops or something like that, I really like the music business side of things, and am really interested in how it all works behind the scenes. There’s something within there that I would be interested in.
If you had to listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?
I'd listen to James Taylor, for sure! Oh man I just love all his albums and his song writing’s really cool. Just like what we were talking about before, there’s almost like a number of different genres in there. I love how he’s adapted over the years, and people have just loved it anyways. I really respect him as an artist.
What would a regular weekend for you generally consist of?
Getting up at 7.30, cooking myself a bacon and egg roll and heading down to the markets at Circular Quay to busk all day. Then getting home, going to bed, and having a beer or two. And then doing it all again the next day, and that’s pretty much been my weekend for a long time now, I've kind of gotten into that routine.
Finally, what’s in the pipeline now for you?
Well we've got the single coming out this week, I’m just about to put it on Facebook and stuff and then it’s available on iTunes. We then we have the tour that starts in November to promote the song, it’s like a 7 date headline tour which we’re pretty excited about, and then next year is more recording and a few other support slots as well.
Patrick James is currently about to embark on tour. Here are the dates, shows are already selling out so make sure to grab your ticket very soon.
- James Sherley
Thursday 7 November – Rad Bar, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 9 November – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 14 November - Ellington Jazz Club, Perth, WA
Friday 15 November – The Fly Trap, Fremantle, WA
Friday 22 November – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 23 November – Gorgeous Festival, Mclaren Vale, SA
Sunday 24 November – Queenscliff Music Festival, VIC
Wednesday 22 November – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Have a listen to his new single ‘Wait’ here: