Daniel James is a young and very talented singer songwriter. He has recently released a new video and we are grateful to him for taking the time to answer a few questions for us.
Hi Daniel. Tell us a bit about your background. You come from Ireland originally?
Hello Glasswerk. Yes, born and raised in Northern Ireland and grew up between Bangor and Belfast. I moved over to London 3 years ago originally to study art (Graphic design) at CSM but I was kidding myself a little and writing music took over.
Who were your early musical influences?
My dad would play his old records in the house when I was real young… I would remember a wide range or great pop.. David Bowie.. Michael Jackson, Steve Harley and the Cockney Rebel, Elton John.
I properly started listening to the more Singer – Songwriter stuff at around 16 after a trip back from Canada. Starting off with people like Sufjan Stevens and Alexi Murdoch and moving on to people like Ryan Montbleau and Citizen Cope as I grew into my late teens. I didn’t start writing music till late on, 19 or so. My early influences have definitely shaped a part of what I do and who I am, but now I find myself digging deeper into the music archives for more great and interesting songwriters and genres of music. Music is filled with history and different combinations and Im now trying to combine this research with the contemporary production I want to achieve.
And how did you get into writing and performing your own songs?
I went off on one in the last question and slightly answered this question, but, as soon as I put pen to paper or pushed button into laptop at it were, I fell in love with what could be done. The challenge is great. I just looked at what was around me and said to myself I can do that. It was really a combination of listening to music I liked and determination to write as good as them. Once I had 4 or 5 songs written I wanted to play everywhere I could.
We’ve featured your latest track The Stone And The Hollow. Tell us about the song.
I wrote this song with Carey Willets who is the bassist in the band ‘Athlete’ known for ‘Wires’. Carey still plays for the band but has a new project called ‘Boxes’. The song was inspired by memories of walks around Belfast Lough and how that felt different to the new London landscape I found myself in. I took time to think and ponder on new and old relationships alike, all compounded by the differing sense of space I felt.
You’re now based in London. Does living in the city have a big influence on your work?
Yea massively. There is music everywhere. It’s fast paced. I went to Record Store Day down the road at Rough Trade and saw the band ‘The Strypes’… for free… then later on Paul Weller gets involved.. where else does this happen? I’ve worked with some great artists, producers, engineers and writers all because I’m here. Belfast however does have a great scene with brilliant venues and I still have a good few mates doing there thing there, but I think London was right for me and my development.
Do you consider yourself as a solo artist or can you see yourself playing with a band?
I am a solo artist but I do see a band being a massive part of moving my music forward. Im still learning about myself and my music everyday but getting a band on board would only improve what I know and help me find out what I don’t know, as well as making me a better musician. I will probably just start off with acoustic gigs and then build from there.
Have you any gigs coming up?
Yep. I’m starting to book gigs for mid – end of May.
And what about the summer – are you doing any festivals?
We will see how the first couple of gigs go. I hope so!
And what does the future hold for Daniel James?
I hope it’s a bright one. I’ve been working hard for the last couple of years to write different material and create something a bit fresh and new. I’m releasing another track in a couple of weeks called ‘Lonely Man’ which I’m really proud of – I’m happy with all the elements of production and lyrics which is rare for me so. Let’s just see how it all plans out!