Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with James OR to find out more…
Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
I'm originally from Cork, Ireland. My parents (especially my Mum) introduced me to artists like Queen and Buddy Holly when I was young. I got into playing music properly when I pestered my Dad to buy me a guitar so I could impress a girl - who is still one of my closest friends to this day.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
Every Christmas, my mum would give me two or three CDs of music she thought I'd like, so I was introduced to a lot of cool stuff early on - T-Rex, Neil Young, Rory Gallagher, Tracy Chapman, The Eagles. I also collected music obsessively while I was in school and got really into Nirvana, Biffy Clyro, The Frames etc - a lot of rock basically. Nowadays I'm listening to Sigrid's new album a lot, and bands like Manchester Orchestra and Bear's Den because I really love how they bring a dancey, almost electronic feel to their tunes.
How would you describe your sound?
Indie rock tinged with influences of folk and pop in a similar vein to artists like Frightened Rabbit and Glen Hansard. I've always loved trying for a fuller, rockier sound for my recordings, and I love the process of writing a song with a band and then stripping it back for just an acoustic guitar and a vocal.
What is your latest release called and what was the influence behind it?
My latest release 'An Attempt at Momentum' was out on Friday, April 26th. It's a song about those arguments you have in front of a mirror, and how they play out in real life... especially after you've had a few drinks..
What’s your local music scene like?
I'm currently based in London. Despite its size and level of activity, the music scene feels very communal to me. I've had lots of encouragment from other musicians I've met through it, and the audiences I've played to have been very engaged - it really feels like your music is being given a real chance to speak for itself. This vibe reminds me a lot of the one in Cork music scene where I'm originally from, which is smaller, but feisty and brimming with some insane talents like Jack O'Rourke, Sara Ryan, TOUCAN, Rowan, The Elation and so many more.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
In the next twelve months, I'll be touring the UK and Ireland and releasing the next single from my forthcoming album 'All the Beds We've Been In', which will be out in 2020. All news about releases and live dates can be found on my website.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
I would love to work with Guy Garvey from Elbow. He's one of my favourite writers and I'd be fascinated to see how he writes the way he does. An Attempt at Momentum actually came about from some advice he gave the audience at an Elbow gig I went to once. And David Byrne - because he's the brain that created 'Stop Making Sense' which, for me, is live performance art at its peak.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
One of the first gigs that I ever did was at a Pantomime wrap party for the younger cast members. I messed up the first chord and swore very loudly into the microphone, so it just echoed around this big dance studio for ages as a load of seven and eight year olds and their parents just stared up at us in a mix of horror and amusement. That was a fairly formative experience early on...
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
It's pronounced OR as in four...