Unafraid to be unique, newcomer Brave James blends dreamy alt-pop, maximalist electro production and multi-layered psychedelic vocal harmonies as he whips up a whirlwind of multi-generational influences into a sound that sits right at home in 2021. Those traits both flourish and prosper in his debut single ‘Soldier’, which is out now.
Here’s what Brave James had to say when we got a chance to ask some questions.
Who were your musical influences growing up?
“I grew up around a lot of vocal harmony – groups like Take 6 and The Beach Boys were on regular rotation. I also discovered electronic music through artists such as Brian Eno, and later Jon Hopkins. Randy Newman first opened up the songwriting dimension for me”.
Tell us about your debut single ’Soldier’ and how it came about..
“Soldier speaks to me as a kind of anthem for what the upcoming album is about, setting the direction. For this track, I wanted to integrate vocal harmonies with electronic atmospheres over this marching, militant groove. I was also experimenting at the time with cassette looping and other fun stuff. It all just bled its way into the track. I felt like I wanted to write something about navigating lingering memories and feelings from past relationships. The recording and writing process were fluid between myself and co-writer/co-producer Oli Rockberger”.
There seems to be a lot of different influences in your music… who and what inspires you?
“Electronic, gospel, R&B, vocal harmony, A Cappella, Songwriting, and beyond. I really love songs that capture big thoughts and feelings put to soundscapes. For the album, I wanted to try and channel some feelings of human connection and disconnect that I’ve had in my life, hoping that it may touch and resonate with listeners”.
Can you describe your music in 3 words?
“Dreamy Sound-clash Alt-Pop”
If you could collaborate with any other artist – who would that be?
“Today I would say Laura Mvula, Bon Iver or Baths… maybe all three together on one track, why not spoil myself”.
Can you tell us anything more about your debut album?
“Last year I had an epiphany and started writing this Brave James project. The pandemic has meant that I’ve been able to buckle down and finish the record. It felt like closing a big chapter in my life when I finished the last song but also like opening another one. I feel ready to share this music and to keep creating and releasing from here”.
If you had to be remembered for one thing apart from your music what would you want it to be?
Tell us something we don’t know about you..
“I used to design a bunch of web-games when I was younger under an alias… back when Flash animation was a thing. A few of them really took off – but at the same time I’m glad to leave that side of things to the past as it was really all-consuming”.
By Siân Parker