James are back again with a new single called Sit Down with a new album towards the end of the year. They recently signed to Rough Trade after encountering various problems with their last record company.
Tim : I mean they weren’t very interested in us. We didn’t feel. We felt they had us and they didn’t do anything with our songs. They were a bit confused by the music we made. I think they found it a bit too individualistic. They told us it was too English for them. It was obviously not working and we were surprised when they said they wanted to carry on working with us after the second LP but they did want to carry on so we had to sneak off because we were really fed up.
Question : I was going to ask you if it had shaken your confidence, but obviously not.
Tim : I mean it was awful. We made this LP two years before it got released and we didn’t release anything in a two-year period and we had a big momentum going before that. So we lost it all just being not able to do anything. Remixes, the whole lot happened.
Jim: It was a really difficult period
Tim: We lost confidence a little bit in that sense.
Jim: You know we always believed the music would win through in the end. We would come out the other side and it would be OK, but the main thing was getting off Sire.
Tim: When we came off Sire and the drummer left, the nucleus of three of us, me, Larry and Jim, we write the songs. we thought about changing the name and starting again just for ourselves. But we kind of decided against it.
(part of Sit Down video)
Jim: It’s nice. Occassionally, you’re kind of walking down the street, been to Tesco, in shopping mode and they encroach on that a little bit. Encroach is the wrong word as it sounds not particularly pleasant but they’ll say “hello” and you’ll go “woah” because the two worlds are very different. You can go into one and come out again, and noone recognises you and everything’s fine and it’s funny where they overlap. It’s obviously not a big problem – yet – as it’s not happening all the time and people aren’t hassling you when you go into the shop all the time.
Tim: Only really in Manchester
Question: What about when one of your records gets played in a club? Do you get embarrassed by that?
Tim: No, it’s dead exciting. You see a dancefloor being filled in Manchester when they play one of your records. You feel you don’t want people to see you there but you kind of want to watch. Like that’s what you want. It’s how you feel it’s should be
Jim: You get a bit self-conscious
Tim: Yes, Jim went to see a band last week and they did a cover version of one of our songs and everyone was looking round at him.
Jim: It’s really nice. It’s dead flattering. I was really glad I was there but you feel that, even if they’re not, you feel that the whole place is looking at you.
(another section of Sit Down video)
Tim : I mean we’ve all changed over a long period of time. We’ve been through a lot of different phases. When we first started, our lifestyles were chaotic as in the rock and roll terms. We kind of lost a guitarist to that lifestyle, he ended up very ill and in prison. And so we’ve been through that kind of phase. We had a puritanical clean up where we saw we could have gone the same way and we didn’t want to do that. And then now, we’re just more relaxed, just enjoying what we do, we love our music.
I mean the thing about James is that is so special to me is that it’s not just about one person or centred around two or three. Even now, we’re a six-piece with three new members, they’re all great musicians in their own right. Each one of them could front a band and have it based around them, but we’ve got six people working together of that level of combustibility. And it’s really exciting. And you don’t normally get that. That will sound arrogant, but that’s how I see it, because, obviously, I’m the singer and I wouldn’t be working if I didn’t really respect and love the music we’re creating. We wouldn’t keep going that long if we didn’t love it.
Question : Have there been any regrets?
Tim: Regrets? We’ve had a few. Oh yes, we shouldn’t have gone on Sire. We shouldn’t have signed on the dotted line. The little signature. That was a mistake
Jim : You don’t know. We could have ended up with someone else ten times worse and all split up and committed suicide or something.
Tim : You can’t really regret. If we’d have stayed with Factory and recorded with them, something else might have gone wrong. We might have been hit by a bus because we weren’t down in London signing for Sire.
Jim : You don’t know do you?
Tim : You never know