Extracts from interview with Saul Davies:
The tour in the Autumn is with Happy Mondays, are you all friends with each other?
No, not really – there is not a great connection between our bands. We are very different kinds of people culturally and all the rest of it. I joined James in 1989 and the year before that James took the Mondays on the road with them as a support band and I think there were great differences then and I think there still are now. We represent different musical traditions and different lifestyles. I think there is huge respect from both camps to each other, I hope there is – there certainly is from James to the Mondays. I think they are an amazing band who have had some incredible moments but we would not live our life like they have lived theirs.
Has the song Sit Down been a blessing or a curse to the band?
Totally a blessing. Globally, Laid is our biggest song by far, so for example in the States it is Laid, not Sit Down. You learn where you are and where you are going to that people and they have their favourites. You are known for different things in different places, I have no problem at all that Sit Down proceeds us. It is only difficult if you do not know what to do with it and I think we worked out many years ago what to do with it – which is not to play it all the time and never ever, don’t ever, give it for synchronisation into a film.
Do you listen to any new artists?
There has never been so much new music as there is now, the trick is getting through it all to find the stuff that connects with you. I have done a bit of work with a Manchester band called Rosellas, they have some fantastic songs. They have only been going a couple of years but they have a lot of potential. They have that Manchester swagger about them – just a real confidence and a cheekiness but underlying it all [and] the songs are fantastic. I discovered them through a friend of mine and I’m involved in a charity called Everybody Belongs Here and at the end of January this year we did an on-line concert with some of the biggest artists in the world and we called it Music Feeds. We raised a million pounds for food charities. Sam Smith was there, Liam Gallagher, Newton Faulkner and it was also an opportunity to showcase some new artists and Rosellas were involved in that. I was fortunate to be able to go to The Met in Bury and record Rosellas there for the event. It was remarkable really and an amazing day for me.
There is another band too called Sound of the Sirens, two girls from Exeter who have a very English sound – they have been going for a little while now but I have been working with them too. Yes there is a lot of new music around you just have to be brave about trying to find it.
James have always had an uplifting element to their songs, though on the album opener, ZERO, Booth offers the opening line that “We’re all gonna die”. This reflective track deals with our mortality as drum beat marks the passing of time. “We are ageing like time” he continues. Happy days!
Wherever It Takes You is more spoken word than actually singing though the chorus has that uplifting vibe that you get when the band are in a more upbeat mood.
Magic Bus is James at their best on a track that will become a live favourite when they tour again; a bass driven melodic track that seems to continue the theme of mortality.
Whilst some of their peers might seem to be stuck in the slow lane, James continue to drive ahead on this colourful journey.4/5 (80%)