Interview: James Bay
It’s pretty simple. James Bay is a timeless, brilliant and devoted artist, which his music reflects. Listen to ‘Glow’ and ‘No Direction’ and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Go and see him at a live show with his band for some great inspiration. The Badger met James at the Oxjam Festival, Worlds End in Brighton for a personal and insightful interview.
Tell me about your band.
My band consists of myself singing and playing guitar, bass player Ali Testo, drummer James Robinson, and two vocalists Annie Spayne and Emily Wright. We have a keyboard player in the pipework but can’t name any names as of yet. The band all moved to Brighton individually in 2009 and met through college. I lived with Ali, who happened to like a lot of the same music as me. He’d already started playing with James in another group and they’d established themselves as a great rhythm section. Annie and Emily were first brought in as stand ins for a last minute gig and since then have stuck, now playing a crucial part in our sound.
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
The Stones. Mainly because they were one of the first bands I listened to when I started getting into music. I love their songs, great guitar sounds and true band feel. I discover new things I like about The Beatles all the time though.
Best gig so far?
My favourite gig so far would have to be playing at the Rhythms of the World festival, Hertfordshire in July this summer. The whole six-piece band played to thousands of people on the Sunday afternoon. It’s one of the biggest stages we’ve played on so far and the atmosphere and crowd were amazing.
Do you find it easier to write music or lyrics?
I’ve been a guitarist much longer than I have a singer, so I find it easier writing the music for a song. Lyrics come later most of the time. But there are occasions when a song is inspired by a particular lyric and the music follows later on.
Next gig in Brighton?
We’ve got a number of shows lined up over the coming months. On Monday November 8th we’ll be playing at The Hope. The evening is in aid of the AVERT charity for AIDS. Brighton’s own Special Ks are headlining and as well as great music there will be raffle prizes including VIP tickets to Noisettes. I hope to see you there!
You can find James Bay recording for Balcony TV here.