Image Courtesy of Patrick James
On the 1st September Sydney singer-songwriter Patrick James will release his brand new single “All About To Change”. To celebrate James is hitting shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with a full band in a tour presented by Timber and Steel. Our very own Gareth Hugh Evans sat down with Patrick James ahead of the single release to chat about the home recording process, his plans for a new EP and the collaborative nature of the local indie-folk scene.
Gareth Hugh Evans: Let’s talk about “All About To Change” which is due for release at the start of September. I’ve been lucky enough to have a sneak peak at it and I really really like it. What’s the story behind it?
Patrick James: Basically it’s a home recording. Both Scotty [Steven], my banjo player, and I recorded it in our house using his setup in his room. It was really cool to have the time to flesh it out for a good few months. I did all the instruments on it – drums and bass and keyboards and everything like that – and Scotty did his banjo parts. It did take us a while to flesh it all out and make it mesh but I think eventually we got to a point where we were fairly happy with it.
GHE: And you have a couple of vocal parts on there as well which is a bit different for you.
PJ: Yeah, definitely. In the first recording we did just one single vocal line and then we did it another time and another time again so it’s three layers of vocals over the main melody line. Plus there’s some harmonies there so there’s quite a fair bit going on vocally in the song, I guess you could say. It was really cool to experiment with that – we kind of chucked that in last minute and hopefully it paid off.
GHE: I think the vocals is what struck me the most about the song when I first listened to it. When I’ve seen you live your vocals have been always pretty pure – obviously Scotty sings a little bit with you – but I think the overdubs on “All About To Change” are a really nice touch.
PJ: As you said with the live show it’s very solo but with the recording we wanted to experiment with the different sounds I could get with the voice. In the first verse there’s almost an erie kind of thing that we were going for – having three voices on top made it a bit more airy and spaced out.
GHE: Is “All About To Change” part of a grander design? Do you have an EP or an album on the way?
PJ: It’s part of an EP we’re going to bring out hopefully by the end of the year, if not the start of next year. We’ve done all the tracks at our home again, it’s five tracks, and this is the first single of those songs. [“All About To Change”] is getting released on the 1st September through iTunes, Bandcamp and Unearthed. We haven’t set a date on the EP coming out – it’s all kind of ready to go, we’ve just got to get it printed and stuff like that. From there we might do another single from the EP or we might just launch into releasing the whole collection of songs.
GHE: To launch the single you’ve got a couple of shows coming up presented by Timber and Steel. Are you excited to have something to present at a show?
PJ: Definitely. I think they’re going to be fairly special shows. We haven’t done a release for a while, the last one was “Carry On” last year, August I think. It’s going to be cool to get to some different places and play headline. To play for the purpose of that song is going to be pretty cool.
GHE: And the venues you’re playing at are big enough that you’ll get a decent crowd but still pretty intimate.
PJ: I think the Sydney one [Brighton Up Bar] is 120 capacity and the Melbourne one [The Workers Club] is a bit bigger. The Brisbane show is in a venue I played a couple of months ago called The Waiting Room which is like a house gig and is going to be really fun. We’re really excited about doing all three shows with the full band – that’s been so much fun over the last couple of months, performing with the band so we’re really keen for it.
GHE: How big is the band? Yourself and Scotty and then bass and drums?
PJ: We’ve got bass and a drummer as well. I think the thing that we were drawn to with the band was arranging the harmonies and stuff like that. We all sing and that’s our first love. We’re really excited about that. And then we’ve got keyboard as well that I’ll be playing on a couple of songs.
GHE: I’ve seen you performing with just yourself and Scotty a few times recently. Is that a partnership that goes beyond just performing together? Is Scotty a collaborator when it comes to songwriting as well?
PJ: We have been performing together since, I think, year seven of high school so the friendship does go a long way back. Definitely with these new songs Scotty has contributed with different things like riffs and stuff like that. I love doing the solo think and although it is called “Patrick James” the thing I like most about it is I can collaborate with someone like Scotty. With the band as well they’re starting to have individual says in the songs which is pretty cool.
GHE: You’ve collaborated with quite a few musicians over the years – people like Tim Hart for instance – is that something you’re looking to continue doing especially considering the quality of music that seems to be coming out of the acoustic scene at the moment?
PJ: I think it’s one of the main things with me to be honest – I can’t get enough of collaborating with people. I was talking with Packwood about this actually – definitely in Sydney there’s a real community of singer-songwriters at the moment who are willing to get together and jam out on a few songs. Which makes the whole experience really refreshing especially when you get caught up in trying to write songs by yourself. It’s always cool to get together a group of mates and do it.
GHE: I guess the obvious last question is what’s next for Patrick James? You’re looking to get the EP out at some point and is the plan then to tour off the back of that and get a few more dates under your belt than the single launch tour?
PJ: We’re going to do these three shows and then depending how everything goes we might do another single and then another single tour or we might just jump straight into the EP and tour that – hopefully get about a 10 show tour happening for the EP. Other than that Scotty and I are always recording new songs and we’re really keen to get some video footage up and put that up on iTunes as well. We’ve been talking and planning over the next six months to a year to get those sorts of things really underway.
GHE: Sounds like you have some big plans.
PJ: There’s always stuff to be doing – that’s for sure.
GHE: I think that’s it for today – thank you so much for chatting with us today and good luck with the single release and tour.
PJ: Thanks so much for that.
Patrick James will be launching “All About To Change” at shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The full list of dates and a teaser for the single are below:
Saturday 22nd September – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 30th September – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 5th October – The Waiting Room, Brisbane, QLD