James Bay ConcertLiveWire Interview + Gondola Sessions performanceSeptember 25, 2013
Livewire: When did your interest in music start?
James: I remember loving music as far back as I can remember. I guess a lot of people say it. I’ve always loved music. The point when I decided that I loved it enough to want to play it was well when I found a guitar in the attic. I knew it was there and wasn’t that impressed by it for a couple of years. When I was about eleven years old, I thought I would really love to get that down. Right about the same time, my parents, my dad was playing Derek and The Domino’s “Layla.” I heard that riff and that was the moment. I said to myself, I’ve got to get that guitar down. That’s when it really came to life. I wanted to play music and I had such a deep love for music.
Livewire: When did you get your first guitar?
James: It was the one I pulled down from the attic. It was the first one I got. It was in pieces. I was eleven years old and I learned on that one for a while. The first guitar I got from the store wasn’t even a year later, so I was probably eleven or twelve years old. I quickly progressed. It was a classical guitar with nylon strings. I wanted to play electric guitar!
Livewire: Where do you reach inside for the inspiration for your songs?
James: Like all writers and musicians, I’m looking for something different. Trying to do something that feels personal as well as listenable. Each of the songs on the EP were expressions of how I was feeling at the time. It’s very much a process of putting feelings to music. Putting emotions to music and lyric.
Livewire: What do you write first, the lyric or the music?
James: It’s the music. It’s the music every time. Independent of the music, I’m often scribbling down phrases all the time. I’m writing things that come to my head or things people have said. But I’ve always got my guitar in hand. The music comes first, melody and cords. If I’m lucky some of those words will work with the melody and chords.
Hear James Bay perform “Move Together” and “Need the Sun to Break” on the Gondola Sessions:
Need the Sun to Break