On a cold wet December’s night, on the street outside Camden’s Barfly, we caught up with London’s folktronica ‘Synther-Songwriter’ James Yuill.
How would you describe your tunes and the folktronica scene?
Singer song writey stuff with dance over it, kinda like Nick Drake with Chemical Brothers beats, yea the scene, I don’t really think I’m part of any scene, (James friend comes over for a chat) “I got an interview at the moment actually”,
JY friend: when you on?
1am…..yea I like to think of myself as a harder Postal Service, they’re fantastic. I guess loads of people now get laptops and do music in their bedroom, I reckon its just an ever growing thing, there’s a guy called Cajita, whos really good, he’s in Bristol but he does a similar thing to what I do, bit more tongue production not as heavy as my stuff but very similar.
How do you prepare for a show?
I get very nervous, then go on stage, no rituals. The feeling’s not so bad on tour as you get into a thing, turn up go onto autopilot. With one off shows like tonight, I build them up a lot.
Describe your best and worst gig?
Tonight is a reunion gig for the Festibelly Festival in the summer, the festival would be the best, with a load of my friends in the crowd, really good sound, big audience.
The worst was down off Old Street at the Troy Bar when I was simply doing the singer songwriter stuff, there was me and the 3 other male artists playing, during the set a guy came round selling DVD’s, he offered me one mid-song. I then recall the sound guy getting up and taking a call so I had to get up and help out on the sound, this was like a year and a half ago, before started using the laptop. That was one of many nights where your just playing to other musicians and no ones there to see you, it can be really depressing, you get to the state that you view the shows as practice so you can relax and experiment.
If you could be stuck in a lift with anybody who’d you choose and why?
Could be someone that I dislike so I could beat them up, oh who? I guess Tom Yorke, well actually maybe Johnny Greenwood as I hear he’s much better to get on with! I’d ask him how he does various things live, he uses loads of mini controllers that he designs. Your heads going to swell if your Tom Yorke!
Are Radiohead a big influence on your music?
Yea definitely, I’m more a fan of Amnesia than Kid A, it flows as an album a lot better. I’ve been into them since Pablo Honey but I like Hail to the Thief more than any, it mixes the rock of Ok Computer with the production of Kid A.
Would you distribute music in the way Radiohead pioneered last year?
You mean pay what you want? Yea I would but I’d rather set a price myself! Even friends who are massive fans download it for free. I heard even before the album was mixed it was available as a bit torrent download. That’s pretty cool as it means someone can be arsed to put it up, so I’m quite pleased. But the other side of that is lots of people are getting it for free while I’m not really making any money.
You looking forward to playing any cities?
Glasgow: everyone raves about the crowds, lot of people came over from there when I played recently in Edinburgh. Edinburgh was highlight of last tour but I’d love to play in Glasgow. I lost my voice in Aberdeen and literally couldn’t sing, but everyone was really nice.
Your impression of Glasgow?
If you have a lady over for dinner what would you cook for her and what movie would you pop on?
A lady, ooh, First time I cooked for girlfriend I made pasta which was a bit of a cop out but the second time she just gave blood so she wanted something with meat and cheese so I did a Stilton sauce, I can definitely recommend it. Get some Stilton and melt it down with a bit of butter and red wine, it goes so well with steak, just the best combination of meat and cheese in a dish! My favourite movie would be Total Recall, seen it like 10 times, but we watched Pan’s Labyrinth the other day, or maybe happy Gilmore.
Anything exciting in the pipeline for 2009?
Just singed a distribution deal for America, Japan and Australia, my manager speaks Japanese and I really want to go out there. I get way more hits from Japan than from America, they obviously know their music!