Another of the standout acts from this years impressive Splendour festival were Manchester band James. With 14 albums under their belt and a list of hit singles longer than your arm – including the iconic ‘Sit Down’ and ‘Come Home’ – the band were, and still are, a crucial part of the UK’s indie scene. GIGsoup caught up with Saul Davies and Jim Glennie from the band to discuss the music industry and how they maintain a work-life balance…
Have you got any other festivals/concerts lined up for the summer?
Saul Davies: We have got Kendal Calling coming up and other bits up and down the country, we are also performing Portugal too.
(I point out my partner is Portuguese and Saul points out his wife is Portuguese and at this point they both enter into a Portuguese conversation until Jim jokes with Saul: “Lets bring the interview back on track you’re cutting in on the interview!”)
Saul: “I speak better Portuguese than him!”
Who would you say your main influences are musically? Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?.
Saul: Sometimes I think it would be great to work with someone who does something different. What happens if you get a Hip-Hop singer and stick them with an indie band?
Rather than wanting to work with your heroes and getting a self congratulatory slap on the back fest and rather than it actually being a challenging experience. I don’t know who that artist would be, would be funny to see Eminem rapping over us lot!
What advice would you give to up and coming bands starting out in the in the industry? Is there anything you would change going back?
Jim Glennie: No not really, it has been a messy journey for us, with many highs and lows. With some fairly disastrous points as a band and for us individually. But that is just part of life isn’t it?You can’t really control it.
I’m amazed we are still here, I am amazed we managed to survive it, I’m amazed that individually we are all still around. And that the band have managed to stay together. But you get stronger, and I suppose, you get days, you know some of the problems you get later on seem small in comparison to some of the disasters you have been through earlier.
It is like a relationship I guess, it’s like the first couple of years you find your feet, but after like 10,15, 20 years you have been through some very big disasters to get there and it strengthens you. How you pass that on as a piece of wisdom to a band that that is starting up, I don’t really know…
Saul: I’ll tell you my advice for a new band starting, is not to start a band because you want to pay the bills. Or don’t start a band because you want to make a career.
Jim: Very True
Saul: The only way you will be in a band that does anything is if you start a band just because you want to be in a band and make a fucking racket! Then maybe, maybe, guess what? Something happens. But I think if you try to do something that could be your living, I think you’re almost certainly destined for failure. If failure is the right word to use.
Jim: You have to do it for something other than money, there is something much more important about music than that.There really is?
How do you balance your band life with private life? Do you find it hard?
Jim: We’ve changed over the years in the band. We used to be a lot more Rock and Roll. We used to be a lot more self indulgent and destructive in that respect. But people have got families now, and that just adds a different tone. It makes it a lot easier to cope with on a normal everyday level. And we need that, because we went through periods where it was pretty destructive, individually and collectively. It was mental times within the band. Its one of those things you have to do. Thats what happens you go off the rails a bit!
But we have all calmed down a lot now. And the kids have a great feeling and vibe around us. Generally speaking it just adds a different tone. Especially when we play festivals like Splendour with a real mixture of age groups and people out there, it kind of fits that, it feels more normal, which I don’t think is a bad thing at all.
Saul:If you look at festivals in early 90s mid 90s it’s not families, it’s just mud, clothes, getting drunk and kicking off and shagging each other really! A muddy field and beer tent. Now its about bringing your families, It’s much more inclusive now, you look out there and it’s just huge!
( At which point Saul’s daughter interrupts to say it’s time for James to go on stage!)