Those who know of Elijah James already are aware of this extremely talented singer-songwriter, and the superbly rich baritone voice he possesses. His debut album, 2014’s “Nobody Important” – self produced and financed, was a genuine calling card for his talent. Stand out tracks of this highly impressive album include Becoming Me, A Perfect Death and the mighty My Empire, all of which signify a song-writing maturity beyond his own young years .However, his profile within the Merseyside music scene is deliberately low key, something which mirrors the approach from the man himself. After a stint playing solo, which included his own gigs plus some high profile supports, as well as contributing backing vocals on Thomas Lang’s The German Alphabet, he has chosen to change direction. He has teamed up with a group of very talented musicians – The Nightmares – and is in the process of finishing of his second album. We met recently to discuss these new developments.
Liverpool Noise: How does this new album differ from your last?
Elijah James: Mostly in the production of it. Similar to this record, I did everything myself from recording to mixing, in doing this I learned a lot through trial and error, and that, along with a lot of research and reading has helped me to achieve better quality recordings overall. There’s also a much wider range of instruments on this record too, there’s tenor horns, saxophones, and violins/violas, creating big string sections, which I never would have been able or even dared to try record during the last record. It also helps that I’ve managed to work with some outstanding musicians; one in particular I couldn’t have done a lot of it without is James Cudworth. He played some drums, but also bass, guitar, clarinet, sax, a true multi-instrumentalist, and working with someone like him have definitely made the biggest difference between this and the last record.
Liverpool Noise: Has the writing process been different?
Elijah James: In terms of song writing, I feel there isn’t a dramatic difference, I’m still coming from a similar place as the last, and I wrote them all on an acoustic guitar too. I have however been taking on more of a storytelling role, creating characters and worlds in which the songs explore, this unlike the last, which was innately a product of anxiety and depression and served almost as personal therapy, lifts some of the focus of the record from me as the main protagonist, but still maintains a similar style of writing and song.
Liverpool Noise: You have decided to work with a band again. Why?
Elijah James: I was lonely. Also I felt the songs I was writing didn’t have enough of an impact played just with an acoustic guitar, but mostly I was lonely.
Liverpool Noise: How do you see yourself within the current Liverpool music scene?
Elijah James: I don’t tend to look at myself that often it only leads to another record like the first, especially not in comparison to others. I will however say I enjoy the Liverpool music scene a great deal, and wouldn’t have been able to work with all of the suburb musicians I have on this record, if it wasn’t so close-nit.
Liverpool Noise: Plans for the future?
Elijah James: I hope to get on the road with The Nightmares eventually, play as many shows as possible, and finally release this latest record! After that, regardless of reception, I’ll probably begin recording another one, because that’s all I enjoy.
And that last sentence probably sums up Elijah James, in that he is an artist who will continue to write, play and record as that is his sole raison d’etre – it’s his life. Having seen him play a number of times it is quite clear that he is growing in confidence personally, and as an artist also, and this new direction on his artistic journey is reaping rich rewards. He is clearly someone who will be very important indeed.