James Hoyle - 10 Questions Music Interview
James Hoyle is a Singer/Songwriter from Sydney who has spent his last 3 years living as a nomad. With a backpack and a guitar, James has wandered all around Europe, The UK and America, sleeping on sofa’s and playing street music. His early songs reflect the inner toils, turbulent romances and endless wonder of man down a road of self-discovery. James’ debut album, ’The Signs’ is his first step towards releasing his music back out into the world that has given him so much. He and multi-instrumentalist Josh Haynes met in London and would go on to make the full length record at Lounge Studios. Musically, he draws inspiration from blues, folk, rock, country and even electronica. Now, after playing shows in England, Italy and New York, James has returned to London as looks towards his debut release and onward.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
Well, growing up I was never really a musician. But, at the age of 21 one, my younger brother put a guitar in my hands and I somewhat reluctantly learned a few chords. But it soon became an obsession - and all the poetry I've been writing as a kid had a new vessel in which to exist. At 22 I quit my corporate job to travel across Europe and America with my new guitar and began drawing inspirations from the experiences of my escapade.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I was somewhere in the north of Spain staying at a cheap hostel and I met a girl from France who invited me to come to the beach with her.
I remember it being her birthday, it was Friday and she was fasting as a sort spiritual exercise. I thought that was kind of cool. But I however would not be partaking and got a couple of beers for the journey. I knew she was gonna take me somewhere cool, and sure enough we wound up at this huge cliff face with stairs of stone winding down to a little beach wedged in-between the cliffs. And as we got down there I came to realize it was a nudist beach! I partook, of course. It was pretty hilarious to get naked with somebody you just met. But it was kinda liberating too. All cards on the table. Nothin' left to hide. All limbs in the ethos?? We later even made friends with these 2 Spanish girls - one of which was carrying one of the big festival drums. Like who takes one of those to the beach?? I had my guitar with me as well though, and the four of us climbed along these stones that trailed down one side of the beach that led out to the ocean. And as we sat before it, sun setting, butt naked. I strummed some Arabic style chords while she beat the drum like a drone. It was mesmerizing. And the other 2 girls rose before us and danced like a couple of drunken contortionists. They sung and spin and cried out random animal noises…. its was honestly one of the most bizarre and moving moments of my life. Frenchy asked me later on, she said: “did you feel it James? On the stone?” And I knew exactly what she meant. “Yeah, I felt it”
I'm surprised she hadn’t noticed quite frankly. Some feelings aren't so easy to hide on a Nudist beach She planned to sleep on the beach that night invited me to join her. But I was so hungry I had to go back to town. And so I left her there on the beach alone. On her birthday. Hope she’s okay. Wherever she is!
What has been the high point of your music path?
When travelling through London I met Multi-instrumentalist & producer Josh Haynes in a bar. I told him about my songwriting escapades and he told me about his studio in Finsbury Park. The following week I came in to show him a song and we went on to make a 12 track album! My Debut - "The signs"
Seeing the songs come to life through the beauty of collaboration was something really special. And when he brought in musicians to play parts that Id written for the keys, trumpet etc. live in the studio. It blew my mind! We are now in the early stages of an even bigger and better record!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I find myself at my best as a songwriter when I'm thoughtless. Rarely will I sit down and actively try to write a song about something specific. Rather, just make sure instruments are lying around when inspiration strikes! I tend to learn a lot about myself after I listen to my songs later on. I never know what I'm going on about at the time. But with retrospect it always makes sense. "ohhhh, that's what I was talking about!"
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
In terms of the industry, I think the sheer volume of content out there nowadays can make the whole thing seem pretty scary. But I think its important as an artist to keep your own vision at the forefront of your agenda. If I could change anything about the industry it would be for media outlets to promote smaller, local artists more frequently, with less focus on already-established mega stars.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
John Frusciante/Red Hot Chili Peppers. The spirit and brotherhood of these guys has always inspired me and musically they have been a huge influence on me. Although maybe id crumble on stage out of sheer joy and disbelief haha. Maybe Beck.... he seems cool
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
We begin with a 2 hour meditation followed by some green tea and a circle of trust. haha nah just kidding. The Band and I usually start and finish with a big jam, and in between I run the band through the set list track by track. I've got sh0tgun josh himself on drums and the brazilian wizard, Joao on the bass.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
The second single on the upcoming record, 'The Clocks' Tickin'. The main riff and verses came really quickly, but the bridge and some of the lyrics took me soooo many revisits to nail. In fact, it was the only song I brought to josh that wasn't finished, but he liked it so much he encouraged me to finish it in time to make the record. I finished it on the morning before
What's coming up in the future?
Well once the isolation has been lifted I will do some shows to promote the first record. In the meantime I'm about halfway through an indie folk record with another London-based producer and in the early stages of the second record with Josh at Lounge studios. Both could be coming as early this year.
Tell us where fans can access your music?