James Yuill is an artist who combines acoustic traditional and modern digital sound-generated music to create new music that has also established a unique subgenre in alternative and indie pop — namely, folktronica. James Yuill was influenced by the progressive songwriting of Nick Drake, as well as forward-thinking rockers such as Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens, Justice, the Chemical Brothers, and Aphex Twin.
Essentially a fusion musician, Yuill has created his style with a guitar, vocals, and a laptop, influenced by both British and French traditional musics and Italian disco-produced basslines, loops, or techno enhancement.
He has issued two albums — The Vanilla Disc on his own label in 2005 and Turning Down Water for Air in 2007 for The Happy Biscuit Club, reissued by the Moshi Moshi label in 2008. Yuill has garnered a huge amount of critical attention, including features in NME, Dazed & Confused, and Clash magazines, the latter of which featured him as Best Newcomer of 2008. His third album « Movement in a storm » is out now. Features the singles « On Your Own » and « First in Line ».
Focus On James Yuill Tuesday at 2pm on TEEZ’FM
James accepted to answer some of our questions :
Hello James, How are You? Where are you answering our questions from?
HI there. I’m good thanks. You find me practising my DJing skills in my home studio. I’m mixing a tune then quickly answering a question. I’ve just come out of Modeselektor’s remix of Dull Flame Of Desire by Bjork into Haezer – WTFIH (Belzebass Remix).How did you first start making music?
I first started when I got an electric guitar for my 12th birthday. It had a built in speaker so you didn’t need an amplifier. When on it would pretty much howl with feedback continuously!The new record is a bit varied in sound. Why did you decide to switch it up a bit?
I’ve always wanted to make an album that had both hard dance and soft acoustic songs on it. This is just the realisation of that. When I recorded Turning Down Water For Air I was still learning how to produce and make the sounds I wanted.Are you pleased with how the album has been received?
Yes. Very. If you’re a musician, it’s always lovely to have someone release your music so that other people can hear it. I’m very proud of it.Social networking is rife as a personal platform between musicians and their respective audiences in the modern age. Were these platforms you hoped to target through your original approach in distributing the Movement In A Storm?
I think social networking is increasingly important when releasing music. For one it’s a great way to keep in touch and have a connection with the people that listen to your records, but also it’s very important as a form of marketing. There’s great power in the sharing of music, « but with great power…there also comes great responsibilities » (Spider-Man 2002)The album has a lot of high points. ‘Crying For Hollywood’ is my favourite track on there. What is your favourite song on the album and why?
I love the middle 8 in Sing Me A Song. It’s the part I’m most proud of on the album. It was really an after thought. I’d made the middle 8 by chopping up the guitar and whilst Sam (Samantha Whates) was putting the vocals down I came up with the little line « Sing me a song from your heart, etc. » The way Sam sings it is so beautiful I couldn’t ruin it by putting my own vocal over the top of it!Are there other acts from the UK electronic scene that you admire?
The Title Sequence, but they’re a bit more organic and less dance heavy. Post War Years are one of the best live bands I’ve seen. Bright Light Bright Light is a fine songwriter and brilliant performer.Where do you see the future of electronic and dance music going?
Well, at the moment it’s all about the chill wave scene and bedroom producers. I’m not sure where it will go next. I think maybe more live electronic music. I think there will be a backlash against the laptop and people will make electronic music organically in front of your eyes.
Where is your favourite city, town or even country to play a show?
I love performing in Germany, but I think for sheer amazing factor playing in Tokyo was a massive goal achieved for me. Never in a million years did I actually think I’d be doing that.To conclude with,
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully sipping espresso at a local cafe with my dog curled up under my feet, after just dropping my kids off at school and thinking about what songs I would write that day on my grand pianoHow meaningful is France to you ?
France is hugely important to me. First of all the culture is fantastic. I could waste my life away in a rural cafe! And secondly for all the amazing music that it has been responsible for. Daft Punk, Ed Banger, Justice, Jackson & His Computer Band, Sebastien Tellier to name but a mere speck!Can you tell me some words in French? 🙂
Je suis désolé, Je ne comprends pasAny closing words for TEEZ’FM listeners?
Sup! TEEZ’FM listeners!
Thanks to James Yuill
Thanks to Amul Batra
Bisous à Kabuki & Rod Thomas
Interview by Thierry Jaussaud
Biography : Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide