Jack of all trades and master of all of them is Feelds (James Seymour)- the Melbourne-based singer, song-writer, producer and audio engineer, showcasing the mass of his talents on his debut record ‘Cut Your Teeth’, released 20 September. The album traipses through lulling melodies and breezy guitar riffs, evoking a similar comfort to that experienced when sliding down further into a too-big, plush couch. With signature gliding vocals there’s an effortlessness to James’ sound that makes the record a nostalgic, sepia-toned experience- warm, familiar and easy to listen to. This month we chat to Feelds about the inspiration behind his tunes and his plans for the rest of the year.
When did you start making music? How did you get into it?
It’s funny to think back about how I might have ‘got into’ music, as it’s such an integral part of my life and I couldn’t imagine being without it. I started playing instruments in Primary School, but I guess it wasn’t until I finished high school and I was left to my own devices that I started to write and explore music & songwriting in my own way.
What is it that inspires the lyrics in your songs?
I’ve always seemed to have written about the world around me; sometimes fictional, slightly skewed and metaphorically about a ‘bigger picture’. I guess I enjoy stepping outside of my own self and thinking about things on a larger scale.
Do you have a particular writing process?
As soon as I confine myself to rules, I lose interest. No one song has really come to me the same way, nor has the development process of that production. I think it’s important to explore any particular song as it comes to you, and let it breathe in its own individual way.
Who are some of the biggest influences on your music?
I’ve said this before and I’ll probably never stop saying it – but the biggest influence on my music and how I think about musicality is Justin Vernon. I really admire not only the way he constantly pushes boundaries & challenges himself, but the way he involves the community around him and the people that inspire him to influence what he does as well. The bands I’m obsessed with at the moment are Pinegrove & Saintseneca.
What was the inspiration behind your debut album?
‘Cut Your Teeth’ was conceived after I stumbled across a photo album put together from when my parents met and went on ‘Karate Camp’ in the 80s. The amazing photos sparked an eagerness for me to share and elaborate upon this story through songwriting. The album’s journey explores life learning & interaction as a human, how we respond and react to things around us, and essentially how all of our own experiences inevitably shape who we are.
Do you have a favourite track from the album?
I really enjoyed making ‘Fan’. It’s super short – but because it’s so succinct – to me it carries the most weight lyrically. There is a combination of snippets from an interview recording (that you also hear at the top and tail of the album), a random chord progression I came up with one evening after a few wines, and a soundscape built from the ringing of the wine glass that I was drinking from. It was super fun to piece together.
What has been the highlight of your year so far?
Definitely releasing the album! It’s been a pretty exciting & collaborative journey, and I’ve learnt a lot about myself and the world throughout the process.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
It’s nice now to sit back for a bit and let the album do its thing naturally. I love hearing what people think about what I’ve created, and that’s pretty darn rewarding for me. We’re launching the album on November 14 at The Gaso downstairs, but I’ll be using the rest of the year to think about what’s next for the Feelds family – I’d love to get the band more involved on another record!
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing music/performing?
I love community and collaborating! Outside of Feelds, I also produce and work alongside other artists, and at the moment I’m working with Merpire (on her own album), Loni Thomson (debut EP), Rory Walker (debut EP), as well as a bunch of other talented local artists. I’m also part of a studio that is going to launch early next year called ‘Small Time’, stay tuned!
Where can people go to keep up with all things Feelds?