James Yuill has always been independently minded.
Sitting somewhere between folk troubadour and bedroom producer, the London based artist recently decided to take his career into his own hands.
Using PledgeMusic, James Yuill was able to fund recent recording sessions through direct interaction with fans, allowing them to get a rare glimpse at his working methods. The results could well mark his most cohesive, sustained album yet.
'These Spirits' will be released next week (March 25th) and finds James Yuill fusing his electronic / acoustic, songwriter / producer instincts into one, solid whole. Marking a personal change as well as an artistic one, 'These Spirits' is inspired by everything from Scientology to Sisyphus, the personal to the abstract.
Ahead of its release, ClashMusic have gained the exclusive first play of 'These Spirits' alongside a track by track guide from James Yuill himself.
Lost In California
This is actually about religion, namely Scientology. I'm not a fan. I spent a few weeks wandering round Hollywood when I toured there and was amazed at the amount of Scientology stuff kicking around. I also found that if you want to walk anywhere, you're constantly stopping to cross the road, which is what happens when you design a city around the grid system. I used this as the starting point for the metaphor which then turned into a song about being ideologically lost. And for the record...It's not me...I guess it's L Ron Hubbard or Beck! (damn! I almost wept real tears when I found that out!)
Turn Yourself Around
This song is about changing attitudes and breaking habits. I wrote it after a discussion with my manager about negative lyrics in which he told me about Coldplay's trick of having really downbeat tracks with really positive lyrics. This song is me saying to myself stop being so pessimistic.
Let It Go
Written from the perspective of someone who has just broken up with someone and the meaningless platitudes that ensue. I love the imagery of your heart being a tattered boat tied to the dock and rising and falling with the tide. Then one day just setting it loose. Not sure if people will get that from the song, but it's in there!
I tried to convey the excitement of the first time you realise you love someone and, ultimately, their imperfections.
Basically me trying to write my "Imagine". The chorus was actually written as 'carry', but it sounded better being a female subject rather than a verb! I'm very proud of this song. it's in a small collection of songs that I've written where i think "I could not have done any better". I originally wrote this for a collaborations project that's on the back burner, where I write the songs and get other people to sing them. I tried to get in touch with Marcus Mumford and Laura Marling to perform it, but I had no luck. To be honest I didn't try as hard as I could. I think I wanted the song for myself!
Just A Little Further
This one is about sitting in a room, on your own and being told to write a 'single'. Note, it isn't a single, but about writing one. Definitely the most frustrated song on the album, but I think the sweetest. It was actually just going to be a b-side, but whilst mixing it something happened and it began to shine. I think it's Samantha Whates' vocals that give it a real lift.
I wanted to include an electronic instrumental, as the last album had Wild Goose at Night, which was acoustic. It's only really one loop. Not over complicated by crazy programming (which is my want) and not over filled with random stuff. Like a bass! It certainly made mixing it easier!
Hello Heaven Hello
Stop press! a thirty something guy bitching about his age! That's not what it's about entirely. Like all my songs there is a mixture of inspirations here. It's just about change and discovery. I'm also not saying I've found religion either! I even tried to rewrite the chorus as I thought people would see religious positivity in it. The 'heaven' I describe is purely an earthly serenity.
Another love song, with troubled water under the bridge! Taking the form of jealousy and insecurity.
I guess simply put, it's about honesty. Tell me anything you want, as long as it's the truth. See, I didn't need a whole song to get my point across!
When I was writing and recording the album, I was living in Dalston. In the flat above was a DJ called Scarlett Etienne. We could here her playing the piano often. I think it was mainly a Chopin piece, but I digress. I used this romantic sound as a concept for a love story.
Written especially as an 'end of album' track. It's about changing character traits. Plus at the end, I tried to fill out all the frequencies so it was literally a space race/fight.
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'These Spirits' is set to be released on Monday (March 25th)