E-mail interview with Josiah James. Get to know more about his music, the brand new album, and more below. Don’t forget to check out the free download of his brand new single, “Chasing The Wind”, right here.
First off, since you’ll be new to most of our readers, can you give a short back story of yourself. How did you end up getting into performing music?
Well I grew up pretty much in the music scene. My family ran a christian coffee house back in the late 90’s in Greenwood, CA (also known as the sticks) and they would put on a concert every weekend, so I was constantly surrounded by music. I didn’t actually start writing music and playing guitar till I was about 14 years old when my friend taught me a few chords. I then started leading worship and playing mini coffee shop concerts when I was 15-16. At 17 I dropped out of public school, and went homeschooled to make time to take music head on. I started writing and recording vigorously around 17-18 and soon after I started touring full time.
What area of California are you from? Is there a music scene in that area?
I live in a small town an hour north of Sacramento called Cool. Cool has absolutely no music scene, but Sacramento has a decent one.
Can you remember your first “big break” that helped you to realize that you were on the right path?
When I was in junior high I wasn’t ever passionate about anything. I tried sports, tried art, and even cooking. Nothing ever clicked or made sense. Around the same time I started playing music, I had recommitted my life to following Jesus and then music just clicked. It was the first think I had ever become passionate about. I then knew God was calling me into the ministry of music.
Describe your overall sound.
I wouldn’t say I try to sound like anyone else, but most bands would say that. I try to write music that I love and I want people to love as well. My sound can range anywhere from acoustic/folk to alternative/rock, indie/pop to metalcore. Just sayin’, I like those blast beats.
Who are your biggest influences musically and lyrically?
It’s been changing over the years. Now mostly any band that can write a solid, unique song that I like can be an influence. But I’ve been digging the recent albums by One Republic, Switchfoot, Radiohead, The Rocket Summer, Seabird, and will always love Muse, Keane, and Coldplay.
You’ve actually been writing, recording, and releasing music for some time now. Since you were pretty young when you wrote your first songs, how do you feel about them looking back?
Well my first song was called “Aliens” so I’m very proud to say I’ve grown out of that phase, haha. The more I write, the happier I am with the songs. I always am more stoked on one song better then the last.
Your last EP was recorded with Colby Wedgeworth (Bidwell, Hazel & Vine). How did that recording process go? Besides the fact that you recorded with a full band, was it different than previous experiences in the studio?
It was very different. Me and Colby spent about 6 months recording the whole cd. Working in between my college classes and funding at the time. It forced me to grow at a faster rate as an artist and songwriter. Colby is the best producer I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with. The guy is a plain genius and a great friend.
I noticed on your tour dates that you have an EP release show planned in late May. Can you give us any details on that EP?
Well the EP is going to feature one full band single, which will entitled the same as the cd (“Chasing The Wind”). The cd will also feature a few live in the studio acoustic songs, both new and old.
Was the new EP also recorded with a full band? Who did you record with this time around?
Just one song was recorded full band. The rest will be live acoustic version of songs from my previous release, “The Morning Light”, and a couple new tunes. I recorded the full band part with Colby Wedgeworth, who produce my last record and I will be recording the acoustic songs with Danny Donnelly. I also recorded an acoustic EP in 2007 with Donnelly entitled “Awaiting The Morning”.
What can we expect from the new songs?
This next EP, “Chasing The Wind”, will be kind of a prelude to an upcoming full length CD I’m hoping to release early 2011. The new songs have a more matured, piano driven sound to them. Lyrically there’s going to be more songs about love, relationships, running the race for Christ, and the struggles we’ll face on the way.
Let’s talk about your songwriting process. I would assume that you handle both music and lyrics, but do you have anyone else you work with?
I write all of my songs myself. I have yet to co-write with others. But look forward to possibly working with other songwriters in the future to put a new edge on my music.
What comes first, the music or the lyrics?
Most of my songs I write the music and a rough of the lyrics together, then later on I work the lyrics together to make it more intriguing and simply to make it just connect more.
Is your music a full-time thing or do you also have another vocation when you’re home?
I do music full time. If I’m not on the road, I’m home writing and recording, or booking for my next tours.
You’re currently on the road on the Spring Fling tour with Sleep For Sleepers and A Current Affair. How did that tour come together?
Me and Sleep For Sleepers and A Current Affair have been good friends for a little while now and have always talked about doing a tour together. Having the same manager as Sleep For Sleepers (Travis Waugh of Secret Service Entertainment) it became easier to place it all together to form and make the tour work out.
Have you had much touring experience or is this one of your first major tours?
I’ve been touring almost full time since late 2008. In the past year I have had the privilege to tour with bands such as Future of Forestry, Hazel & Vine, and The New Divide. But the majority of my tours consist of me on the road by myself in my little Prius.
Do you have a band that tours with you? If so, are they the same guys each time?
I have yet to tour with a full band. Just the occasional hometown show to have a blast with friends and share the live experience of the cd. But around late summer I will be taking off with my band for a 2 week west coast tour that I will soon start booking dates for. My line-up for the band has changed alot over the past 2-3 years that I have been doing it. At the moment I have 4 great friends and musicians that I feel very solid about.
Besides the bands on this tour, who are some other bands that you’d really like to tour with if given the chance?
Any band that I’m good friends with I’d love to tour with. Cause a great time on tour with friends is one of the best experiences. Some more better known bands I’d love to tour with would be Keane, Switchfoot, Leeland, Seabird, and the list goes on and on.
Do you consider your music to be a ministry?
For sure! I do music to reach to lost, broken, needy and to praise the God who’s created each one of them. I don’t want to be placed in just the worship circle. There are plenty of people out there to lead worship, but there’s a whole world out there that needs Jesus, and I want to be a light to them in any way that God can have me be. Whether it is through the music he’s placed on my heart to share or just being a friend at show.
What are a few things that you would like to accomplish with the band?
With the band I want to get the bigger sound across to people, and reach a crowd I haven’t before.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Just letting everyone out there know that if you follow me on twitter, befriend me on Facebook and Myspace I will always do my very best to respond back to any of your messages and questions you might have for me. So be sure to hit me up.
Don’t forget to check out the exclusive free download of Josiah James’ song “Chasing The Wind” right here on IVM!