INTERVIEW: Jarryd James Talks Tour with Broods and Making a Triumphant Debut
  • FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2016

  • Posted by: Kirsten Spruch



Jarryd James may be modest, but don't ever confuse that for weakness. The soulful electro-pop singer has been through hell and back. After a decade of struggling to make music a sustainable career in Australia, he took a break from creating music, which only led to worse feelings. Depression rising from lack of creativity is what brought him back to making music and almost immediately after starting up again, James was on fire. Now he's on a North American tour with buzzy electro duo, Broods and performing his debut album to fans all over the world. This is what he was meant to do.

The singer released his debut full-length, High, just last month and it consists of simmering songs including "This Time (Serious Symptoms, Serious Solutions)," "Do You Remember (Ft. Raury)," and the title track, of course. One of the highlight singles off the album is "1000X (Ft. Broods)," which he also released a video for. It's emotional yet triumphant... Dark but with a glimmer of hope. An effortless mix of influences like James Blake, Bon Iver, Jack Garratt, and even Lorde, which makes sense once you've learned about the artists he collaborates with. Having mainly worked with New Zealand producer, Joel Little (Lorde, Broods), on this record, James masters a minimalistic, slow-burning sound filled with icy clarity and focus. The production choices matched with James' falsetto and heart-crushing lyrics emits nothing but passion. His music alone was enough to make us swoon, but after hearing about his journey to where he is now, we had to talk to him about the making of his latest album and the process of getting there.



Kirsten Spruch: Your latest single, "1000X" featuring Broods just came out recently. What was the songwriting process like?

Jarryd James: I wrote that song with Joel Little [BROODS, Lorde], who you might know of. The first time I ever wrote with Joel was about two years ago. We had like half a day, and we wrote "1000x" and I was never really sure about the song with just my voice in it. Georgia [BROODS] ended up really liking the song and we have the same manager so he had the cool idea to get her to sing on it. Once she did that, the song suddenly became the way it should be.

KS: That's actually really interesting. How much did both of you contribute to the song during the process -- how did it all come together when you were writing?

JJ: Because we didn't have a lot of time, I just flew over to Auckland for like, a day. We hung out for a minute, might have had a beer or something, and then I started singing some stuff. We went from there, and then we built the beat and instrumentation around that. So it was actually really natural and it's the thing that made us understand that we should definitely write more songs together.

KS: I find that even though Broods, Lorde, and yourself all have very different sounds, any artist that Joel collaborates with also has that little "Joel" touch on it. And now that you mentioned that, I totally hear it, so that's pretty interesting.

JJ: Yeah, Joel's great. I think his main skill is bringing out the very best in artists like myself, Broods, and Ella [Lorde] and making it sound as good as it possibly can. He's really amazing at that.

KS: You've been on tour, too, with Broods. What's your favorite place that you've visited so far?

JJ: It's a tough one. When you tour America, you don't really get a long time at each place. Like I was just in Portland yesterday, we got in in the morning and then we left at 1:00 AM right after the show. In the short time I had, I really did like Portland. Actually, we were in Vancouver the day before and I'd never been up to the northwestern side of the country before. I really do like it up here -- it seems to be a nice vibe. I also always love to go to New York, even places like D.C., that area.

KS: If you could spend more than 12 hours in a place, which place would you choose?

JJ: I would actually like to spend more time in Montreal. We went there a couple weeks ago and it was really nice.

KS: For fans who are going to see you at one of your future shows, what can they expect? What does your live setup look like?

JJ: I play with three other guys--friends of mine--bass, drums, keys, and I sing. I don't really see myself as a performer, I'm just a singer, so I try and sing as good as I can. For me it's not about a live show, it's just all about the music and reproducing it as best as you can.

KS: You played Lollapalooza this year, was that cool to play a major music festival?

JJ: Yeah, it was really, really cool. It was my second US festival, I did Bonnaroo earlier in the year, which was amazing as well. It's incredible, when you come from Australia, that you'll ever do stuff like that, so it's pretty special.

KS: Since you come from Australia, do you feel like your music is listened to differently in America? Do you feel like people respond to it differently?

JJ: It's hard to tell. I know that people--from what I've seen so far on this tour--are really digging it, which is cool. They're telling me after the show and during the set they're really responsive. I can see that people are really enjoying it. When I first started making music I didn't think anyone in Australia would like it, so it's all a bonus to me. When anyone likes it I get really excited.

KS: You mentioned that the title track off of your debut album, High, was the first song you wrote when you started writing again. What was your reason for stopping?

JJ: It's just really, really hard to sustain a music career in Australia. It might be here in America as well, but I think Australia in particular. I did make music for a long time, like a decade, and it's just such a big country, everything's so spread out. All the capital cities are so far away from each other that when you try to tour and build up a following to make your music sustainable, it's really expensive and time consuming. You have to have pretty much full time work and then fit it in between that. It just got really tedious and demoralizing. I had some experiences where I got screwed over by some people, and it just got to the point where I didn't know what to do anymore so I decided to say goodbye to it, which I thought I was doing forever. And then I got very sad.

KS: Yeah, you mentioned that when you stopped making music, you started to feel really depressed. Do you think that creating music prevents people from going into a, sort of, darker place?

JJ: Definitely for someone like me because I know that music is the thing that I was born to do. It doesn't matter what it is, if you were born to do something and you stop doing it, it's gonna be weird.

KS: Before the release of your debut album, you put out the High EP. Is there a significant difference between those two?

JJ: I put a full length album out in Australia, but it wasn't really ready to be put out in America. I put it out in September of last year and between then and now, I just kept writing. There was originally five tracks on the original album, that was the EP. It was purely just an up-to-date version of what I've been doing when I put the album out.

KS: And what do you think we can expect from you after this tour -- what are you up to next?

JJ: Hopefully I get to go home for a little bit, maybe just chill. But if not, I might spend some time in LA. I do know I'm playing some cool shows in Australia later in the year and I'm doing a thing over New Years which is gonna be cool. Then a show in December on a little island off the west coast of Australia, which will be fun!

Check out the remainder of Jarryd James' tour dates with Broods HERE.
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