Interview: James Yorkston on…


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On how he would describe his music…

“I have always seen myself as a pop singer, I write pop songs. to someone that has never heard my music I would explain that it is mainly acoustic — unless the person is a taxi driver and I just came back from the airport, then I would keep quiet so I could go to sleep — but, if it is a normal conversation, I’d say there is a strong narrative in the songs, with acoustic instruments and influences of traditional music”

 

On his instruments…

“Live, I normally play guitar and harmonica but on the records I play banjos, mandolins, clarinet, concertina… Even though I am not a very good singer, my voice is my best instrument, I prefer to sing than to play guitar, to tell stories, I write the lyrics in my notebook and then I put them to music, the lyrics always come first.”

 

On the songwriting process…

“At the studio I’ll have a basic idea or a demo and I know where all instruments and sounds should be, though with the other band members at play, with their accordion, double bass, whistles and so on, they kind of point into the right direction. We think through ideas and if they don’t work, they’re gone.


On playing a good gig…

“A good gig, you can’t beat that, you come out with such a high but I must say if you’re in the studio and verses and music come out well, I get really excited, especially because I am working with other people.”

 

On how he sees his music…

“A visual representation of my music would be a still life with a bottle of whisky, a bar of dark chocolate, some nice bread, a banana, some nice Belgian beer, it’d be sunny with a cat somewhere and a pirate ship in the background.”

 

On the best bits of Field Day festival…

“I’m so looking forward to seeing Juana Molina and Malcolm Middleton but, you know, the best part of today has been hearing Nic Jones being blasted nearby and seeing friends, I am not too comfortable with crowds and a lot of people and the PA being too loud… but, as a plus, I get to see bands or discover new ones and it’s an overall nice feelin.”

 

On people covering his music…

“I would love to see CAN (although they disbanded) play a cover of my album When The Haar Rolls In or Skip James doing my song ‘Tender to the Blues’.”

 

On the future…

“In 10 years I know I will not be looking back to what I was doing now but looking forward to what I will be doing then, looking beyond… yeah that’ll do!”

Interview: Liane Escorza

 

James Yorskston & The Big Eyes Family Players’ new album ‘Folk Songs’ is out now on Domino Records. 

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