Interview with Robin James - Saint Jude PDF Print E-mail
Gigs - 2009 Gigs
Written by TK   
Robin James has just released an intriguing new album called "Saint Jude". Tim Kernutt recently caught up with him to discuss Patron Saints of Hopeless Causes, Roman Gypsies and monks!

TK: First of all, congratulations on the album! It certainly is an interesting sounding album, and made me sit up and listen as I had never heard anything quite like it before. Would you say you had traditional music training, or was it more alternative?

RJ: I learnt to play the guitar by writing my own songs. The first song I wrote used one string – the second used two. Then my mother showed me how to play three chords.

TK: Why the reference to Saint Jude?

RJ: ‘The Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes’ seems a fitting patron for the album and me. It seems to legitimise our existence.

TK: You have Roman Gypsy and Argentinean roots. Who do you feel most affiliated to?

RJ: The English – whoever they are?

TK: Your voice is very unique - at what age did you become interested in singing?

RJ: I sang in a choir from the age of seven with a load of monks.

TK: Is your non-use of computers in the production of your album deliberately anti-technology, or is this raw method what you feel most comfortable with?

RJ: Process is really important to me. I’m interested in where things come from and how they are made – if I see a really amazing photo I want to know it’s not just been manipulated using PhotoShop. I’m only anti-technology when it is dishonest – I like it when it is being used openly – like in Radiohead’s later albums. They are deliberately distorting sounds rather than trying to appear natural. The most honest thing for me to do was to put a microphone in a room and press record. It captures the songs for what they are and from where they come from. And the process compliments the content – the fragility, uncertainty and simplicity of the songs. The temptations to edit and polish the sounds are taken away when recording onto tape, which is both liberating and slightly scary.

TK: How long did you spend preparing to record this album?

RJ: The recording itself took only a few hours. I’ve been preparing the songs for longer – it’s like those monks who spend absolutely ages mixing their paints and then just whack out the calligraphy in no time at all.

TK: Which musicians are your biggest influences?

RJ: Leonard Cohen, Thom Yorke, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon…

TK: When do you think you will record more songs?

RJ: Possibly this Easter - I don’t know.

TK: Thanks for your time, and all the best with the album!

RocketTheme Joomla Templates