Eight questions with… James Seymour, aka Feelds

By Stella Joseph-Jarecki

I recently got the chance to fire eight questions at Melbourne musician James Seymour, on the highs and lows of being a professional musician. James has recently released his debut album Cut Your Teeth, under the moniker Feelds.

Bottom row from left to right: Daniel O’Keefe, Katie Wighton, Mark Webber, Jarred Young. Top row: James Seymour

Linked to Cut Your Teeth on Spotify here

On Bandcamp here

Feelds’ Facebook page can be found here, and official website here

Music videos for songs off the album: Tiptoe, Fan, Bloody Mary

Feelds will be launching his album at the Gasometer Hotel, 8pm, Thursday 14th November. Tickets from $15, can be purchased here

When did you realise you wanted to pursue music performance more seriously in your life?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been doing some kind of performing musically. I’ve played a handful of different instruments across different projects and setups… and the need and necessity for music performance as a staple in my life grew the more that I wrote. I figure that much like any other musician, I’ve found a way of writing and performing that reflects me, and I suppose as a musician in today’s climate the best way to express that is through live performance.

Your debut album ‘Cut Your Teeth’ was sparked by the discovery of a photo album put together from when your parents met and went on ‘Karate Camp’ in the 80s. Could you tell us a little about how that inspired you?

My parent’s past as athletes wasn’t a world that I had explored much before finding that photo album – mainly, I guess, because they gave those types of things up when they started a family. With that in mind, those amazing photos sparked an eagerness for me to share and elaborate upon the story through songwriting. The album’s journey explores how we respond and react to things around us as human beings, essentially how all of our own experiences inevitably shape who we are.

How did you find yourself with Fright Night Music management?

Dean Valentino (who runs FN) has been a long-time friend of mine. We met over a decade ago when our first band projects used to gig on the same line-ups around Melbourne from time to time. Since then, we’ve been through quite a lot together (both musically and otherwise), and when I started the Feelds project, he was right there eager to give me a hand with whatever I was doing. I guess it all just snowballed from there, and now, here we are!

Who are some of your musical influences?

I hesitate with this answer as I feel like I’m repeating myself – but truly, the biggest influence on my music and how I think about musicality is Justin Vernon. I really admire not only the way he constantly pushes boundaries and challenges himself, but the way he involves the community around him and the people that inspire him to influence what he does as well. The bands I’m obsessed with at the moment are Pinegrove and Saintseneca.

What are your favourite things about the contemporary music scene in Melbourne?

The community of creatives that surrounds it, undoubtedly. As an independent artist that lives and breathes music, having a supportive, collaborative and challenging network of like-minded people is so important – especially when you’re trying to make a career out of writing and performing music.

From left to right: Mark Webber, Katie Wighton, James Seymour, Daniel O’Keefe, Jarred Young.

The first and last tracks on the album feature spoken word samples, and the first one is quite a lovely reflection about how we should pursue our individual goals in life despite what others may want. Can you tell us a bit about incorporating those clips into the album?

I met David ‘Papi’ Hunt on a university trip to LA in 2015. He was our guide/bus driver one day on a tour of the city, and I found him to be full of life, experience and insight. Instead of walking off on our lunch break, a friend and I sat down with ‘Papi’ amidst the food court of a bustling Los Angeles street market to pick his brains. We sat and basically listened for over an hour to his stories, ideals, and his perception and viewpoints on life, being an older, Melungeon-Indian born man raised in the Appalachian Mountains. Snippets and sound bites from this conversation are sprinkled throughout the album – moments and words that really resonated with and stuck with me all this time later.

The album was written, recorded and mixed in your Melbourne studio. Do you think that helped to give it a distinctive character and musical sound?

For sure! I see the limitation of both gear and space to be a big part of the sounds and techniques that I’ve shaped from that studio. That situation has also forced my thought process to be more decisive, less complicated. I’ve loved becoming extremely familiar with those things and knowing exactly what each tool could be used for.

What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of gigging and touring?

As simple as it sounds, seeing people enjoying and getting involved with what we’re doing on stage is pretty darn rewarding! The most challenging thing about gigging and touring would be something along the lines of staying true to yourself, and striving to not let that setting effect how you might usually act. For it to still reflect the things you truly believe in.

Linked to Cut Your Teeth on Spotify here

On Bandcamp here

Feelds’ Facebook page can be found here, and official website here

Music videos for songs off the album: Tiptoe, Fan, Bloody Mary

Feelds will be launching his album at the Gasometer Hotel, 8pm, Thursday 14th November. Tickets from $15, can be purchased here

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