An Interview With James’ Jim Glennie

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Manchester band James are preparing to release their 16th studio album All the Colours Of You on June 4.

In an interview with Brig, Jim Glennie spoke about the album itself along with other background chat, including how he feels the music industry has changed since James released their first album in 1986.

Glennie said how he and the rest of James are really excited for the album to come out even in these strange circumstances.

The band, like many others, would normally be doing lots of gigs as a way of promoting upcoming new material and keeping very busy. However, they have instead been left with a lot of uncertainty.

James’ last gig was in September 2019.

When asked what the reaction was like towards the first self-titled single All the Colours Of You, Glennie said that he thought people were quite surprised by the sound of the record as James: “pushed themselves somewhere else”.

“We wanted a record that sounded positive. Some of Tim’s (lead singer/songwriter) lyrics are very personal to him but they’re also quite dark.

“The last thing anyone wants is a miserable record so for us it was about getting that uplift”, he added. The first self-titled single from the upcoming album stood as an example to this.

Image credit – Ian Cheek Press

Glennie spoke through the decision-making process that James goes through when creating albums.

“It’s primarily the four song-writers: myself, Tim, Mark and Saul. The songs are our babies so we keep the decision-making between ourselves up until the producers come in.

“There’s quite a lot of what we do like getting the songs, demoing them, getting the character and identity but we all know each other really well so musically we’re all on the same page. We know what works within the unit of the band”, he added.

Glennie revealed his potential favourites in the new album. “I think Wherever It Takes Us is going to be a big live tune… Zero is going to be a good song live”.

He also added how Wherever It Takes Us will be a fun challenge as they each still have to work out the verses, patterns, chorus, harmonies and essentially recreate the whole track to develop it into a live performance.

Image credit – Ian Cheek Press

The album reflects on many relevant social issues, therefore, Glennie was asked to emphasise the importance of different types of representation in music.

“For us it’s very important, we have a responsibility and an opportunity just to say things that need being said. You get loads of stick on social media, of course you do, but you just need to say what needs saying”.

Glennie paid a lot of gratitude to bandmate Tim during this question: “He reflects on world views and things that upset him and bother him, very important to him and I love him for that.

“He’s a good man and he says good things and it’s great to have a singer that you can get behind in that respect and be fully committed to things that he’s representing in the band. He’s very courageous”.

Glennie went on to discuss how when touring the last record, there was a lot of anti-Trump and anti-right-wing songs that were: “very critical of America”.

James was supporting a band over in the US and Glennie spoke of Tim’s bravery to perform these songs to a crowd that were not even there to see them but had to listen to songs that were criticising their country in a way.

“Nothing but praise for the man… people listen might not always agree with you or take notice but they also might. If a fan can have a different view to yours and still question their own then that is important”, he said.

Image credit – Ian Cheek Press

When discussing how much the music industry has changed since James’ first record in 1986, he described this as “hugely”.

He spoke about the big transformations from post-punk to all the different genres. The decline in record stores due to CDs and online-streaming, which was interesting to hear from the perspective of someone who has watched this directly throughout their career.

Glennie told of how he was not brought up in a large music-loving household. However, in terms of who got him into enjoying gigs and who his music inspirations were, he named The Fall, Joy Division and Talking Heads.

He spoke of how he took elements of these bands into his own music career that he has kept with him since.

He was also asked if the Manchester music scene has evolved in any way. He spoke of how there was always an assumption that Manchester bands knew each other and how that actually was not the case at all.

Although, he did go on to say how the Manchester bands all helped each other out by taking one another on tour. The Fall, The Smiths and New Order were examples of this for James in their early days.

James also did this for bands such as Inspiral Carpets.

Image credit – Ian Cheek Press

Glennie went on to say how sometimes he will come across bands and think they are great or that they are going to be the next generation of music.

“It’s hard for bands now, I don’t think they have the same obvious route to the industry as they’d had before. There’s a lot of music out there, I think that can be good but it can also be difficult to try and get attraction.

“You somehow need that door to open and get an opportunity and we had that, we had mad things happen to us”.

Glennie described the tour beginning in November as a “surreal” feeling if it goes to plan as “it’s difficult to emotionally connect with just now until it happens”.

James perform at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro on 30 November this year with Happy Mondays as their support.

Their 16th studio album All the Colours Of You is out this Friday on all streaming platforms. The first four singles are out now.

Featured image credit – James on Instagram

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