James Shead Talks about New EP and Life in Cornwall


into the warmth james sheadLizzy Brookes interviews Cornish musician James Shead about his brand new EP Into the Warmth, which is out later this month.

Your second EP, Into the Warmth, is released on the 19th of September; How are you feeling about that?
A mixture of emotions – mainly excitement and anticipation. It has been nearly a year since my debut EP, so I’m really looking forward to people hearing it. It’s been a little while in the making and a few big events have happened since my last release, so yeah, I’m really looking forward to releasing it.

Could you describe what your fans can expect from this EP in one sentence?
A very different record from the first one, a more haunting collection of songs with a very open, honest and a “longing for something” feel to it.

Would you say your musical direction for Into the Warmth has changed since your first EP?
Definitely, I wanted to write something very different to the first one. My first EP in my mind was slightly commercial/more mainstream, purely because it was my first ever release. So, with Into the Warmth, it’s a more relevant record in the sense that it is the music that I had wanted to write for a while, so I’ve definitely taken it in a very different direction.

Do you have a few gigs lined up for after your EP is launched?
There are a few coming in; I’m playing Looe Music Festival on the 21st of September so it’s perfect timing for the release on the 19th. I am playing in Worcester on 13th September to help get the word out. Once the EP is out, I will be working with the guys at the label I’m with (Whitewash Recordings) to get a UK tour organised for hopefully early November.

Do you prefer performing at festivals or at your own gigs?
I love playing music to people in any environment, be it at a festival to large crowds, to intimate gigs, busking on the streets in Cornwall or even just playing to two or three people. Festival gigs are great fun though, so will hopefully be ticking a few off the list next summer.

Which track on your EP are you looking forward to performing the most at the upcoming gig dates?
I don’t really have a favourite to be honest, because they all hold a very personal level with me, but I suppose if I had to choose one it would be *long thought pause* “Ghost”. It’s a very intimate song with a slightly disguised story behind it, so whenever I play it live I like to watch the facial expressions change as they figure out the meaning behind it.

Would you say anything in particular inspired you for the tracks on Into the Warmth?
Wow, that’s a tough question. Urrrm, lots of different things inspired the tracks on there. Living where I do brings a lot to the table in terms of inspiration, but mostly it’s experiences of my own. From little things like moments with my family, to slightly darker experiences or feelings of joy or desperation. For example, “Help me belong” the last track on the EP was written about a time where I didn’t feel welcome playing music, living in Cornwall and so on, so that’s where the slightly darker side to the EP comes in.

What are your plans for the next few months leading into the winter?
As a few people know, I’m a big fan of winter. So, I’m looking forward to playing as much as possible and touring to support the new EP, surfing at home with friends when winter really kicks in and writing some new material. I think the next big step is to start planning an album, but that’s still in the making. So, hopefully the Cornish winter can bring some more inspiration.

Can you see yourself moving to a big city for your music, or would you prefer to stay close to your roots?
Being completely honest, I don’t think I’ll ever want to leave Cornwall. I couldn’t live in a city; spending a day or so in London is enough for me so there’s no way I could do it full time. Cornwall has everything I need; a great music scene, empty beaches, and it’s only a matter of travelling a bit to any gigs further afield. So yeah, cities are definitely not for me.

Into the Warmth is out on 19th September, 2014 and is available to buy via iTunes. Hard copies will be available to buy at James Shead’s music gigs.


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