Following an almost two year hiatus from releasing music Sydney song-smith Patrick James has returned with an all new, refreshed sound and live show.
As James explained to the City Hub the hiatus was a necessity brought about by his decision to reinvent himself as an artist and songwriter.
“I was searching for something that was not the same as before, I didn’t want to recreate and rehash what I’d already done. I wanted to make something that was going to challenge who I was as an artist.”
Understandably by choosing to travel down that path Patrick had to go through a period of trial and error. This period though extended out longer than it typically would have because Patrick chose to not only tackle new themes with his music but also implement an entirely new writing process.
This new writing process saw Patrick tossing his customary acoustic guitar aside and instead attempting to write primarily using piano and drum loops.
“It was strange for me at first,” he reflected, “it was a whole different side to writing music that I had never looked into before but it was really fun to do it that way for sure.”
Obviously attempting to write with this new style came with its challenges but luckily for Patrick he had the assistance and guidance of his producer Ben McCarthy. Both Patrick and Ben entered into the process with similar ideas and reference points which Patrick says was invaluable.
“Ben understood that it [new single Lay It Down] still needed to sound like it came from me as an artist and that people needed to understand how I got to this sound.”
Whilst some artists might find the idea of writing new music in two incredibly different ways unsettling Patrick appears to have found it to be a liberating and reenergising process.
“To make things feel fresh and new again is sometimes a process but I definitely think working this way has helped me to go back and start working on the instrument I’m so used to, the acoustic guitar feels like a whole new world to write and work in again.”
Having written Lay It Down and a number of other new tracks under this new premise and style Patrick has also had to reconfigure his live show, which he will be performing in Sydney this week.
“The challenge has been trying to work the old songs into this new set because all of the new songs are very band oriented in a more epic, atmospheric way. So there is a challenge trying to incorporate that into a set where we have just the four players that we’re used to.”
Sep 15. Leadbelly, 42 King St, Newtown. $23.50. Tickets & Info: www.theleadbelly.com.au