Dublin, Ireland singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow is set to release his sophomore album Post Tropical in January of next year. So far, James has dropped Cavalier, an incredible emotion-evoking single from the forthcoming album. With excitement to know more about the LP, A Music Blog, Yea? spoke with the artist before he hits The Opera House’s stage tonight (November the 16th) in Toronto. Have a read as we spoke about the meaning behind Post Tropical, Dublin, lyricism, and a hatred for mushrooms.
AMBY: Hello James, cheers for speaking with us today. What have you been up to lately?
James Vincent McMorrow: Getting the machine up and working, traveling a lot, slowly wrapping my head around the live show for the new year. I have really specific and ambitious plans for every element of how this record gets presented, it’s a lot of work, but it’s incredibly exciting now that we’ve gotten started.
AMBY: How would you classify your sound to all of your listeners?
James Vincent McMorrow: The most beautiful things I can imagine.
AMBY: Your sophomore album Post Tropical comes out in January 2014! What’s the significance behind the LP’s title?
James Vincent McMorrow: I wanted to evoke the idea of a style of music, but for it to be vaguely surreal and not connected to anything. This record is completely it’s own thing, it doesn’t sound like anything else or do what anything else does, so I thought it deserved it’s own world to exist in.
AMBY: The first single off of the album, Cavalier, is stunning! What inspired the song?
James Vincent McMorrow: I am always working, I was thinking about that song over the course of 6 months before I played a single note of it out loud. Who knows where that inspiration comes from, I’m just pulling strands from every part of my life, the things I love, the things I hate, whatever I react to.
AMBY: You’re currently on a large tour, which started in France and ends in Paris next year. What have been some of the highlights so far?
James Vincent McMorrow: Oh man, this is not a big tour, we’re barely getting started! These shows this year are me playing the songs out loud for the first time, before people have the record, just getting my feet back in the water. The bulk of the touring doesn’t start until end of December and then it’ll be a full year of playing and into the next year as well I think. I played a beautiful show in Dublin a couple of weeks back for a mental health charity called headstrong, something I’m always keen to shine a light on, the show was beautiful, stunning venue, I just sat at a piano and played the new songs as they came to me, mistakes and all, was incredibly profound and simple at the same time, at least it was to me, it felt special.
AMBY: With all of the excellent lyricism shown in your work, which lyric of yours is a favourite?
James Vincent McMorrow: I don’t like to pick favourites, I’m proud of every lyric I’ve written because it is there for a reason and it matters. I’m equally proud of every drum pattern or melody line, And honestly I don’t see myself as a big lyrics guy. I know people respond to the words I write and I’m grateful for that, and a lyric is the first thing that can grab you in a song, but it’s such an abstract structure for me most times, they rarely come together until the last word is in place.
The moments I’m consistently proud of with a lyric are when I know it’s something I can hang a song on, it doesn’t even have to be the chorus or a hook, just something that kick starts my musical compulsions. On the first single Cavalier, the lyric that I built the song around wasn’t the chorus, it was the opening line 3 lines, When I had them I knew the song would exist like I imagined it would.
AMBY: Does hailing from Dublin have an influence on your music? And if so, how?
James Vincent McMorrow: It’s a good question, but feels impossible to answer, Dublin is where I’m from, where I grew up and where I learnt what it means to be a musician, it’s the only thing I really know and understand, it’s definitely influenced me and how I view the world and my work, but what specifically it’s given me I couldn’t ever pin point.
AMBY: Which other artists from Dublin should we keep our eyes on?
James Vincent McMorrow: Oh man I’m not super up on my new stuff, I don’t mean that in some disconnected way, I’ve just been immersed in my own world this past year. I was at a show last week, group called Slow Skies, they were great, they’re just finding their feet still but some of the songs would stop you in your tracks. Opening act I Have A Tribe also had me. Also singer named Rhob Cunningham, he has a new record coming out that I’ve been fortunate enough to hear and it is just incredible.
AMBY: If you could invite any three people to record an album with, who would you choose?
James Vincent McMorrow: Tough question, my musical landscape was etched out by my love of the Neptunes so I’d love to spend some time watching Pharrell work in a studio, watch how he builds something from the ground up. Besides him, I’d love to hang with Sufjan Stevens because he just seems like he’s on his own creative planet that I’d like to visit for a day and take notes, and honestly I’d love to just drop in on a recording session with Drake and Noah Shebib, the way they’ve crafted such incredible records between the 2 of them over the last few years is kind of unparalleled to my mind, Take Care is an almost flawless modern record.
AMBY: What’s the best release of the year?
James Vincent McMorrow: Honestly I’ve not listened to a ton of music this year, I mean I really loved Jeezus, it’s relentless and tough to listen to at times, but it’s an important record, he’s throwing himself into new shit and curating all these incredible people like Arca and Gesaffalstein and Travis Scott, its incredibly impressive.
Apart from that, worth mentioning couple of other amazing pieces of work, Nepenthe by Julianna Barwick, My name is my name by Pusha T, and Modern Vampires of the city by Vampire Weekend, all ran my life for vast periods of time this year.
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about James Vincent McMorrow that nobody knows yet?
James Vincent McMorrow: I hate mushrooms, but love mushroom soup. Insightful.
Thank you James Vincent McMorrow, for giving us your answers!
Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout