Q & A with Daryl James


Following the release of Daryl James’ first single release “The Wolf is at the Door” late last year, the gritty rock/blues/raw acoustic roots musician is back with a second single “Moth to the Flame” in the lead up to his sophomore album Insofar.  

Daryl's about to head off on a 4-month tour in support of the new album and single, stopping by Solbar on March 24...

Hi Daryl! Nice work with ‘Moth to the Flame’ - it’s a belter of a track! Your earlier single, ‘’The Wolf is at the Door’ was already a good taste of what is to come from your upcoming album, ‘Insofar’… but ‘Moth…’ steps it up a notch.  Did you feel you had to push yourself with the creation of this track?

HI guys! Thanks, I’m glad you like it!
Absolutely, I really pushed myself both musically and with the production on this tune. I’d say it’s the most progressive piece of work off the upcoming album and the deepest expression of the roots/future concept I’m currently exploring i.e. fusing traditional acoustic roots/blues guitar, with more modern electronic beats, loops and experimental sounds. I approached recording this song very differently, building the parts piece by piece as I would when I do it live with my loop pedal, and fusing electronic beats with my acoustic foot drums. Creatively the intention was to push as far as I could, and honestly I never thought it would be a single. However, the way it turned out changed our minds very quickly!

You’ve described the song as being about ‘being hooked on doing things that we know are bad of us in the long run, but continuing to do them anyway…’
Was there a particular event that led to inspiring the theme of this song?

No there hasn’t been a particular event, more the continual day to day ways I see myself and others living. It was just getting to me being in a crowd and seeing 90% of everyone staring down into their phones, thinking about the numerous times I’ve encountered people getting on a power trip, the constant bombardment of advertising promoting products that will apparently make us happy, huge empty buildings when people are sleeping on the streets and so on.. It’s about knowing about the things that are bad for us on the whole, yet doing or letting them happen anyway. ‘When you buy into the lie, you sell out the truth’

Recorded, you’re pushing a full band sound, but being a solo artist, how have you adapted these tracks to be able to be performed live?

I made sure that everything on the record I can perform either solo or with a full band. With my solo show I use my own homemade foot drum setup that consists of a modified Cajon with a snare strapped to the side, which I play with my heels on 2 bass drum pedals, and a Cajon tambourine on my toe. I also use live looping on my guitar and vocals, and my guitar has 2 pickups which I blend between – one for the pure acoustic sound and 1 for the more dirty electric sounds that I run through lots of guitar pedals!

This leads to a pretty full solo sound so I can pull of the songs on my own..

You recorded and performed all the instruments by yourself, at your home. Did you have to teach yourself engineering tricks along the way, or have you had experience in sound recording previously?

I have briefly worked in a few studios in the past, and I have dabbled with recording and production, but nothing as in depth as this. I haven’t used Pro Tools before so that was a big learning curve, but I have for the most part really enjoyed it. I have taught myself lots of new things, it gave me a good excuse to go and study recording and production techniques, and being able to apply it as I go has been super rewarding. I don’t have amazing equipment either, so it has been a challenge just having to use what I have, forcing me to be even more creative in the process.

You’re originally from Snowdonia, Wales… and just looking at your hefty string of dates in the Insofar album tour, you’re eventually heading back to the UK for a few shows as well. How long has it been since you were back there, and are you looking forward to being back in the UK for a spell?

It’s been almost 2 years since I was back in the UK, and I can’t wait to get back. We’re in the process of booking out more dates over there, and out in Europe too, so it’s going to be quite a trip! I’m looking forward to catching up with friends and family, and to taking my new music back to its roots!

Thanks Daryl! Have a fantastic tour, and we’ll see you at Solbar on March 24th.

Cheers guys look forward to it ☺