Elijah James and the Nightmares Interview : “Disposition, nostalgia, & importance.”

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Elijah James And The Nightmares are releasing their debut EP, Live From Elevator Studios, on Saturday September 9th.

Liverpool eight piece Elijah James and the Nightmares have only been on the go since May 2017, but they’ve somehow managed to make quite an impact in the short couple of months. They debuted to a crowd of 250 in popular local venue, District, played Sound City Festival, and recorded their debut EP with Tom Roach in Elevator Studios (The Coral, Echo And The Bunnymen and The Last Shadow Puppets). Impressive.

We spoke to Elijah James about their upcoming debut EP, the group’s varied approach to instrumentation, and the songs they’ve released so far.

Overblown: You’ve said that the new EP includes both autobiographical songs and songs that are more like stories. Why do you want this balance on the EP?

Elijah James: There wasn’t any particular desire to have a balance per se, this was just a different approach that I’d started to take when thinking of ideas for songs, opposed to previous EPs and albums that acted more as a personal therapy and less as an exercise in writing.

O: You’ve just released a video for ‘On A Stage’. What inspired that song?

EJ: Songwriting for me is a way to express whatever feelings I have towards whatever’s on my mind at that point in time, whether it be something that I’ve seen, read or heard, if it’s affected me in any way at all then it’s potential for an idea to spawn. The idea for ‘On A Stage’ began after becoming disillusioned with a lot of music that I was hearing and people I was reading about, it’s about disposition, nostalgia and importance.

O: You recorded the EP with Tom Roach in Elevator Studios. What was like working in such a legendary studio?

EJ: Tom is a great guy and a phenomenal engineer, he has a natural ability to make you feel welcome and comfortable. I found this especially helpful considering the merit of Elevator Studios and the past artists that have worked there. The experience recording in the studios massive live room was thrilling, it’s the kind of place you look at when you’re young and dreaming of becoming a musician and think ‘that’s where I need to be’. We required a big live room because there’s eight of us in the band, and because we were recording it all live. It’s no mean feat to capture the energy created in any room but it turned out really great and this only confirms Tom’s ability as an engineer.

O: There is quite a variety of instruments on display in your songs. Ranging from violin (Emily Claire), tenor horn (Rachel Notrahw), clarinet and saxophone (James Cudworth). What do these add to the songs?

EJ: I played a lot of solo acoustic shows for a few years but I always had these parts in mind, I always wanted the songs to have more complex and interesting dynamics. Adding this instrumentation achieved that. It also helps being able to work and perform with such competent and capable musicians as The Nightmares.

O: Do these instruments affect how a song is written?

EJ: In regards to the writing process, it’s usually a solitary affair comprising of me and an acoustic guitar or piano. The instrumentation can either write itself in the process and come quite naturally or take some serious consideration afterwards.

O: On the 25th August you release a new video for ‘That Girl of Mine’. What inspired that song?

EJ: ‘That Girl Of Mine’ is one of the songs in which I set out to write a story. I live in Liverpool and Bold Street is a big part of where I spend most of my time whether it be sitting in a bar, coffee shop or restaurant, or just a connecting route to some other bar, coffee shop or restaurant. I’ve seen a lot of things happen and not happen on those cobbles, it’s simply a love song set on my favourite street.

O: How did you choose the songs that appear on this EP?

EJ: Because we set out to make a live EP, it was very much a collective decision between everybody in the band, it’s a short snippet of how we sound live. They are however songs that I’ve been composing for a full length LP I’m currently in the process of recording, and that I hope to be fully tracked by the end of the year.

O: You launch the EP at Studio2 Parr Street in Liverpool on Friday September 8th, with support from ‘Horrible Pop’ four piece Shy Billy and alt/rock band The Mono LPs. Are you excited?

EJ: It’s going to be our debut release, which is obviously very exciting. We’ll also have our very first t-shirts for sale as well other merchandise and copies of the EP. This combined with our friends that make up the brilliant bands we’ve managed to get to support, and the fact that Studio2 Parr Street is a fantastic venue with a great sound is all the components you need for a fun show. I can’t wait to see everybody there and to play these songs.

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