INTERVIEW: Alistair James | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Ben Heward 

It’s been a while since his last release, due partly to the fact that he fell out of love with the entertainment industry, but now Teesside’s Alistair James is back with a new enthusiasm and a new single. Darling Let It Be Me is already available from the usual online platforms and the accompanying video sees him strumming his guitar around the streets of Middlesbrough. It’s simple but effective, which has always been the key to Alistair’s appeal – nothing over-complicated; just his clear, distinctive vocals and his trademark catchy riffs together with a little harmonica and piano.

A few years back he was lucky enough to spend three months in New York where he recorded some songs with Mark Plati, the producer acclaimed for his work with the likes of David Bowie and The Cure. “They won’t get released but I had an amazing time,” says Alistair. “I worked with a lot of cool people and to work with Mark was something else; he’s a master at what he does. Since then I’ve just been writing really.

The main thing is not to lose sight of why you do this in the first place which is for the love of music, playing live and putting your songs out there

“I tend to write whenever it hits me – an idea will seem to fall out of the sky and you’ve got to run with it. It is very random when it happens – it’s usually when I should be doing something else. I think I’ll always write music. It’s in my blood, or it feels that way. I tried to take some time off from it when I got disillusioned with the whole music biz but ideas kept coming and eventually I wanted to put stuff out. It’s a beautiful thing really and I hope it never goes away from me. The main thing is not to lose sight of why you do this in the first place which is for the love of music, playing live and putting your songs out there.” 

Of his new single he says: “To me it speaks about being drawn back to the place you’re from. You might go around the world and work with other people but in the end the place you’re from always pulls you back in both good and bad ways in the shape of love, work etc. Teesside is where I grew up so it’s within me without me even trying. I think the industrial element has an effect, the whole working class ethos of Middlesbrough and the people I’ve met and worked with. I’m grateful for that and it keeps me grounded. The way we talk, the sayings we have, the way of life – the whole thing is an influence. I don’t think about it too much, I just let it come out in my writing. It’s a constant stream of influence.”

Fans won’t have long to wait until they can hear more new material. “I’m just going to keep releasing stuff. I do it for me. I love to write and I wanna share it with people and play my music live. I’ve got a Middlesbrough gig planned on Friday 8th November at Westgarth Social Club. It’ll be acoustic – I love the bare bones of it and the harmonica works well. Bands are great and I hope to have a band behind me again one day but for now this is where my head’s at.”

Darling Let It Be Me is out now on all platforms, he plays Westgarth Social Club on Friday 8th November  



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