Interview: James Leonard Hewitson | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Photo by Lauren Sadie Marsden
Having recently released the catch as hell, Deader with a swish looking video and North-East tour to support it, James Leonard Hewitson is looking ahead to his Autumnal activities, which among other things, includes the release of his new single, Dance track and a performance at Darlington’s premier multi-venue event, Last Train Home.
James is one of the North-East’s finest all-round performers, with the nonchalant charisma of a Jarvis Cocker, the anthemic songwriting ability of stadium rock band and an on-the-pulse observant wit of a stand up comedian. It’s only a matter of time before he goes stratospheric but before that happens we caught up with him to find out how things are going.
Your next single, Dance Track comes out on 11th October, what is it about?
‘Dance Track’ is out on 11th October 2019 and it is the second single from my debut album, ‘Only The Noise Will Save Me’.
It is about the fleeting thoughts of balancing work life and love life and shows how different priorities take the fore in our minds. Sometimes we need nobody, but sometimes we need somebody. Sometimes we’re in love, but until we are, we aren’t, as we navigate through a melancholic English way of life, with no dance to signify our times, despite always going clubbing. The song poses a question in the break – ‘do we really need anyone?’ – as more people are choosing to live single than ever before.
The artwork is by Rebecca Little and myself, and is made up of a collage of paper shapes and my photographs of urban buildings in Hartlepool, to represent the man-made, conveyor-belt flow of the song. 

Can you tell us a little about the writing and recording process?
This was actually an old song that I’ve reworked! I jammed it on bass guitar with Michael Kitching on drums, then we got that down in the studio to a click-track. Then I said to Chris ‘let’s put an oscillating loop through it’, and it just started to gain layer after layer until we had the finished product. 

Your songs are very observant and insightful and filled with charm and wit. What’s the secret behind writing great song lyrics?
Thanks! I don’t know, I like to write lyrics that make me laugh a bit, but lyrics that also represent whatever I’m going through in relation to a wider societal picture. I suppose ‘the secret’ is to just be yourself, write about what interests you and what suits you, but remember that they are also for other people to understand. I try to be more literal than abstract in how I tackle lyrics, but other people are different.
Are you looking forward to performing at Last Train Home the day after your single release? Who are your highlights of the festival?
Yeah totally! It looks brilliant, and if Music Box is anything to go by, festivals in Darlington are always a joy to attend. There’s loads to choose from but I think it will be nice to watch A Festival, A Parade as I haven’t seen them for a while, and headliners She Drew The Gun and Pigs x7 (depending on how they line up) will also be a joy. It’s also the day after my birthday, so technically it’s my birthday weekend!

What can the crowd expect from your live show?
I will be performing songs from my upcoming album, ‘Only The Noise Will Save Me’, joined by Michael Kitching on drums, Daniel D’Arcy on guitar and Ian Harrison on bass guitar. We’re pretty laid back but sometimes we kick off. We might kick off.

What does the future have in store for James Leonard Hewitson?
Get the album out, do more gigs, keep going and going and going and going and going. Never stop.

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