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

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Since his first band Arcs & Trauma played Reading & Leeds festival in 2010, James Leonard Hewitson has packed a lot into his musical career, not least just finishing a music degree at Newcastle University. In the last twelve months alone, quietly confident James has managed to fit in trumpet duties for Kingsley Chapman & The Murder, a touring stint with Frankie & The Heartstrings (supporting The Charlatans) and a Lissie’s Heart Murmur release for his micro indie label, Endearment Records.

As we chin-wagged about gig posters, vinyl prices and riot grrrl (“Armpit and the Glitter Babies! Hartlepool has never had a riot grrrl band before!”) over a beer in one of Stockton’s leafier pub gardens, I asked James why he’s now chosen to release his debut single Care Less, Love Less?

“I was never really in a position whilst at university, for various reasons, to do a full-blown release for myself. But I was luckily able to take some time and learn more about music-making, performance and logistics through doing stuff on the trumpet with Kingsley and Frankie, making records and playing bigger shows. I also learned more about the business side of things by putting out a record for someone else. This has all been valuable experience, as well as the degree, so now I feel a lot more confident about doing a release of my own – I think that’s what I needed, confidence.’’

Is the DIY approach out of necessity or is it about keeping things integral? “Both…I get frustrated at the idea of working hard on music just to have it verified by someone else’s vision or criteria, so I felt like making up my own.”

I get frustrated at the idea of working hard on music just to have it verified by someone else’s vision or criteria

There’s a lot of wordplay in the lyrics of the song, in particular the double meanings of the words in the title. “The wordplay just makes me laugh, the play on words in the chorus. I wrote it in the summer of 2014, it’s really about when you’ve been away from people for a while. Should I be making an extreme effort to keep up to date with anyone and everything? Maybe you don’t have to, but there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Care Less, Love Less is a three-and-a-half-minute slice of melodic anti-folk given the full backing band treatment, reminiscent of early Badly Drawn Boy or Adam Green. And to promote it there is a mini North East tour starting with a free show at Sound It Out in Stockton on Saturday 9th and including a hometown show at The Studio, Hartlepool on Friday 22nd and Newcastle’s Head of Steam on Saturday 23rd July amongst others.

So what’s next for the Endearment Records brand? “Under the guise of the label will be a monthly live music night in Hartlepool, compilation albums, and I may be booking some shows for some friends soon – I’ve always booked shows, I’ve been doing it since I was 16. I need to focus on me now. I’ve got a lot of songs at the moment and I want to write more.”

James Leonard Hewitson releases Care Less, Love Less on 15th July via Endearment Records. He plays Sound it Out, Stockton on Saturday 9th, The Studio, Hartlepool on Friday 22nd, Newcastle’s Head of Steam and Sunderland’s Pop Recs (afternoon show) on Saturday 23rd July.


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