Sydney-based singer-songwriter Patrick James has returned, landing his much anticipated EP What We’re Fighting For earlier this month with an accompanying east coast tour right around the corner (deets below).
Tantalising the senses with a bedroom pop romance, What We’re Fighting For paints an intimate portrait of a musician navigating the trials and tribulations of his mid-twenties. A semi-autobiographical ode of love, maturity and letting go of the past that exudes raw emotion – James has craftily strayed beyond the typical love song to deliver a contemporary sound, reminiscent of The 1975 and Oh Wonder.
We’re oh so happy to share the inner workings of this musical mind with you this week, dear reader. So go on, have a read! This is one autumnal anthem to aspire to.
What inspired you to pursue music as a career?
I always liked performing when I was a kid. When I was 10 I would always impersonate Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura so I always gravitated towards putting on a creative hat. I first played the drums and then guitar later on. My mum was a piano teacher and she introduced me to a lot of great songwriters and that’s when I really felt like I found my thing as a teenager. Songwriting is still as magical to me as it was when I was 13 and it still has a therapeutic effect on me.
Besides making music, what have you done to get to where you are?
Earlier on a did a brief acting course. I suppose it helped me become more confident with performing. I think because my life is so consumed by music it kind of feels like that is a big part of who I am and it takes up most of my time. But I have done odds and ends jobs here and there and a lot of busking. Ultimately I’m at a stage where I’m so excited to be always creative. There is a side to being an artist which is more the business aspect of things and I’ve had to learn that on the job since a young age. No one teaches you how to do certain things so making mistakes is inevitable.
If you’re struggling to make an income as a musician here are Six Tips To Avoid A Life Of Poverty As A Musician
How do you approach developing timelines for your career?
Personally I don’t think timelines are useful on the creative side. When I’m making something I can take up to a few years to make it because I’m an independent act and my manager and I basically call the shots. It’s about getting the art side of it correct. When it comes to touring and planning the releases it’s crucial that there is a solid template on paper. It means the music will be delivered to people in the best way and hopefully build the momentum for your own cycle.
If you need help creating a release timeline check out Your Music Release Timeline
What is the most significant challenge you have conquered in your career?
As mentioned above I am independent, and with that comes financial challenges. The hardest part for me is that I constantly feel like I have too many ideas and creative vision for how far along the business is. I’d love to do way more film clips, tour more with a band, release more music etc but most of the time you have to work within a budget that happens to be a lot smaller than a major label act. The up side to that is that I own everything and I make the income from a large percentage of the profits. So there are pros and cons to being independent but in general I’ve always felt like I’ve had creative freedom which is a win. It’s about being patient and working hard for the pay off!
What will musicians discover from touring and how should they prepare for it?
It’s definitely hard work, but a fun type of hard work. I’ve found that dealing with nervous energy takes it out of me more than anything but that’s my own internal thing. Don’t expect to make money early on but take the small opportunities to really engage with the audience when you can. Things like meeting fans, selling merch, taking photos goes a long way. There’s a LOT of waiting, so make the most of that time for social media or rehearsing. Stuff like making sure all of your crew are happy does wonders for moral. At the end of the day you form a little touring family and it’s a nice feeling when everyone works together.
Need to do a tour budget? Read How To Harness The Power Of A Tour Budget
How should people educate themselves on current industry issues?
Social media is probably the best for this but also just general networking. The contacts you build up over just a few years in the industry means that you’re always exposed to the different facets of working within music in Australia, that can only help you understand the landscape more. Ive always tried to be someone who regularly contacts other artists or industry professionals to seek help with any issues. Especially in Sydney – it’s such a small community of people who work in the industry, that most of the time help comes pretty quickly when there are problems to talk about. I suppose it’s always changing so keeping up to date will only help your career I suppose.
How have you integrated modern technology into your content process?
I have to be up to date with all of the latest ways to reach fans and get your voice heard. There’s not really a way around it. I’ve found recently that I’ve planned most of my social media in a way that I can execute easily and know that it will get done that way. I have all the apps, all the editing pages constantly open (Whitagram, InShot, Phonto) on my phone ready to go and it has helped to think of it as part of my job. Just like I want to write a good song I want to nail my content on social media platforms.
Give What We’re Fighting For a listen below!
WHAT WE’RE FIGHTING FOR EP TOUR
GET TICKETS HERE
FRI 12 APR | Workers Club | MELBOURNE
THU 18 APR | Black Bear Lodge | BRISBANE
Hey, the wisdom doesn’t end here! Head on over to the archives to read more, if you please.