Aussie-born rocker Eden James recently released his new music video for his single, “Stranger.” This track is from James’ fourth studio album, All the Good Blank are Taken, which was released on July 9th via Dandy Ram Records. The video for “Stranger” has already picked up six Best Music Video awards at international film festivals worldwide, including at the OTB International Film Awards in Miami, the Tagore International Film Festival in India and L’Age d’Or International Arthouse Film Festival in France.
James, who co-produced his album All the Good Blank are Taken with producer Tim Leitner (Billy Joel and Tina Turner), wrote “Stranger” in the songwriting style of Leonard Cohen. In a recent interview with Popwrapped, James says how he admired Cohen’s “playful cheekiness when describing sex and foreplay in his stories. It’s poetic, romantic and humorous at the same time. That was the bar I set when I wrote this song.”
Recorded at Sticky Audio Labs in New York City, James’s new album includes Paul Simon’s guitarist Larry Saltzman, David Bowie’s drummer Sterling Campbell and Bruce Springsteen’s keyboard/accordion player Charles Giordano.
Connect With Eden James Online Here:
Instagram: http://instagram.com/eden_james YouTube: http://bit.ly/edenjames-youtube
Learn more about Eden James in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today!
My pleasure. Thanks for inviting me.
So what has this past year been like for you and your music? How are/did you get through the pandemic? Are things opening up now where you are? How do you feel about that?
For me, I suppose it’s been much like what many others have felt the world over – uncertainty, shock, an opportunity to examine our existence, both on a personal and on a societal level. I believe the pandemic forced a lot of people into closer scrutiny of existentialism.
Yes, New York has lifted its emergency regulations and it seems to be operating at an almost return to normalcy level. People were so eager to enjoy the summer and that seems to be happening now, which is a good thing.
Let’s talk about your newest track, “Stranger.” What was the inspiration for it? Can you elaborate on how it was written in the songwriting style of Leonard Cohen?
I remember being on the subway listening to Leonard Cohen on my phone and thinking, my latest lyric feels a lot like something he would say. It has a playfulness and cheekiness that can only come from an old school romantic like Leonard. Cohen always showed a great deal of masculine courage in his tales of romance. “Stranger” explores that same notion. It’s important to show strength and conviction but also tenderness and vulnerability. The ability to be capable of these seemingly contrary traits is the lure – the enigma. To be both Bruce Wayne and Batman. 😉
How would you say that it compares to anything else you have put out before? How does it compare to the rest of your fourth studio album, All the Good Blank are Taken?
This is definitely the bluesiest song I’ve written, both musically and lyrically. I didn’t come from a blues background, I was raised on pop and rock music so it was fun to explore and then create a blues-pop-indie hybrid like Stranger. Regarding the rest of this album, I think it fits well with the other songs. There are bluesy licks littered throughout the other tracks so that all the songs have enough in common to belong on the same record together. Having the same musicians helps because they each contribute their own interpretation on how to string the notes together and when that is applied over all the songs it’s like a common thread in the tapestry.
How creatively involved with the making of the music video for “Stranger” were you? What does it mean to you that it was officially selected for screening at two international film festivals this year?
Regarding the making of the video, I took a very active and hands-on role in the making of it. I co-directed it with Sherheryar Kazi, a filmmaker in Pakistan and we worked together over zoom calls for the entirety of the project. I began by editing a series of my pre-pandemic live shows together, then gave that to Sherry who added his expertise in editing and effects to the clip.
The video then went on to win six international film awards so I couldn’t be more delighted. Each award win brings more attention to the song, to me as a writer and musician and helps build the buzz so that’s a good thing for my album campaign and career.
What was it like working with Paul Simon’s guitarist Larry Saltzman, David Bowie’s drummer Sterling Campbell and Bruce Springsteen’s keyboard/accordion player Charles Giordano? How did you get the opportunity to work with these incredible musicians?
My co-producer Tim Leitner sent the songs to Larry and Charles and they both loved the songs so we arranged for them to come in and play on the record. Sterling Campbell was working on the same floor in another studio and we would sometimes meet in the kitchen at the coffee machine. Tim and I mentioned that we’d like to try some Ringo type drum fills on this one track as an experiment and Sterling was more than happy to get behind the kit and help out. It was an honor to have musicians of this calibre play on these recordings and help bring my vision of a modern rock record to life.
Why is Dandy Ram Records the right place for you and your music today?
Oh, well, I run the record label – so that helps I suppose. I started the label two years ago because I felt it was the right time to start my own business. I liken it to the actor who needs a script in order to play a part in a movie and so the actor writes their own script with themself in mind to play the lead part. That’s what I did with my record label. I’m presently the only artist on the label but the plan is to sign new acts soon. We are currently accepting submissions.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be a musician? What do you think motivates you day in and day out to continue singing?
I was about eight years old when my drum teacher told me Paul McCartney earned a dollar a minute from songwriting royalties (or something insane like that). Even then, my child’s brain thought, “I’m going to do that!” I continued learning drums and playing in the school bands, and followed with teaching myself keyboards and then guitar. By the time high school arrived I was playing in three school bands and starting a vinyl record collection.
The thing that motivates me mostly now is not the career aspect but the health aspect. Singing, playing an instrument and writing songs is a type of therapy. It’s good for mental and emotional health. I call it my self-therapy sessions. But I’m sometimes late for appointments.
If you weren’t an artist today, could you see yourself doing anything else? What is something else interesting/funny you are good at?
I’m good at voice impressions and accents so I suppose I could be a voice-over artist. I’m also good at counselling and mediating my friends’ relationships and life issues. I think I’d be a good relationship therapist or life coach. Life tip: Don’t eat the yellow snow.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
It’s probably the amount of people who still don’t consider being a musician a viable profession. That’s still surprising to me. The greatest challenge is learning to become an effective strategist. Accepting that you must adopt a divide and conquer approach in getting tasks done. I would say discipline is the most important trait for a professional musician to master.
What do you think of the power of social media? How active are you on it all? Do you enjoy or have trouble keeping up with it all?
I’m not a fan of it but it’s a necessary part of the job. It can be an extremely helpful tool if used creatively. I’m currently looking at leveraging the power of social media advertising for audience growth.
Do you have any upcoming tour dates you would like to let our readers know about?
Yes, I had a show Thursday July 15 at Culture Lab in Long Island City, New York at 7pm. It was a free outdoor concert by the river. The next show is September 1st at Live at Heart Festival in Sweden, which may be a live stream show.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
Equal measures of wisdom and fun in a smokey whiskey tumbler whilst laying back on a burgundy chaise lounge surrounded by leather-bound books. Fireplace optional.