James Humphrys – The river (Song)

Nach seiner ausgefeilten EP „Sun mantra“ legt der Brite James Humphrys (hier im Porträt) mit einem Einzeltrack nach. „The river“ verfolgt dabei den gleichen melancholischen Tropen-Funk-Pop wie die bereits veröffentlichten Stücke. Im Interview erläutert James wie und wieso es zu „The river“ gekommen ist.

How did you write the track in the very beginning?

The track began with this bass-line that worked over this chord progression I had, which ended up being the chorus. I looped the two and worked over it with different guitar pedals to create different textures and rhythms. I immediately had this vocal melody in my head that I couldn’t stop singing over it, so the song came together really easily, which is always a joy, so it was just down to the arrangement after that.

What can you tell us about recording the song?

The song was produced and mixed by my friend Ed Guillaume-Smith, who is not only a great guy but also a super talented producer. He produced my last EP ‘Sun Mantra’, so it was great to work with him again. I originally recorded all the instruments and the song as a demo in my bedroom, which was great fun but there was lots going on, so when I brought the project to Ed we were able to polish and clean it up a bit, whilst keeping the vibe and sound true of my last EP. The song also features backing vocals from Bethany Humphries who sings and plays synth in my live setup, so that was cool to explore recording more with the band.

What’s your personal favourite moment in the track?

 I’ve always been a fan of a good old-fashioned breakdown in a song. So I guess my favourite moment would be from the second chorus onwards, when everything is stripped back and slowly things are added again… Arpeggiators are also really great so when that enters and teases you a bit making use of that sweet stereo field, I like that.

How can I understand the lyrics?

In terms of themes, lyrically ‘The River’ covers the idea of trying to fill some sort of void or loneliness. When you try to force a situation because you think it’ll be the answer or make your happy, when actually you’re just kidding yourself. It’s about relaxing into moments and letting things happen organically.

What’s your favourite one-liner of the song?

My favourite lyric would probably be during the chorus with the lines:


Why did you choose this track as your next single?

Since ‘Sun Mantra’ EP I’ve been writing and recording a bunch but this was the first one since that release, so the songs been around for a while and we’ve been playing it live for ages and the response has been great each time, so it just felt right to release it as my next single before the next string of songs.

At what point of a concert would you most likely play it?

I guess for me to tell any German listeners to come and find out for themselves at a show would be unrealistic / a great deal of effort and commitment, as we haven’t had a chance to play in Germany yet. But anyway, we play ‘The River’ as the last song in the set. It used to be ‘For Another’ but we’ve moved that one much earlier on to keep the vibes growing throughout the show.

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