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Dave James

10 June 2009

Dave is one of the world's great collaborators, read on to find out why...

Some composers are lonesome souls. Perhaps it’s all part of the artist in the garret tradition. We envisage the old stereotype of the tortured composer with floppy hair and big shirt rending his soul for his singular vision and artistic integrity. Well Dave James isn’t like that at all.

Dave is one of the World’s great collaborators. Apart from his obvious talent, he is such a personable and fun fellow to be around he is never short of great people who are eager to work with him. He loves the company of other creative people and that is why he has found a new lease of life away from his habitual haunts of the pop and rock world.

 Click here to listen to Dave's latest tracks.

“Audio Network has the cream of the crop talent-wise so I would be nuts not to take advantage of the community and work with as wide a range of people as I can,” he says. “I find it gives me a new lease of musical life and it’s really lovely to feel part of a family.”

Dave says it hasn’t always been like this. “The commercial music world can be very hard, touring can be surprisingly monotonous even with big bands and studio work can be very stressful.”

Dave started his career in the 80's as a session drummer, percussionist and saxophonist. He spent his time recording, performing and touring with acts such as Imagination, Sheena Easton, Jaki Graham and an array of spandex and shell-suited performers.

As a writer, his first real break came after co-writing and producing "Looking Up" for Michelle Gayle which later became her debut hit single, selling around the globe. One thing led to another until Dave was invited to write for one of the hottest bands at the time, Take That.

His song entitled "If This Is Love" went on their multi platinum-selling "Everything Changes" album.  The feedback on Dave's input was immense and he was asked to be involved on the band’s next album "Nobody Else".  The outcome was huge as he went on to co-produce "Never Forget" which subsequently went to No 1.

From there Dave quickly became a writer and producer of international note. He worked with artists like Kim Wilde, Vonda Shepherd, Sonique and Atomic Kitten and more recently with Sandi Thom and Natasha Bedingfield. He has enjoyed huge success scoring chart hits from top tens to number ones.

Dave James

Always one to take on a new challenge Dave is now the man you’d end up working with should you be fortunate enough to win the European Pop Stars/Pop Idol show in either Germany or Spain.

Dave’s experience in the pop world makes him stand out from other composers. Andrew Sunnucks, Audio Network’s Creative Director remembers the first recording he did with Dave.

“Dave kept choosing sounds he wanted to work with which sounded crap to me,” he says, “I sat in uncomfortable silence trying to figure out a way to break this news to him but gradually Dave built a track in which all the sounds started making complete sense and collectively sounded brilliant. I realised then that I would never have been able to produce that sound without Dave’s experience and judgement.”
 
Dave loves the process of writing music for TV. He says “it is great to write music which is FOR something. I get a call and a brief, we have a natter and I go off with the challenge to deliver something which is top notch quality and does what it says on the tin. That,” he slightly curiously intones, “juices me up”.

He goes on, ”What I like about writing for Audio Network is the fact that everyone is refreshingly personable and approachable; no pretention or egos getting in the way of stuff, which I’ve found to be a regular annoyance in the commercial music business.
I also love the no politics, no nonsense easy process. You do the work and a few months later you get the buzz when you start hearing it on TV!”

More...

 

Q&A

 

What was your most embarrassing faux pas?

Playing saxophone on a live 80’s TV show with Sheena Easton.

I had proudly polished and dusted my horn, and had honed and perfected my moves, giving it large in front of the dressing room mirror.
My big TV debut was about to begin.
On stage, 2 minutes into the song, solo imminent, spotlight on me, the camera zooms in for the dramatic, arty bell end of the sax shot, only to be confronted by a manky old stained duster trailing out of the end, while I simultaneously emitted a sad muffled trump.
I decided that after that, I would leave the sax to rust…

What is your greatest/favourite claim to fame? Having Co written with the great Lamont Dozier & Albert Hammond. And having
Kim Wilde singing in my bedroom!
Which album do you air guitar/drum/keyboard to? I have been guilty but not seen, air guitaring to the solo on “Easy” by The Commodores. There’s a great whip ta! moment in it.
Any musical guilty pleasures? “What’s up pussycat” “King of the swingers” (from the jungle book) and er… sorry “The girl from Ipanema”
Who would play you in a movie? Richard Dreyfuss
Which composer or band would you bring back from the dead? Keith Richards. The deceased members of The Grateful Dead, but they may not appreciate it. Seriously though, I would bring back, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Jerry Goldsmith, and Leonard Bernstein. To name but a few.
What is your greatest extravagance? Paying the extortionate rent for my studio, Jamaican Blue mountain coffee and posh dark chocolate.
Any words of wisdom you would like to offer or have received? If you are genuinely serious about making a career out of the music business then:
 You can’t be a lazy git!  Wishing for something to happen is different from making it happen.
Any hidden talents? I can bark like a Rottweiler.
What/who would you put in Room 101? Poncey restaurants that serve portions of food the size of a peanut. And Oysters, and Morrissey.
Your top 5 musical works of all time or today are? Far too many, but I’ll have a go. ‘Rocket love’ (Stevie Wonder)  ‘Someone To Watch over me’ (George Gershwin) ‘What’s going On’ (Marvin Gaye)  Mahler’s Symphony No 5 . ‘Mothership Connection’ by Parliament.
 What's behind you? The wicked witch
If you could be reincarnated, who would you come back as? My dad
 
 
Have you ever been on Top of The Pops?
Yes, with Bucks Fizz, Imagination, and I think a few others best not remembered.
 
What inspires you?
Great musicianship, new experiences, personal growth, sincere people and all things Caribbean.
If you weren't writing music for a living what would you be doing? Sorry…can’t form an image in my mind doing anything else.
Do you ever hear a complete piece of music in your head before writing it/ recording it? I do, but usually forget it, as something always distracts me before I get a chance to sing the idea into my Dictaphone…bugger!
Do you download or buy music on CD? Mostly download, as CD cases nowadays are made of biscuit glass and disintegrate in your hands.
Other than family, what one thing would you rescue if your house was on fire? My late dad’s tenor saxophone.
What question have you always wanted someone to ask you, and what would be your answer? Beyonce:  “Hi Dave, you chunky monkey sexbear, I am a great admirer of your work, and would love you to write and produce my next album.
My answer: “yeah, I’m just watching the Apprentice at the moment, can I mull it over and get back to you in a week or so”.


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