Unafraid to be unique, newcomer Brave James blends dreamy alt-pop, maximalist electroproduction and multi-layered psychedelic vocal harmonies as he whips up a whirlwind of multi-generational influences into a sound that sits right at home in 2021. Those traits both flourish and prosper in his debut single ‘Soldier’, which is out now.
‘Soldier’ is driven by a pulsating rhythm that blends a culture clash of electro-pop grooves and a militaristic marching beat. It’s a startling symphony that takes a surprising twist as Brave James’ heavenly vocals echo around the ether, simultaneously otherworldly unorthodox and swiftly soothing. The song’s percussive march is perfectly apt for the song’s lyrics. It draws poetic parallels between a soldier’s excursion into the unknown and someone’s urgent quest to find some kind of meaning in their life.
“‘Soldier’ speaks to me as an anthem for what my debut album is about, and it set the direction for the record,” says Brave James. “I knew that I wanted to integrate vocal harmonies with electronic atmospheres over this marching, militant groove. I was also experimenting at the time with cassette looping and a bunch of fun stuff. It all just kind of bled its way into the track. I felt like I wanted to write something about navigating lingering memories and feelings from past relationships.”
As well as being an immersive introduction to Brave James’ creativity, ‘Soldier’ also underlines his multifaceted talents. He recorded all vocals and instrumentation on the track, co-wrote and co-produced it with Oli Rockberger (Jordan Rakei, Gregory Porter), and co-mixed it with Michael Scherchen at The Mix Factory.
The song is released alongside a lyric video, which depicts Brave James with iconic London landmarks in a rich tapestry of colour. Watch BELOW:
Born in Australia and now based in London, Brave James’ key music passions are for vocal harmonies and electronics, with The Beach Boys, Take 6, James Blake and Bjork among his key influences. They’re the dominant forces in his sumptuous sound clash, which welds ambience, soul and originality into a distinct vision of what pop can be. He merges genres which should be contradictory into a fluid, cohesive whole. The pandemic inspired an epiphany and a new-found focus for his creativity, while lockdown allowed him the time to concentrate on bringing his music to its full potential.
His lyrics hone in on emotional snapshots: moments of togetherness, life-changing chance meetings, memories which loom large and then disappear, the self-destructive repetition of circular thoughts, and post-relationship insularity. These are all concepts which loom large in the inventive soundscapes of his upcoming debut album.