Fergus James is an artist with ten million streams to his name, across just three colossal singles! Today, the singer-songwriter sensation releases his brand new debut EP All Of The Colours. To celebrate the highly anticipated release, James will be taking the EP on the road for a headline tour that will see him play Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane this November. Fergus drops by for a quick Q&A about the EP and tour.
Is it hard keeping a lid on the excitement for the release of your EP All Of The Colours?
Constantly! I have been working on these songs for the past two and a half years. The fact that all the work and effort behind the EP is about to come to fruition is definitely hard to contain at the moment!
Did it pan out even better than you expected?
I personally think so. Every song is more meaningful and of a higher quality than I could ever of hoped for. When I started out in music, a debut EP by the age of twenty would of been an absurd idea. But, I am unbelievably proud of All Of The Colours; I never thought I was capable of the five songs on it, and I believe it is truly a testament to the talent and belief of everyone who was involved in the EP process. I am but a small clog in the machine that produced this collection of songs, and for that, I am so thankful. So in other words, yes, it panned out a lot better than I expected.
Is it hard letting go of the songs once you have finished them?
Not so much hard as it is nervous. I think every musician should know that the moment a song is out, it is no longer theirs to tweak, change or hold onto. The songs are for the public, and the public is subjective and frankly fickle… It’s the weird duality about this career and lifestyle, we need to absolutely care about the response to songs and how people react to the music, but also not care about the opinions of others at all! So it can make me quite nervous…
Did you feel that the process of making the EP really challenged you?
Of course. Every song took time, and I’m a bit of a perfectionist; always needing to change lyrics, song direction etc etc. I think what was truly the most challenging aspect of the EP was deciding the songs. This is a two and a half year process, starting during my last year of high school… That is a fair bit of time for change, be it change with me personally or musically.
Running of the back of the singles What Are We Waiting For and Back To Life, I wanted to make sure I had a coherent body of work, but also a diverse representation of my songs and music. And that was the challenging process of the EP. I have easily written over one hundred songs, and fitting in five with those self-imposed constraints was difficult. But, I think that’s where the EP’s beauty hopefully lies, a tight collection of songs that also provides unique sounds, production and perspectives from each other, a literal insight to ‘all of the colours’ of me as an artist.
What was the biggest learning that come from the process that you wouldn’t repeat again?
‘Looking for the next single’ was an insidious, self imposed behaviour during the EP process which I would look not to repeat again. Every time I set out to write and record a ‘big’ or ‘catchy’ song, it always fell flat. And funnily enough, every time I let go and just wrote for the love of writing, good songs came! This was particularly true with Back To Life, where the previous songs had exceeded my own expectations, and I felt like I needed to maintain ‘hype’ and ‘excitement’. Sure enough, most songs I chased to sound like what I had done previously weren’t spectacular. But the moment I gave up chasing, I wrote Back To Life and Mistakes back to back. So I undoubtedly need to trust the process and not worry about forcing songs as much.
Who are your musical heroes?
If we were to do the whole list, we could be here for a while… So if I had to name three, my holy trinity would be Bon Iver, Gang of Youths and Maggie Rogers.
Has 2019 exceeded your expectations and what are your plans for next year?
Exceeded doesn’t encapsulate my 2019… and I’m so thankful to all the listeners, ticket buyers and everyone in between who helped it be that way.
If you had of told me last year that I would end up supporting Meg Mac, opening the main stage of Splendour In The Grass for Triple J Unearthed, playing two BIGSOUND sets AND releasing a debut EP, I would of told you you’re quite silly. I can barely think about Christmas let alone next year! So if I was able to achieve half of what I did this year in 2020, I would be a very happy boy.
Are you looking forward to getting out on the road and touring the EP?
I’m SOOOO excited. The two favourite parts of my career are when you find a new exciting idea for a song, the literal genesis of a tune, and then playing that song to an audience for the first time. I can’t wait to see new and old faces alike in the audiences, can’t wait to visit some of Australia’s nicest cities, and generally can’t wait to play the entirety of All Of The Colours for people for the first time!
What can fans expect to hear on this tour?
A diversity of music. I hate being pinned down by genre and definition, so I will be playing rock songs, pop songs, slow songs AND fast songs. There will a thread of consistency with the show however, which will be the song writing. But I love music, and I want to play lots of different approaches to music with these shows. I have one of the best bands and crew for this tour, so expect a big sound, lots of emotions, a bit of a dance, and hopefully I can make your night just a little bit better than it was before you walked into the gig.
What’s next for Fergus James?
New music, more shows, me getting a little older (help), and hopefully world domination. And if not that, just making 2020 a little nicer and little better than the beautiful year that was 2019. Thank you everyone for the support. I am nothing, and I mean nothing, without you all. See you at my upcoming shows, hope you all love the EP xx
Interview By Rob Lyon