10 questions for James edge and the mindstep

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So after sharing their new song yesterday I caught up with lead singer James Edge from James Edge and the Mindstep, who was cool enough to take on the 10 questions!

 

First things first how did you come to be?

I put the band together from the best people I could think of to record the first album In The Hills, The Cities. I’d been touring solo for a while but had lots of arrangement ideas I needed to realise, so we ended up with nine players on the first album overall. Over the next few years a live lineup consisting of the current jazz-folk trio of me, Andy (double bass) and Avvon (drums) became a regular thing and I started to write the second album focussed on that ensemble.

What genre of music would you say you play?

I tend to just say ‘progressive’ these days, but we variously fit alt-folk, art-rock and good old singer-songwriter.

Which bands/artists do you take influences from?

I take an awful lot of inspiration from artists I know or work with these days. It’s hard to single one act out, but the sheer number of incredible unheard artists out there is scary. My guitar playing is rooted in singer songwriters like Bert Jansch, Ralph McTell and John Martyn. Compositionally I tend to be inspired by ambitious artists like Bjork, David Bowie and Joanna Newsom or bands like Everything Everything. I’m also heavily influenced by composers like Stravinsky, Ravel, Weir, Messiaen, Zappa and Reich, to name a few, alongside quite hectic IDM and metal! So basically everyone…

Best venue you’ve ever played and why?

I love any venues and promoters who know their audience and acts and put their bills together accordingly, with care. We’ve played lovely shows at The Bedford in Balham, The Finsbury in London and the Half Moon in Putney. But I think generally the audience is the more important part of the equation – a great crowd in a terrible venue is better than the reverse! The most amazing audience I ever had was actually with my other band, Nya Shelley (www.nyashelley.com) when we supported the awesome Josephine Foster at the Green Door Store in Brighton. Her entire crowd stayed to watch our whole set and sat on the floor in complete silence. It was a lovely evening.

Best gig you’ve ever attended?

It’s a very tough call but Ibrahim Maalouf playing his Illusions album at the South Bank Centre.

A band you would most like to support and why?

It would be amazing to open for a real hero like Joni Mitchell.

A band that you would like to work with?

I can’t envisage working with a whole band. I’d be really interested to find out what a producer could do with us. I feel like the raw ethos of the new album would have benefitted from Steve Albini’s input.

Top five albums you’ve ever heard?

Crikey. This week I’ll go with:

David Bowie – Black Star
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
Bjork – Medulla
Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left
Nirvana – In Utero

Biggest accomplishment as a band/solo artist?

Maybe a cop-out but I’m extremely proud of our current track / video On A Red Horse. Really just having got it written, performed, recorded and released feels like a major achievement.

What’s next in the pipeline?

Release of the On a Red Horse EP on Folkstock Records on 15th April. Then later in the year releasing our second album Machines He Made.

Thanks for the time James, it’s much appreciated!

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