Love Is Grand

James Armata Issue: Section:

How to be precious without being precious?

My intention for my first EP: a supremely emotional, raw and beautiful string of songs that represent the experiences (of lover's, relationships, friendships) that have been essential to the place where I live as an artist, now, and sing the hell out of them.

The precious... I believe in The Beatles and all their musical and emotional complexity. But it's the "deep song" approach that I live and thrive in. It's the Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Dylan, Astral Weeks, Etta James, PJ Harvey, both Buckley's approach that superimposes belief in song over the structure of song. What's the point of strict stylist, pop, rock, jazz, verse chorus, verse chorus end song, how many hooks, if it doesn't enable the singer to sing the song? It's not the song, it's how you sing the song. For me, making music means sending out something so powerful, a back breaking wave of emotion, and undeniably personal. The "you may not know the details, but there's a damn good reason I want to sing to you like this..."
Your talents, your song writing and most importantly your voice must not be limited, stuffed, crammed and ill-fitted into traditional rock-pop structures. Some do it fantastically, others succumb to it.

The not so precious...10 tracks recorded in 2 days. A result of self financing a record. All the songs were sung and played live, no punch-ins or computer edits, just complete takes. The best take wins. It’s a sturdy mirror and a critical reference point for a new artist doing his first EP alone in the studio, where distortions and expectations quickly undertake reality. I wanted to juxtapose the pro tools, auto tune world of popular music of 55 vocal takes cut up to make songs and performers sound perfect.

All the tracks were recorded in Late September and October at Trout Recording studio in Gouwanus area of Brooklyn. The studio is owned by Bryce Goggin (Antony and the Johnsons, Pavement, Luna, Joan As Police Woman) but the tracks were recorded by his first assistant and now my good friend Adam Sachs. Adam also was the co-producer and helped me mix all the tracks. A diamond of a guy.

The two band tracks were filled out by the "Magi" Oren Bloedow of Elysian Fields fame (a major cult NYC art rock band) on bass, tremolo guitar and organ and Tony Leone on drums.


The string arrangements are by Dana "Goldmine" Lyn. Dana arrangement's were overlaid on top of my solo performance. MADE THE ALBUM. So grateful for her. Once I heard her parts I got itchy with wonderful thoughts. She complimented the songs meticulously. 

James' debut EP is due out March 23rd and will be available everywhere.

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