BREAK-UPS are horrible things, but like many musicians before him Warrnambool export Brady James has been able to turn some tough times into beautiful melodies.
You wouldn’t know it from the first track of his new EP Dead Language – an anthemic upbeat number called Under The Sun that recalls his childhood in Dennington and Warrnambool with nostalgic warmth and a hint of indie-folk.
But heartache rings through the rest of the release, stemming from a time a few years ago when the end of relationship meant James walked away from a possible musical career in the US.
“I had plans to move there but that fell apart and so did a relationship,” he said.
“When it fell apart I was left with no choice but to leave those plans there and start up something fresh. That whole experience influenced (Dead Language). You can hear a lot of the story (in the songs).”
James, who is now based in Melbourne, said the title referred to a number of things, such as the things that go unspoken and “a dialogue that’s starting to go missing” where people don’t want to talk about the bad things.
He said people often referred to his lyrics as ‘raw’ but he preferred to think of them as honest – like “more of a diary entry”.
“I think people are sometimes afraid to be honest about the bad side of life,” James said.
Dead Language came together over an idyllic week on the Gold Coast with producers Forrester Savell and PT Parcel, who whittled James’ shortlist of 10 songs down to the four on the EP.
The Aria-nominated Savell made his name working with the likes of heavy rock bands The Butterfly Effect, Karnivool, and Dead Letter Circus, but Savell, Parcel, James and a studio band that included Wolfmother keyboardist Ian Peres crafted a poppier and more radio-friendly sound than Savell’s usual output.
“I think we were all looking for a breath of fresh air,” James said.
“It was an experiment. There were a lot of different sounds and samples and it was a really fun process and very creative. It taught me a lot about music. I didn’t go up there with any predisposed ideas – I was just up for an adventure.”
Key track Empty Handed is at #29 on the triple j Unearthed charts. It was on the Unearthed site that James was discovered and paired with rapper Allday in 2013, resulting in the hit song Girl In The Sun, which has had over 800,000 views on YouTube.
James is looking to put a band together to tour the EP but in the meantime he’ll be sticking to solo acoustic performances, including a launch at The Loft in Warrnambool on October 21 in support of Jack & The Kids.