About James Perry
James Perry is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been writing and performing music for most of his life on his own and with a variety of musical projects. In addition to his solo pursuits, he is also a member of Oakland, California-based industrial band Deathline International. "I really enjoy working with a collaborative band as well as being a control freak, and being able to write and record my own songs exactly the way I want them to be. Being in Deathline and having my own solo project allows me to do both," he says.
In 2006 James recorded his first solo album "Stuck" and offered it up as a free Internet download. "Stuck" was a stripped-down, hastily recorded screed against consumer culture. It was recorded as a National Solo Album Month (NaSoAlMo) project, the rules of which mandate that the entire album be written and recorded by one person in a single month, with no outside help. "It was an experiment. I made a deliberate decision to avoid certain elements I use in most of my music on that project," James explains. "I didn't use a lot of heavy guitar or electronics. While I ultimately decided that wasn't the direction I wanted to take, that project was a good growth experience for me, and I grew as a songwriter and a lyricist."
Unlike his previous release, "Now You're Gone" took nearly a year and a half to write and record. James explains: "The album actually started as another NaSoAlMo project, but at the end of the month, I decided I just couldn't declare it finished. It was too good and too important to me to rush. So I kept working. I've decided that working under NaSoAlMo's tight constraints works great for me as a writer because it really forces me to focus, but it's no way to record an album."
"Now You're Gone" is James' take on the "breakup album". "I knew I was going to write about this relationship sooner or later," James says. "I decided this was the right time... I wanted to write again, and everything ended long ago enough that I had a bit more perspective on it, but not so far away that I was emotionally detached." The album is a multi-layered and passionate paean to love, loss, and heartache, and features recurring musical and lyrical themes. James invoked many musical styles to convey the range of emotions he went through towards the latter days of the relationship, ranging from dreamy orchestra to pop vocal harmonies to harsh metal.
The album was entirely self-produced and recorded at James' home studio. James enlisted a slew of local talent to help achieve his creative vision. "I'm pretty self-sufficient in the studio as a musician, but it was great to be able to bring in a lot of really talented people I know who could do certain things I either can't do or can't do as well as they could," James explains. "It gave me the best of both worlds: I was able to maintain control over my music, but still make use of other people's talents, ideas, and perspective. It's always good to work with other people because everyone sees and hears things differently and brings something new to the table. It also made the vocal harmonies a lot richer to bring in more vocalists than just myself." Most of the contributors were people James had been in bands with before. "It was a lot of fun to work with my old friends again, and I think working on this project was a positive experience for everyone," James says. "I'm very fortunate to know such talented people, and grateful for all the help I got on this project."
"Now You're Gone" also marks James' first foray into music video, with the video for "Waiting". James explains how the video came to be: "I had Corinne (Pickett) over to record some vocals for the song, and I mentioned to her that I was interested in getting a video made. I'd never done a video before and thought it would be a cool new artistic endeavor, and since I didn't know if I'd be performing live very much, I wanted some means of presenting my music visually. Corinne told me about a film director friend of hers named Mareesa Stertz. She showed me Mareesa's demo reel and I was totally impressed, and Forbidden Love was so close to what I already have in mind for my video aesthetically." James got in touch with Mareesa, and Mareesa wrote the video around the song with James' input. "It's a little different take on the lyrics than what I would have done if I knew how to make a video, but that's part of the beauty of art, it can be interpreted so many ways anyway. I'm really pleased with the results. I feel funny when people congratulate me for the video, when Mareesa and the team she assembled did most of the work, but I'm very proud of it."
Guest musicians on "Now You're Gone":
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