Listen to a single song by alt-folk artist Andrew St. James and you’ll find that his widsom extends far beyond his 18 years. His debut album, Doldrums, is nearly overflowing with clever lines and lyrical intricacies comparable to those crafted by some of the genre’s most seasoned players. St. James answered a few questions about his new album and the path that led to its creation. Stream Doldrums below.
How would you describe the album?
I’d call it different. Many of the songs have a very old classic sound to them, but there are also elements that are very new and different. I hope/think this album is bringing back a consciousness that is hard to find in music today.
You’re known for your great lyrics. What’s your approach to writing lyrics, and writing songs in general?
There are two ways that I tend to match lyrics with music. Usually I will have chosen a chord progression, and I’ll play it over and over again and sing gibberish free style until I have time to sit down with a pad of paper and write it out. It’s surprising how much of my nonsensical freestyle stuff ends up in my songs. I also often take poems that I have written and turn them into songs. Over all, I think of my lyrics as poems, for I try my best to not put lyrics in a song that would not stand alone in a book.
Who are your songwriting heroes?
Bob Dylan is a big one. Perhaps the most obvious when you listen to my music. Same with Jerry Garcia/ Robert Hunter. But secretly I’ve always been in awe of Motown songwriters like Brian Holland and others. That shit’s just so well written.
You’re a young guy. How different was your music three years ago?
Well.. I was an organ player for a psychedelic-alt rock band. I wrote and sang lead for them, we were pretty terrible.. Being 15 years old and all. But the songs were all quite good. It was a different vibe then I’m on now, although I did take some psychedelic qualities from that music and it shows on the album here and there. If we’d stuck together I’m sure we would have made something out of ourselves.
How did you end up on your label?
Well I am being put out Independently through my producer Jim Greer’s label, Fortune Records. I met Jim in Berkeley, California through strange happenings when I was say, 16. That’s where it all began.
What’s a song on your album you’re particularly proud of, and why?
I am extra stoked about the new version of “I’m All About You.” It’s one of the softer songs on the album, but its real genuine. We had recorded it on my EP, about a year ago, and the song behind it really didn’t capture the feeling that the lyrics conveyed. This version is spot on.