Alistair James
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Alistair James

Middlesbrough, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2011

Middlesbrough, United Kingdom
Established on Jan, 2011
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This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

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"Alistair James: 'Saturday Shoppers' Teaser Review"

Last month, Middlesbrough-based rock soloist Alistair James released a teaser to his widely anticipated single ‘Saturday Shoppers’.

The 1:13 long clip gives fans a taste of what Alistair (formerly Alistair Sheerin) has been working on for his latest album which was recorded in New York and produced by Mark Plati.

Upon its beginning, the song identifies itself as a feel-good, upbeat rock song with the rhythmic drums and guitars before settling into a distinct rock sound that’s bound to be a hit with James’ extensive fan-base.

From the introduction, the backing track carries the song well and the verses and choruses lead into each other seamlessly. James’ collaboration with Plati and manager, Stephen Metcalfe, has to be applauded; from the outset, it’s nothing but flawless.Both lyrically and vocally, it’s evident that Alistair James continues to build upon his already immense talent.

The lyrics to ‘Saturday Shoppers’ are expressive, dynamic and undeniably catchy; reflecting James’ sophisticated vocal talent and writing style. Above everything else, it is ‘Saturday Shoppers’ ability to exude energy that makes it such a compelling and perfectly executed rock ‘n’ roll track.

Alistair James continues to impress with every release, and it’s exciting to see what his newest album will bring.

You can find the teaser to ‘Saturday Shoppers’ above or through the links provided on Alistair James’ Facebook Page where you can also find information on his upcoming releases. - NE Volume


"Alistair James: From Middlesbrough To The Big Apple!"

Our editor Lee Allcock spoke to Teesside singer/songwriter Alistair James (Formerly Alistair Sheerin) about his soon to be released debut album and living in New York.

Lee: You've just recorded your debut record with Mark Plati (David Bowie, The Cure, Prince) in New York. How did that come about? And what was it like working with him?

Alistair: He came over to meet me in May 2014 and we hit it off. Working closely with Mark has been fantastic. He works fast! I would go in and play these guitar ideas and we would listen and always choose the same idea. It’s a nice feeling when everyone is on the same wavelength. This whole thing has been a breeze which it should be!

Lee: Did he give you any helpful advice?

Alistair: Just to be myself. Mark seemed to go for my original idea of something; I would write a song on the guitar but change it for piano. In the end the song always ended up with me playing what it was originally intended for. For me that was advice because it made me think my first idea is the one to run with.

Lee: Has there been a transition in sound from your early works such as single 'I Don't Need You?’

Alistair: Not in terms of me changing style - it’s more rock n roll now than ever. There’s a good mix on the record but it flows. Thinking back to ‘I Don’t Need You’, the fact people still talk about it and ask me questions is amazing. I wouldn’t change a thing because that was then and this is now. But as a writer I’ve progressed- I’ve honed my craft -that’s the transition. I’ve gotten to grips with what my sound is and I’ve become myself.

Lee: What was it like living and working in New York? It must have been a culture shock being a Middlesbrough lad?

Alistair: It was my first time in New York and to make a record is something I’ll remember forever. People actually talk to you; they ask questions and next thing you’ve made a fan. I think I adapted nicely.

Lee: I hear that there's going to be a special release soon that's going to be exclusive for gigs. Tell me more…

Alistair: It’s early days yet but there will be a release. Which means I’ll be gigging and I can’t wait. Watch my Facebook page there’s some exciting things going on! - NE Volume


"Interview: Alistair James"

We had the chance to ask Alistair James some questions about his latest work and what it was like to record in New York City. Check out the interview below plus a teaser of “Saturday Shoppers” at the end!

When you came to New York City to record, was it your first time there?

It was and that added to the excitement. New York City was one of them places that I’d always wanted to visit, after seeing mafia films and hearing stories of all the great artists that have done stuff I had this romantic image of it. I must say, every part of it lived up to expectation! I stayed in the East Village, everyone was saying “wow you’re in such a cool location” it didn’t take me long to realise why they were saying that. Everything was happening around there, nightlife, places to eat, gigs, clothing stores etc. Plus it was an added bonus that Mark Plati’s (producer) studio was only four blocks from where I was staying. Another thing that really amazed me was that I never saw one police officer move anybody along, or break up fighting or even arrest someone for that matter! You just felt safe in the city which was great, there was none of this hooligan attitude, people are just happy and they actually come up to you and have a conversation. Before you know it you’ve made a new fan, it was nice to see and be apart of.

What was the experience like of recording in a city surrounded with so much music?

The experience was phenomenal, it brought out the best in my playing I think. The studio in Brooklyn where we did our basic tracking had a lot of vibe, same for Plati’s place, which is a must for a studio, you don’t want to be working somewhere where you can’t feel the music in the floor and walls. Walking in somewhere like Alice’s Restaurant which is Mark’s studio, you can feel the presence of people who have worked there like David Bowie plus many others. That may be just me and Mark would probably laugh but I feel that sort of thing and it plays a big part in my performance. Towards the end of tracking the album we had Everett Bradley who plays with Bon Jovi and The E Street Band and Cindy Mizelle who has been with The Rolling Stones and now The E Street Band come in to do backing vocals. It was amazing watching how these people work, there’s a reason they are with such big names. But coming to New York City we knew that we would be around so many people like that, its like the city is just buzzing with musicians and really well known, proficient musicians too. Not to mention that there is great gigging circuit in the city, there’s lot of cool venues and quite a few times me and my manager would finish at the studio and head to the nearest gig which was never too far away. I think that excitement of New York City and the fact its buzzing musically and with everything else can be heard on the record. You can feel the vibe of this kid coming from small town suburbia coming to the big apple and being in the thick of it.

Have you found it a challenge to get your music heard in America considering you’re from the UK?

Surprisingly its not been as hard as I thought so far. I know America is such a hard place to crack because of it’s vastness, but there are advantages to that. The main one being that there is an audience for everything so any genre of music, even if it’s not mainstream stands a good chance of radio play and gaining momentum. I suppose it helps that there are a lot of radio stations too because there are so many states. In the UK there’s only a few radio stations that dictate the trends and what’s mainstream because its not very big, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. I would love to tour the states and really go for it because judging by reactions in New York City when we were making the album and when we played it for people, it seemed people understood what I was saying and dug the songs I was writing. Who knows what the future holds but I do love America and I will always try to bring my music there no matter what.

What are you looking to gain with this new release?

It would be easy for me to sit here and say I’m hoping to gain worldwide success, but for me thats not really a good answer. Like I said i don’t know what the future holds, but where ever the release ends up is where its meant to be. I just enjoy the ride along the way and try to look forward as much as i can, keep writing songs and keep progressing as an artist. I suppose one thing is i just hope people get it and understand it. In my heart I know that people will because I’m talking about everyday issues and stories that everyone can relate to one way or another. We’ll see what’s meant to be haha.

Which was your favorite song to write and record? Why?

This is a tough one! I think my favourite one to write was probably a song called “All You Do Is Let Me Down” because I came in from where I used to work and I must have had a bad day or something was bugging me, I can’t remember specifically but I sat down and wrote the whole thing in half an hour. I had no idea where it came from or what was running through me but it was a moment I didn’t want to question I just went with it and it felt like the song wrote itself. I love it when that happens, it really is like magic! To record, now this is tough! I suppose one that sticks out in my head was a song called “Second Wave” which is a ballad. It started off as a really gentle song and really sparse in production but you could hear that it wanted to build into something sounding more epic. Every stage of recording added something cooler each time from the drums, to the guitars, the overdubs, the vocals it just got better and better and I think we hit the nail on the head by the time it was finished.

What can we expect from you once the release is out? Will you be touring in the UK and US?

I’m expecting to be playing a lot of shows, starting with the UK. I’m hoping to make it back over to the US because to tour there would be amazing. There’s a lot of exciting things going on here at the moment and I just want to run it up the flagpole and play to as many people as I can and spread the word wherever the music takes me!

Anything else you would like to add about yourself, the release, etc.?

The release will have a song from my record cut in NYC plus two songs not on the record, so it will be a real EP. To keep up to date on everything from releases to gigs I would say the best place to visit would be my Facebook and Twitter pages, otherwise I’ll see you down the road somewhere! - HiFi Noise


"Interview: Alistair James"

Alistair James has had a name change, toured with the likes of Miles Kane and The Enemy, and gone off to New York to record an album. I caught up with him to talk about his new single, ‘Saturday Shoppers’, and to see what could be next for the Middlesbrough singer.



MusicDash: It’s hard to find information about you when searching ‘Alistair James’ – why the name change from Sheerin?



Alistair: I just felt the time was right. Throughout my whole time of gigging and playing and meeting new people, they always ask the same question; “oh are you related to Ed?” Obviously I’m not because the spellings aren’t even the same, and eventually you run out of jokes like “why yes I’m his uncle actually, a very young uncle”, but it was something that I’d thought about for a long time, and then when I went to New York to make the record I felt it was the right time to go with “Alistair James” and have my own identity completely, and not be tied to anyone else. The good thing is it’s still my real name because “James” is my middle name. Thankfully, it hasn’t taken people long to catch on either; I’ve had messages and comments from people saying they prefer it, which is nice to hear. To me it sounds a bit more rock n roll too haha.



MusicDash: I love your track ‘Saturday Shoppers’ – the opening riff is very happy go lucky pop, and then it gravitates into more Jake Bugg-esque songwriting. What were the inspirations for the song, and what artists would you say have most greatly influenced your work?



Alistair: Thank you, glad you like it. The inspirations behind that song came from a number of places, the lyrics are very much inspired by the style of Ray Davies of The Kinks – the way I wanted to put it across with the characters who are all everyday people in an English setting. I suppose you can hear that in the music too with the way it’s performed, it’s got an aggression in there even though it can sound, like you say, “happy go lucky”. I love a great deal of music, I listen to a ton of stuff, there’s so much out there to take in and all you have to do is turn on the radio or search YouTube. But the people that were the main source of inspiration behind my writing for this record you could say, are The Kinks, The Who, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie. Whenever I was looking for a way to go or an idea to try, those artists and bands always seemed to show me the way for these songs and seemed to come to mind. Bands and artists like that are always going to be a constant source of inspiration too, they have such a legacy and there’s always something different to hear each time you put one of their records on.



MusicDash: Are you finished recording your debut album? Can we expect more songs similar to ‘Saturday Shoppers’?



Alistair: I am, we wrapped up a couple of weeks of ago in New York City, I’m back in the UK now. There are some songs like Saturday Shoppers, there are also a couple of ballads on there and some different kind of songs that have their own groove I suppose. There’s a good mix on there but the main thing is it flows as a record and each song has a good chorus and a message to go with it that delivers, in my opinion. There was a number of ways the record could have gone; I had a lot of songs written and it was a big debate for a while whether to make it more ballad based, more acoustic based, more piano led, or out and out rock n roll. I think for a first record we got the balance right and luckily I’ve had really good reactions to it so far. I’m super excited about it!



MusicDash: What are the differences between working in New York and England? Any difference in writing inspirations?



Alistair: Well I wrote all of the record in England, however I did do some writing in New York when we had a few days off and the songs just seemed to pour out of me, but I never like to look into that too much because it’s something I never want to go away. All I can say is that there are a lot more people in New York than where I live in England so there are more characters to write about, but saying that, you find that people’s lives are very similar – everyone goes to work, play their parts and want to live their lives no matter if that’s here or New York. Making the record was a breeze as it should be! It didn’t take us long to record and mixing was under way before we knew it. Being in New York was exciting because it was my first time there and the fact that on my first time I’d gone to make a record made it even more exciting. I think you can hear that in the songs too, a small town kid going to the big apple and being amongst the thick of it, it was great! The people around me had a great work ethic and delivered to the highest degree; not that we would have let them do anything less haha! It would be interesting to make a record in England one time and see how the two differ, but for now I’m just enjoying the ride, and the experience carries on being exciting.



MusicDash: What was touring with Miles Kane and The Enemy like? Any stories, or anything you’ve learnt about the music business or touring in general?



Alistair: It was great, I think every band and artist longs to tour with the bands they love as a support act. I will say that I had some of the best gigs whilst on tour with Miles Kane. Birmingham O2 Academy has been my favourite gig to date, I was completely unknown but I think word had spread about me supporting and then walking on early the venue was full; it was a trip that I never wanted to come down from. I don’t think I heard any stories, but I learnt a lot from Tom Clarke of The Enemy because I’d been working with him before I toured with The Enemy. He’s a nice guy and loves music and took a big interest in my songwriting, we had a good laugh and working with him helped me with my craft. The music business is just a business you learn from everyday, it goes on and on and it’s exciting and frustrating. The one thing I’ve learnt from it all is you only get out of it what you put in. In other words, you have to get off your arse and go out there and do stuff for yourself and make a record, play to people etc. It all spirals into something else and you’ve got to play each show like it’s your last and writing only improves the more you do it. Eventually you meet the people you are meant to be with and they get you to the places you need to be. But, it takes time – a lot of time – and you can’t rush or be impatient. Just enjoy the ride!



MusicDash: What’s next for you after the release of your album? Any tours on the cards?



Alistair: Well the album won’t be released for a little while, but there will be another release which involves Saturday Shoppers from the album. There’s going to be an EP with 3 tracks on it, two of which aren’t on the album. I don’t believe in trying to sell a song over and over, people need value for money and as an artist you owe it to people to give them more material. I will be playing gigs too, me and my band are rehearsing and getting everything right before we go out on the road. It must be right! All I will say like I say everywhere is keep an eye on my Facebook for info regarding releases and gigs. Coming very soon!

Check out a teaser for Alistair’s single ‘Saturday Shoppers’ here. - MusicDash


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Alistair James is leading the escape from the mediocre to the Promised Land.
Believing in his own rock 'n' roll bible Alistair has a voice; a message; a sound; and he wants the world to hear it! 
After working in menial jobs for peanuts, Alistair writes songs celebrating those tough characters keeping on through hard times and he does it all, as Tom Robinson, BBC Radio 6 music says, whilst, “[delivering] a delicious pop chorus!” 
Alistair has been described as a “Phenomenal Talent!” (Miles Kane) and “A fucking genius!” (Tom Clarke – Enemy). After months on nationwide tours spent supporting The Enemy and Miles Kane, Alistair has once again been flexing those song writing muscles and has been “Writing up a storm - You can hear the Joy in his playing!” (Mark Plati Producer - David Bowie, The Cure etc)
Together with guidance from Manager Steve Metcalfe and the late Alan Wills of Deltasonic Records, an 11-track album, recorded in New York City and produced by Mark Plati is ready to be unleashed on the masses.

Band Members