James E. Gray - Lovely Day on Earth


It’s Monday (the last Monday in October, how did that happen!) – and that means it’s time again for Track of the Week! Here’s BIMM London’s James E. Gray with ‘Lovely Day on Earth’

What was the inspiration behind your track?
I spent a year in Manchester last year, and, during that time, I noticed a different type of beauty in the surroundings. Very dark and industrial. I started to question fundamental human emotions and how they are so heavily influenced by our perception of events and our surroundings. So, throughout the track I move between a negative and a positive frame of mind. It has both a historical and a contemporary context. Musically, I was in the height of a Beatles obsession, so I wanted to take a similar approach to them with elements of the arrangement and production. My previous tracks have tended to feature many layers and different sounds, so I made a conscious effort to keep it stripped back.

What did your songwriting process involve?

It was a very fast process. I sat at the piano and I instantly started playing the verse chord progression. The melody came out of my mouth straight away as I was playing the chords. When writing the lyrics, I sat on my sofa, looking out of my window, which, at the time, overlooked the Manchester city skyline, with a David Bowie poster and neon lightning strike light in the corner of my eye beside the window. From there, the words came out almost as an instant stream of consciousness. I rarely heavily edit my lyrics. Usually the final result is the first thing that I write down.

What things do you do differently to other bands?

It would be naive to claim that I do anything that absolutely no other band or artist does or has done, so I’ll just name something that feels important to me, that I know isn’t always especially important to everyone. I place a huge emphasis on the harmonic content (chords and melodies) of the song, almost composing it with a classical ethic. I want my songs to be played back as an instrumental piano piece and still sound unique and beautiful.

Can you describe your sound in three words?
Cosmic, melodic, peculiar.

Have you channeled any artist in particular on this track?
The Beatles and Radiohead

What’s the best thing about studying at BIMM?
Giving me the opportunity to spend all of my time improving and creating new music.

What’s the best bit of music advice you’ve been given?
There’s not one specific piece of advice, but after listening to so many people say something similar, it would be to work hard but stay patient. Don’t rush things, but don’t stand still.

What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on a new track which should be ready before the end of the year. I’m also looking forward to playing these songs live in the near future!

POSTED ON: October 30, 2017
  • London