Too rock’n’roll for the old dudes – Interview with Hippie James
Born and raised on the music in his father’s epic collection, Hippie James has been playing the guitar since he can remember it. With a heart for the simple, but catch and memorable rock’n’roll tunes he’s living a creative live most of us can feel dear – to create, express yourself and make music to feel great about and hopefully be remembered for it. Here’s all the rest he shared in our interview.
Hello! Tell the world about yourself. How did you grow up to become the musician you are today?
Well, when I was little my dad had a GIGANTIC record collection and I would spend hours browsing through them. Looking at the covers, and of course listening to them over and over again. I got to obsorb all this great stuff – everything from hair metal to Motown. But one album cover (as well as the record inside) grabbed my attention and that was KISS’ “Destroyer”. I became a certified KISS freak.
Then in 1996 I got to see what I could only dream of before… The original KISS in make up in a packed to the ceiling sold out Charelston Civic Center. And from right then on I can’t remember wanting to do anything but play guitar, sing and write songs.
Introduce your current musical projects and tell us what makes each one special for you!
My current project, I guess, would be just continuing to record and write. My latest song “Get Me the Hell Out of Here” did really well on Drooble. Every different project feels special, each one has its own issues and joys. It’s like having kids, you know?
You have been playing music for a long while! How do you find the drive and inspiration to keep going all this time?
I’ve played since I was 14 or 15, I guess that has been awhile. Wow where does time go? As to where I find inspiration, I find it all over the place. It could be a movie, a dream, the news, a song I’ve heard 10,000 times before or just something somebody tells me. I’m always looking for interesting phrases, something that I think will be catchy. And as to what keeps me going, its all I know to do really, so I might as well do it I reckon.
How is your local music scene in your perspective? Do you feel like you belong there?
The local scene here is almost nonexistent and I definitely feel I do not belong here. The older generation here play bluegrass or some kind of traditional type music and the young guys all want to play death metal. So, I’m “too rock’n’roll” for the old dudes and “not metal enough” for the kids. I don’t mind being the weirdo though, its kinda my thing.
What is your all-time favorite record and how did it change you as an artist?
Hmm that is a tough one. It would either be KISS’ “Hotter than Hell” or The Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls”. Both those records had a big impact on me and the way I play. Both are just full to the brim with great, simple, catchy and amazing songs.
What are your favorite software and hardware tools for music production?
I use Mixcraft Pro Studio 8. I’ve tried a few other DAWs but I’ve always come back to Mixcraft. It’s the simplest and works very smoothly so you don’t have to be a computer programmer to record.
What is your songwriting process like?
Well sometimes I sit down with an acoustic guitar and strum until I find something cool and then write lyrics or maybe I’ll come up with a couple cool lines and figure out some basic chords to go along with it.
Other times I’ll record to click or a drum loop, do guitar, bass and leads before I ever write any words at all. Then I just listen to the song and let it tell me what it is. That has worked out very well for me quite a few times.
Out of all the live shows you played, which one was the most memorable, and why?
A band I was in a million years ago played a local festival once around the 4th of July. Our drummer was friends with the pyro guy and he “accidentally” set some fireworks off during the big ending of our last song. His boss was about to kill him but it made us feel like big shots.
What is your biggest musical goal?
My goal has changed over the years. In the beginning of course it was to be a big time rock star. But that hasn’t panned out. So I guess my goal is now to make as much music as I can, get it out there to be hear, and be remembered for it someday.
How has being on Drooble helped you as a musician?
Drooble has helped me LOADS! The thing I love about it most is all you have to do is make a post and say “Looking for a drummer/lead guitarist/keyboard player/etc.” and usually with 5 minutes you have 10 people ready to help or are at least interested.
It’s a great community full of friendly and helpful (as well as talented) musicians. And Drooble is the absolute best place to post your music if you want feedback from people who actually listen.