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NAS 10 Questions with James Hawken

Updated: Feb 15

[Interview Number 61]

This time, we get to know James Hawken. His brand new track "Dream Away" is featured in the New Artist Spotlight Family of Playlists.

Link To New Artist Spotlight Playlists:

Okay, let’s get into the Ten questions for James Hawken!

𝟭. Where are you from and what is your hobby?

I'm from Cornwall which is a small Celtic region of Great Britain. Although we've been slowly Anglicised over the last couple of centuries we still celebrate our language and culture through various means, including music. My main hobby, like everybody else who's answered these questions, is music. But we also keep horses and enjoy riding across the rugged and beautiful moors around here.

𝟮. How did your get into music?

This will show my age! My first real memory of being totally moved and excited by music was when my mother brought home the Beatles' Rubber Soul album, I must have been 4 years old. But it wasn't just the great music, it was also the image on the album sleeve, I hadn't seen people who looked like that before, we didn't have a television at that point and there was something extremely exciting about the Beatles' look. When I was 7 my parents somehow managed to get a piano and I must've showed a bit of interest as I then started classical piano lessons. At the age of 12 I started doing my own thing on the piano and became a semi pro at 14 playing in a rock 'n' roll band, bootlace tie and all.

𝟯. Who are your biggest influences?

As for songwriting, it has to be The Beatles. I had the book 'Beatles Complete' which contained the music score for all their songs, I wore it out! I played their songs on the piano everyday for years. But as for a pianist/keyboard player it has to be Rick Wakeman. He proved to me that you could be an epic solo rock keyboard player and you didn't need guitars. I copied his ideas a lot when I started writing music. These days I'm influenced by Max Richter, Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm, who have proved that you don't need to be a virtuoso on the piano and you can create beautiful, interesting and engaging sonic textures and patterns in a minimal way.

4. What are you goals in the music industry?

To enjoy every minute of being able to create. Don't worry about the numbers, do what you love and the rest will follow.

5. If you could choose a location to perform at, what would it be?

I am absolutely done with gigging! I'm well and truly over it! Perhaps, if I have to gig, it would be at a venue where everybody is sober and actually want to listen.

6. What is your all-time favorite song?

Paranoid Android' by Radiohead. How they actually got all those ideas in one coherent track I'll never know. And how did Jonny Greenwood get those sounds out of his guitar? Mindblowing!

7. Most embarrassing moment?

I was showing some friends my horse in a field, which was at the other side of the field. I said to them to wait there while I go and get him. Once I got to the horse I decided to put the head collar on him and get on him bare back and gallop down to my friends. Which I did! Only for the horse to come to a sudden halt about 10 feet away from my friends allowing me to leave the horses back, fly through the air and land at their feet on the ground. The thing was, they didn't really react, it was just Jim being a prat again!

8. Proudest accomplishment?

Being made a bard of the Cornish Gorsedh. You'll have to Google it. It is an honour to be asked to be a bard and it involves dressing up in blue robes and going through an initiation ceremony. You are being honoured for your work on behalf of Celtic Cornwall. I was made a bard because I passed Cornish language exams with distinction.

9. What is something about you that might surprise someone who knows you the best?

I get really nervous before gigs and the older I get the worse it is. So much so that driving on the way to gigs I wish the car would break down so I don't have to do it.

𝟭𝟬. What is your dream collaboration?

It would be with a guy called Christian Henson. He co-founded Spitfire Audio and makes brilliant orchestral samples/software instruments available to the public free of charge. The sounds he can get with his sampling/production techniques is amazing.

Stream "Dream Away" now

and follow his socials

You will not be disappointed!

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