We’re always in the market for new talent and we hit the jackpot when we discovered Lonesound.
Lonesound aka James Ewers, has been releasing self-funded EPs over the past 12 months with his latest, The Great Outdoors Part 3, being recently released. With the support of fans through PledgeMusic he’s been able to record and release three EPs and attract attention for his music.
We caught up with James to find out more about him, talk about being an independent artist and find out how important social media is for marketing his music.
Hi James. How are you? Where does this email Q&A find you?
I am well thank you. This Q&A finds me at home in Dalston, London. The sun has returned and I’m just back from taking Bruce, my new puppy out for a walk. Having a dog is great encouragement to get out of the house first thing and get the creative cogs turning.
You’ve just released part 3 of The Great Outdoors EP series. What can people expect from it?
It’s a very honest collection of songs that were written around the time of my engagement on new year’s day. Compared to my first two EP’s, it’s quite traditional sounding, singer songwriter stuff. I didn’t feel the urge to experiment with sounds on this one, I just wanted to create a bed that would support what the vocal was saying and would be timeless, so might still sound fresh in years to come when my partner and I look back on this period, hopefully fondly!
Where did the idea for The Great Outdoors EP series come from?
The first song I wrote after my band split up was called The Great Outdoors. It was initially inspired by the film Into The Wild and the story of Christopher McCandless, but resonated with my feeling of newfound independence, so the song took on a more personal meaning. After taking a year out to produce other artists I got the performing itch again but had lost some of my previous confidence in this time out. In order to give myself time to find confidence and focus, and to release the songs I had been writing, I decided to release three EP’s over the period of a year. There are definite links and references to the Great Outdoors throughout all the EP’s, and there is a definite musical progression as I have tried different approaches in the pursuit of a focus for what follows from here onwards.
Give us an insight into your songwriting process. Where do you start and how do put a song together?
I usually begin with a melody and chord hook and a lyrical phrase. Often this simple idea will develop no further until life experience gives me inspiration to pursue it. A lot of these songs were produced (in the record making sense) whilst being written, so I was arranging and demoing the backing tracks and getting the feel for the final record before I’d finished the basic song. It can be very inspiring, but it can also be quite misleading. It’s taken me the year of doing this to want to do things differently for my next album, where I want to have all the songs finished on an acoustic guitar, before I arrange them into something else.
You’ve been funding your music through PledgeMusic and you surpassed your goal impressively. Why did you decide to use that platform?
I wanted to self release a physical CD of a collection of the three EP’s, make videos, pay for some promo etc, and I know how expensive running your own label can be. The PledgeMusic format does a great thing in that as well as helping you raise this money in advance, it galvanises your fan base. You know who’s willing to put their money where their mouth is and pre-order your album before it’s even fully written. That then gives you a good idea of how many CDs and merch you need to press up, and you’re also more inclined to give these people back more for their belief.
Being an independent artist can be really hard but it can also be really rewarding. How has your experience been so far?
Yes it’s been both! I have to put in such a large amount of time in to release the music at a level where I feel I can do no more without backing. This obviously takes away from writing time and headspace, but thats the trade off. Its incredibly rewarding when for example I see my music in the iTunes ‘Editor’s Picks’ section amongst massive names, and when I wake up to find I’ve sold CD’s from my web-shop to someone on the other side of the world while I slept. Of course it still seems that without a relatively big backing from some kind of label, there is only so far and through so many channels you can reach, and it’s a real challenge for me to not let the promo side overshadow the creative side too much.
How big a part has social media played in getting your music out there and finding an audience?
I’d say it plays quite a big part, but no where near what you’re told to believe it does. I still believe in having a good website and a mailing list. The music industry’s obsession with Facebook seems a little fickle to me. It certainly doesn’t represent how many people are actually going to buy your music. Day to day, Facebook and Twitter have been useful platforms for me to show my news bulletins, though I find it sickening how I now have to pay Facebook at least £3 every time I want to make sure my followers see a post. I imagine it won’t be long before the next big social platform becomes the one us artists should all be using rather than creating.
Where did the name Lonesound come from?
I was thinking about the man with no name, and the lone rider through the desert. That was the image I had when looking for name, obviously a reflection of my new position as a solo performer. As with all the best ideas, I think this one came to me in the loo!
When can we see you playing live over the next few months?
I’m have a couple of gigs booked at Westfield, Shepherds Bush, put on by Emerging Icons (16th & 25th August), and I’m supporting Jay Brannan at the Borderline in Soho (16th September). Any more gigs I book will be up on my website.
What do you have coming up before Christmas?
I’m trying to free up my schedule as much as I can for the rest of the year to focus on writing my first full solo album. I am also thinking of doing a small UK tour in the winter to support the great Outdoors EP’s. Just me and a guitar, travelling around Britain, perhaps with a roadie to carry my guitar and keep me company!
For more information on Lonesound and to buy The Great Outdoors EP series head over to http://lonesound.bandcamp.com/music.