Credit: James Perryman
Learn more about me
Credit: James Perryman
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is James Perryman and I’m from Acton in West London. I’ve been playing music for a few years. My songs are pretty broad, but it loosely falls under Alt-Country/Americana. I’m into everything from Mastodon down to Take That, and I love a whole lot of country in between. I grew up listening to and playing a lot of rock music. My dad had a great record collection too and played me loads of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Band etc. About 10 years ago I met an Australian brother and sister called Angus & Julia Stone and started playing with them. They were incredibly different to all the musicians (and people) I knew at the time, and they kinda broadened my outlook. They took me back to Australia to do a tour with them and it was a cool experience. Around that time I’d started writing more intimate acoustic songs and my rock band was breaking up, so I started playing acoustically by myself and it kinda evolved from there.
There are a lot of emerging artists in the UK right now. What sets you apart from the rest? I hope it’s the songs that set me apart. All the songs I write come out of a personal place or heavy emotions and experiences. I’m not sure I could ever be relevant or look cool in a photo shoot (just look at my Instagram and you’ll see). I’m just here to sing these very personal songs and hope they connect with people.
What’s your back-story?
As I was saying all the songs I write come out of deep feelings and experiences. Some of them are about love and break ups, some are about death, some are about mental health and some heavy stuff that was happening around my family a few years ago. I just feel this stuff and the only way to process it is to write songs about it. People who come to the shows say they really connect with that. It’s cool and humbling. My last single ‘Why do you only love me when I’m stoned?’ was a bit misleading. Everyone thinks it’s about me. It’s kinda about modern media’s obsession with celebrities’ lives falling apart; whether it’s drink/drugs or their marriages. If they get better and get sorted then the people seem to get bored of them and move on to the next one. Unfortunately in some cases they don’t get better and we lose them.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m just about to release my new EP ‘The Narrow Gate’ on 16 April 2018. It’s been a few years since my last EP, but I became a dad to two boys and they’ve been keeping me a little busy. My band collectively had five kids since the last EP, so it slowed things down somewhat. Also I’ve been playing with The Honey Ants, which has been a great experience, and maybe got me a little distracted. Now I’ve got a bit of a backlog of songs to share.
What's the first song you remember hearing?
Probably something by The Beatles; maybe Long and Winding Road. My dad had a big record collection with lots of cool stuff.
You're in a Karaoke Bar - What's your go to song?
Islands in the Stream or something by Johnny Cash. I’d love to do Smooth Sailing by QOTSA, but I don’t think many of the karaoke DJs are carrying that song.
What was the first gig you went to?
My dad took me to The Black Crowes at the Royal Albert Hall, and Fairport Convention in the same year. I can’t remember which was first. Maybe Fairport.
Which song do you wish you'd written?
Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash. That song is a beast.
Which song changed your life?
There have been so many! In my teens it would have been anything off In Utero by Nirvana. A few years later when I first heard Skinny Love by Bon Iver I was like ‘What is this?’! That whole album is amazing and was so fresh.
Paper Aeroplane by Angus & Julia Stone would be up there. I’d offered to play with them before hearing any of their music. I remember putting that on in my bedroom and doing a double-take. Like I said, it was nothing like any of the music around me at the time and I was like ‘yeah, I definitely want to play with these guys’.
Which song would you like played at your funeral?
Man, that’s a hard one. I’d wanna make people weep. Haha. Maybe ‘In My Life’ by The Beatles. Maybe ‘The Wolf is Loose’ by Mastodon, if I wanted to scare them all out of the church.
What song is stuck in your head right now?
Long Way To Go by The Lone Bellow. It’s also in my wife’s and our son’s head. Everyone’s walking around the house singing it. It’s a great song.
What was the first Album you bought?
I can’t remember. Possibly In Utero or Blind Melon. Although it could have been Guns N’ Roses or Take That. It’s an odd pairing, but I was massively into both as an 11 year old.
Which song made you want to play music?
Probably Serve The Servants by Nirvana. I saw it on an MTV live show and although I’d been listening to music for years, when I heard that I was like “Ooh, I wanna do that”.
“This is pure singer songwriting…” - W21 Music.
“Stunning… James has proved with the intricacy and quality of his beautifully-crafted new single that he is certainly one to watch with interest in the world of Americana/Folk.” - Your Life In A Song.
“Perryman's Lyric substance is nicely spiced, paired with the right music... A tasty exploration.” - Radio Indie Freeform.
James Perryman is an alt-country singer-songwriter hailing from West London who recently released his third EP, The Narrow Gate.
He has been compared to artists such as Ryan Adams, Father John Misty & The Lone Bellow, due to a broad style that ranges from intimate acoustic songs through to full-on foot stomping rock.
Perryman is best known for his work with Australian siblings Angus & Julia Stone and London duo The Honey Ants. This led directly to the recruiting of his own band featuring Tom Quillfeldt (bass) and Rob Pennel (drums). The trio’s early work can be heard on the Live at the Wilmington Arms EP.
Vocalist Olivia Coghill soon joined the three-piece, resulting in the subsequent EPs: To Whom it May Concern and Consumed by the View.
Following an extended break (in which Perryman had two sons) the single Why Do You Only Love Me When I’m Stoned? was release, accompanied by a video that included the stunning artwork of Thalie Stephan. This paved the way for a broader sound and concepts. Says James: “I just wanted to go bigger, better and more beautiful this time around. After all, it’s been a while…”
The new EP The Narrow Gate was released on 16 April 2018 and is co-produced by The Honey Ants frontman, John Grimsey.