I heard about singer/songwriter James Morton and his Indie/Rock music through a friend. Originally from Pithara, James now lives and studies in Perth. He plays both originals and covers and his Perth gigs have included the Publican and the Causeway. You can have a listen to his awesome cover of “Bird on the Buffalo,” here head to his Facebook or Youtube to find out more.
When did you first get into singing and songwriting?
I first got into it about 3 years ago when I first picked up a guitar. My close friend at the time was already quite into it his music which I guess rubbed off on me a bit. I’d always enjoyed having a sing along to tunes on the radio so once I got good enough to sing and play; it just became my favorite pastime.
What drew you to your rock/indie style?
I’d have to say the music I listen to.
Musically, who would you say is your biggest influence?
I grew up listening to the likes of Cat Stevens and Elvis Costello but the band that really made me decide to learn guitar in the first place was The Beautiful Girls. I could listen to their entire discography over and over.
Where do you write most of your songs?
There isn’t a set place I write my songs. I’m quite lazy with it really, if an idea for a song comes to mind I’ll generally write down or record what I can and then muck around with it when I can be bothered. I do enjoy writing in open yet isolated areas, for example, I wrote my song ‘Space Cadet’ when I was back home in Pithara on the tee off platform at an abandoned golf course.
What inspires your lyrics?
If I make up a sweet sounding melody, that’s usually what influences my lyrics, I’ll play it over and over until it makes me think or reminds me of something. It generally relates to what’s going on in my life at that time, I wrote a song called ‘Mr Chinaman’ which is about arguing with my landlord about allowing me to keep my dog.
You also cover lots of songs. How do you choose which songs to cover?
With a few exceptions I cover songs I like or listen to. The only reason I play is because it’s fun as hell. I think that’s why I’m so lazy with writing my own stuff, I enjoy playing other songs so much that I don’t really think about it.
I love your cover “My mind is an Echo Chamber” by The Beautiful Girls. What is your favourite original or cover song to play and why?
My favorite original to play would probably be ‘Now You’re Gone’. I don’t play it very often because it’s a bit sad but I like how people think they know what it’s about before I play it. Without really listening to the lyrics and only hearing the title, most people think it’s a song about a girl when really it’s a tribute to my mum who passed away. It was also the first song I ever wrote.
There are many songs I like to cover but one that’s really fun to do live is ‘Tik Tok’ by Kesha. Not one of the songs I’d listen to in my spare time but I just think there’s something funny about singing about getting cruck and boys trying to touch my junk. Always a crowd pleaser and it doesn’t actually sound half bad!
Where’s your favourite place to gig and why?
I love going back home and playing for a few beers at the Pithara Tavern. It’s where I first got pushed into playing in front of people and they all know me there.
What advice would you give to young artists looking to start gigging?
In the words of Nike, Just Do It! Once you do a few gigs, it shakes the nerves off and gets really addictive.