To describe a band as electronic, alternative and rock seems to take the piss a little and the catch cry of ‘why not just use all the genres’? Stateless indeed live up to their name. The Leeds based quintet do honestly evoke all of the genres mentioned and then some.
Chris James spoke to Music Feeds earlier in the week about their new album Matilda, changing to the awesome Ninjatune record label and touring with DJ Shadow…
Music Feeds: Why have you changed your song writing process in your new Album, Matilda?
Chris James: My style just evolved naturally, I decided to push the boundaries of what I was writing about and I’d also had a lot more life experiences in the mean time. I’d toured the world with DJ Shadow which had a massive influence on the writing that I was doing. I took elements from different parts of the world and the experiences that I’d had whilst on that tour.
MF: What was it like to tour with DJ Shadow?
CJ: We toured 20 different countries, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done touring wise. It was a really exciting time going on stage every night. It gave me a taste for touring and I liked that lifestyle, I’m really happy on the road.
On that tour I was out there as a guest. When I’m with Stateless I’m with my friends which is more fun in a way because we have a laugh and party after the shows but on the Shadow tour I was with a lot of people I didn’t know very well, it was a bit more challenging in that way, I was slightly out of my comfort zone. And because it was Shadow’s tour I didn’t have to do the press or promo stuff, I’d wake up in a different city every morning and have chance to look around the city and take it all in, it was like a holiday really, I’d just show up for sound check.
You’re in really close proximity with people whilst on tour, in Asia and Australia we were in hotels all the time but in USA we were on a tour bus and literally slept 16 inches away from people that you barely know in bunk beds but it can also be really fun.
MF: Where are you heading on your Stateless tour?
CJ: The Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, France. Hopefully we’ll head to Australia and New Zealand too, we’d really love to!
MF: Do you have any creative input when it comes to the video, in particular the video for Ariel?
CJ: We had a few creative meetings with Field about what we wanted to do and when we started the process with them I sent over the lyrics for the song and ideas about what the key thoughts and themes are for that song and they would say, this is how we would interpret these core ideas, and they came up with the motion capture idea with the dancer.
We loved their ideas and gave them a lot of freedom; we trusted that they would do the right type of video that we were looking for. It turned out better than we expected. It’s the first video that I’m really proud of.
MF: How did you find working with Damien Taylor?
CJ: We already had all of the tracks demo’d when we got Damien involved so we sent him multi tracks of all the light instruments that we recorded. Most of the B patterns on the album we gave to him were from Kinevel and Damien would glitch it up and put that electronic layer on top. We’re really pleased with how it turned out.
MF: How’d did you find the process of working together over such a long distance? (DT is based in Vancouver)
CJ: First of all we would just email the tracks over and he did everything he needed to do in Vancouver and then I flew over there to work on the things together. It took a couple of weeks. His house/studio is situated in a really peaceful part of Vancouver. It was a really beautiful surrounding to work in with no distractions. It was an amazing experience.
MF: How did the signing with Ninjatune records come about?
CJ: Adrian who works in publishing offered us a publishing deal, but at the time we were still signed to K7 so that was an issue, but a change of circumstances occurred and we were able to get out of our contract with K7. It seems that Ninjatunes are the right label for Stateless and our new album, Ninjatune have the demographic who gets Stateless.
MF: What do you have planned for 2011?
CJ: We’re going to touring around for the rest of the year, lots more shows, hopefully get out to Australia. And we’ve actually just started writing a new Stateless track and throughout the rest of the year we’ll keep working on the next Stateless album and keep it electro. It’s a fresh sound that really excites me.
It’s all about timing, when we released our first album people weren’t really interested in bands that combined electro sounds with their music but it seems now that people are more interested in fusion music which is great for us because we’re getting a great reaction from this new album.