Sunday, August 8, 2010

James Mathis

Interview with Cindy D’Adamo and James Mathis

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I interviewed James Mathis, a singer/songwriter from Waxhaw, NC currently living in Greensboro. He classifies himself as: Indie/Folk/Alternative, and is working on his first EP.

Cindy- At what age did you begin playing guitar? When did you write your first song?

James- I started playing guitar around 13. But I had been playing piano since I was about 4 or 5 years old. I had started playing violin around age 8, so by the time I started playing guitar I already had a basic feel for chords and melody. I think the very first time I wrote a song, I was seven. I think I based the melody line off of some Disney movie I had just seen. It annoyed the crap out of my little brother.

Cindy- Are you influenced more by current artists, more 'classic' artists, or what inspires your music?

James- I think I am influenced by the old school of songwriters/performers more than anyone. No one can quite get to me like Joan Baez or Dylan. I think that a lot of the newer artists have a lot of good things to emulate as well. But I don’t think anyone holds a candle to the depth and soul that people like Garfunkel, Costello, and Dylan exude.

Cindy- Which artist, dead or alive, would you most want to do a duet with and why?

James- That’s a tough one. I think that it would have to be Tom Petty. I can identify with him a lot (minus the wealth and fame). He grew up in a pretty boring town in the south. He didn’t really fit in with a lot of his peers because he was true to who he was and who he wanted to be. Besides all that…his songs are pretty much amazing.

Cindy- If you could be rich OR be a musician-which would you choose?

James- Is it possible to be both?! Well, I think being a musician would be best for me because music lets me experience life on a deeper, more emotional level. Money would be nice. But you only live once right?

Cindy- Have you ever sang in a chorus or musical production/play? Which one(s)?

James- I have appeared in quite a few musicals. My favorites were probably “Peter Pan” and “Oliver”. “Annie” was also a lot of fun. I think there is a lot to be said for musical theater. Everyone kind of dismisses it as not “rock n’roll” enough…but I think it really helped me develop a stage presence and a voice. I think more people should try it.

Cindy- What is the funniest thing that has ever taken place at one of your gigs?

James- I don’t know of a single funniest moment at a gig. You know…everyone plays those shows where someone yells out “FREE BIRD!!” as a request. There was that one time when someone started singing along in the audience and they were so off key that it threw me off. I think that was more embarrassing than anything else though.

Cindy- What is your favorite song of all time?

James- Right now, my favorite song of all time is probably “First Days of Spring” by Noah and the Whale. It talks about the bitterness and hurt that comes with a failed relationship. But it also has redemption, because from every dead thing, something new and vibrant will emerge. It is part of life.

Cindy- What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

James- I think the question should be: “What would I NOT do for a Klondike bar?”

Cindy- What 5 CD/albums do you feel are the most influential ever made?

1. Love and theft
2. Funeral
3. Damn the Torpedoes
4. In Utero
5. We Both Was Young (a personal influencer)

Cindy-If you could be anything other than a musician-what would you be?

James- If I could be anything other than a musician, I think I would be a doctor. I always want to help people have better lives. If I couldn’t do that through my music, I would want to be a doctor and go to third world countries. I traveled to Nicaragua as part of medical team (I am certified Nurse’s Assistant) a year ago and it really changed my view of the world.

For more information on James Mathis, please view his MySpace located here:

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