Chris Andrews talks to a south Wales duo who (partly) splintered off from other local faves Holding Absence, and are making big moves with their early 00s-styled rock flamboyance.
Since an incendiary debut show at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach in August 2021, James And The Cold Gun have already amassed nearly 40 live shows in that short space of time. Formed from various bands across south Wales, the core duo of guitarist/vocalist James Joseph and guitarist James Biss found themselves jamming after moving in together a few years ago.
“We realised that there was a common itch that we both wanted to scratch, that we weren’t doing in our other bands at the time,” explains Joseph, “so we started writing and recording songs, and then the pandemic hit. So it’s been really weird, because we’ve just been cooped up writing songs since.”
Listen to J&TCG’s collected tracks to date will pick up influences ranging from Refused to The 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster, but what were the boys looking to achieve in their sound? “We wanted to bring that early 00s guitar rock sound back – bands like The Hives and The Strokes. Just riffs, speed and energy” says Biss.
“We are also big Queens Of The Stone Age fans; we really just want to play guitar music,” interjects Joseph. “It’s strange at the moment. Every new band feels like they need a gimmick before they have songs, whereas we just want to play our guitars with a sick drummer!”
So what does J&TCG offer the guys that previous bands couldn’t? “I was playing bass in Holding Absence, who are now doing very well,” offers Joseph, “but when the pandemic hit, it made me realise that the only aspect of the band I was enjoying was playing the shows – I wasn’t really into the music that much. With J&TCG, I was really having fun with music again, so if I can do that and get to the level that they are at, it’s a win-win situation.”
From that August debut in Clwb Ifor onwards, the band have already gained a reputation for their rowdy live sets. “We’d been waiting two years to play a show,” Biss says; “we thought, go out there and be the crazy headline band! So we just tried to keep it up.”
“We went on tour with Salem and knew that not everybody was going to know our band, so we went out there to turn the audience and make them check us out. We went hard every night!” laughs Joseph.
With a UK tour already announced for next year, Venn Records will also release James And The Cold Gun’s debut EP in early 2022, following a slew of singles dating back to 2019. “It’s been recorded since last year,” Biss says, “but we didn’t want to put it out without being able to tour.”
And finally, it won’t go unnoticed by many that the band name is derived from a Kate Bush track. Are the boys fans? “We are, yeah! It’s a funny one actually. There was supposed to be three Jameses in the band initially, so when we got together, we thought it’d be quite funny to have something to do with James in the title. Obviously, James is already taken, but I was watching a Kate Bush documentary on the BBC and James And The Cold Gun came on – I thought firstly, that it’s a great song, but secondly, it sounded like a rock band name…”
words CHRIS ANDREWS
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