James Wyatt Crosby

James Wyatt Crosby

What city are you from? Where are you living now?

I grew up in Cambridge (Ontario, Canada) but I’m currently living in Toronto.

What got you into music?

My older brothers would jam in our parents’ attic and I learned how to play guitar and drums so I could jam too. I remember they laughed at me and thought I sucked when I first started playing guitar because all I could play was “Smoke on the Water”, but eventually I got good enough to keep up. They’re a few years older than me so when they went off to school, they left all their instruments behind and I started to get into recording my own songs.

What musical instruments do you play?

Guitar, drums, bass, keys, sampler, a bit of vibraphone and I sing too.

Who/what are your influences?

I used to be super into finding new artists and making a huge music collection but recently I’ve been letting other people show me new music rather than actively seeking it out. There’s this dude Mort Garson who someone recently showed me and his stuff is amazing. He’s this guy from New Brunswick who made some really cool electronic music in the 1970s. Check out Plantasia, it’s real nice… It’s this really calming synth music for plants. I’ve also been listening to a lot of classic rock greatest hits albums lately like 40 Licks by the Stones, and also tons of Kate Bush.

How has your sound evolved over time?

With recording projects in the past, it’s been mostly me doing all the playing, recording and mixing of the songs myself, but for this new single I really wanted to get a bunch of different people involved in the process. My good friend Mitchell Gomes is an insanely talented producer and it was fun to take the time to experiment in his studio to get the sounds that worked for this song. Mitchell has a Commodore 64 which is this home computer made in the 80s that can be used as a synth. It looks like a boring little typewriter, but it has some really great sounds in it. We used the 64 an a whole bunch of other cool amps and FX-pedals to give it a kind of ’70s smooth-rock vibe.

We also brought in my bandmates Ivan and Ben to record bass and drums on this track which was great because they’re dope players and they helped to keep things nice and groovy.

“Wild Dog” is different from the last single (“O.T.O.T.W.”) because it wasn’t the same kind of DIY recording process I’m used to, but I don’t really see the two songs as being drastically different from each other in terms of the style of music. Both are pretty smooth jams, although I guess “Wild Dog” is a little bit more personal as far as lyrics go.

How/when did you meet your bandmates?

I started playing with a band over the past year and that’s had a huge impact on how I write songs and think about music. My bandmates are all in a bunch of different groups, and it’s really amazing that they’ve taken the time to learn my songs and bring their own styles and ideas to the mix. They’re all really funny and musically talented people and I’m happy I get to jam and play shows with them.

I met our keyboard player Emily Jacklin at Harris Institute. She introduced me to Ben, Ivan and Robert in the spring of last year and we’ve been jamming and playing shows around Toronto ever since.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I’m currently working as a typist for an insurance company. Sounds pretty boring, but it’s actually kind of fun. Insurance claims are like these weird little stories… It’s definitely been giving me some new ideas for song lyrics.

What music are you listening to right now?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Young Thug lately because my roommate Nic really digs him. I’ve also been getting into the Doobie Brothers again too.

Do you listen to any music podcasts or radio?

Lots of CBC radio lately and whatever’s on CIUT. It’s always on in my kitchen.

Do you have any upcoming live shows?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 @ 8pm at Nightowl (Toronto)

James Wyatt Crosby is represented by Dirty Channel Productions.