Just James – Review and Interview by Selina Clark
Right from the moment these guys stepped onto the stage you could tell they had something special. They’re like Flobots meets Andre 3000. Something we started calling Happy Hiphop.
Just James had the difficult task of opening the main stage on the First night of Strawberry Fields Festival. To say they did it well is an understatement. Their entire set was tight, gripping and so much fun to be a part of. The mixture of the beautiful effeminate and enticing vocals from Ella Reeves and Alex “Motamouf” Young’s powerful and enthusiasticMCing works so well and gives their music such energy and power.
They blew everyone away and anyone walking past the stage found it hard not to stop and watch them.
The bands stage presence was awesome, with little robotic dance moves from Ella and Alex dancing all over the stage (and off the stage).
The Friday slot was a hard one to fill, as there weren’t a lot of people around that day. However, the lack of audience on Friday was more than made up for on Saturday night, when the band played a more intimate set on “The Set Stage” with a vengeance and filled the tent with a crowd of people dancing and singing the lyrics back to the band after only seeing them once!
Their awesome “Set Stage” show was ended in style with an amazing buzz and Alex jumping into the crowd. Leaving everyone in the party mood.
After the groups performance I stumbled upon them whilst they were playing in a sand pit and they were kind enough to stop building sandcastles and let me interview them…
Supajam:How did it feel opening the Main Stage for Strawberry Fields Festival?
JJ: Amazing, a real privilege!
Supajam: You buzzing still?
JJ(Alex): Yeah! My adrenalin is still going [makes lip rolling noise]
Supajam: You guys had awesome stage presence even though there wasn’t a huge crowd. Was brilliant to watch.
JJ: Thanks we’ve had worse. We’ve had hardly anybody there but we still have fun, we still sweat [all laugh] regardless of how many people are there.
Supajam: What is it that influences you wanting to do music?
JJ (Alex): It’s wired cos we all have our own influences. I’m kinda like the hip hop guy. Then you got the dance and the funk and the punk, and you got like the classic rock and James he is a funky mother fucker. [all aggree] We all have different influences but combined together you have [in mysterious voice] Just James!
JJ (Ella): Science fiction rock and roll!
Supajam:You definitely hear that in your music. You’ve got a real mix of genres and its hard to put your finger on what it is.
JJ: Yeah people can’t get it, we can’t get it. That’s why we call it Science fiction rock and roll.
Supajam: Well it’s definitely got us into the festival spirit
Supajam: So you playing any more festivals?
JJ: Worcestershire Music Festival. We played a festival a couple of weeks ago in Swadlincote. (Ella) Yeah! I still got the thing on [shows wrist] that was good.
And we’re playing here again at 8 o’clock tomorrow in the smaller tent.
Supajam: You looking forward to it?
JJ: Yeah, it’s half way through the festival so hopefully people will be excited (Ella) people will be druuunk there’ll be more people here. We’ll get ’em going!
Supajam: What other bands have you been checking out?
JJ: We’ve just seen Get Cub. A real feel good, pop indie band, man. We love ’em so much. Great Scott and Raptorial are both on tomorrow, looking forward to them. And The Fallows as well we had fun with them we played with them on our first gig in Leicester.
Supajam: Have you got any more gigs coming up other than festival slots after this?
JJ: We’ve got that Worcestershire one. Are we playing the maze again as well? To be honest we get looads of gigs and we’re always like are we gigging tomorrow? Yeah we are! Shit! [laughs] I’m like we’ve got a gig! [screams]
But at the moment we’ve got a couple coming up. But we’re gonna like just take a little break from gigs and just focus on recording and stuff like that. Should have some stuff November/December. Probably only demos but regardless we’re gonna get it out.
Supajam: Will you be selling them or giving them out for free?
JJ: Most likely give them out for free. The fans have been waiting a hell of a long time for us to get our stuff out so its only right we do that. When we play we have the choice of playing like 15 different songs. But online we’ve only got like 4 songs to listen to so we’ll get all the stuff out that we haven’t recorded.
Supajam: So if you were gonna tell a new fan to go and listen to one of your tracks what one would it be?
JJ: [Band all throw out different names] Limitless,Ten eight twelve, Grinder. [Guitarist, Ben,hands me a business card] We’d give ’em one of these and say to check it all out. [all laugh] Smooth! (Alex) if you go on YouTube type Just James Limitless then you’ll get all the related videos. (Ben) If you google Just James we’re at the top [all band shout] Whey! (Alex) I didn’t even know that!
Supajam: Do you have any pre-gig rituals before you go on stage?
JJ: Sailor Jerry’s [laughs] cold beer, some whiskey. (Alex) I just have a beer, I don’t really like to, I mean I used to get pretty drunk before going on stage… [Jokey voice] and high as well [laughs] no, I’m joking, I’m joking! I usually like to keep quite level headed, do the set and then do the little ritual afterwards.
It’s nice to just mark you territory, find your space, get into the zone [Ella laughs].
Supajam: Well I won’t take up any more of your time thanks for chatting with us
JJ: You too! You know where we are, come and party with us.
This band were one of the highlights of the festival and if they don’t make it then thisindustry is definitely broken.
I just feel bad that I interrupted their sand pit time…
Check them out on one of the links below: