With his EP Miracle (Human Error) gaining support across Radio One, 6Music and XFM, Sivu’s debut album Something On High has been a highly anticipated release. Already it’s been named Album of the Week by The Sunday Times Culture Magazine and has been described as “Heavenly” by The Guardian and “a huge promise” by The Sunday Times. Ahead of its release on the 13th of October, I had the wonderful job of chatting to James about his trepidation, his favourite track and his journey into music.
Your first album is being released on Monday, how are you feeling?
It’s excitement mixed with fear. I’m so happy you guys are going to hear it because I’ve been sat with it for quite a long time and it’s going to be nice to have it out.
When did you first start playing music?
I started playing music when I was about fifteen. My cousin got a guitar and obviously as soon as he had one I really wanted one and yeah, I just started playing in school bands. I’ve always played in bands normally so this is the first solo stuff I’ve ever done.
I think your entire album is amazing, but do you have a favourite track from it?
At the moment the opening track called ‘Feel Something’ is my favourite only because it was the last song I wrote and the last song we recorded. It makes it a little bit more exciting because the other songs I’ve had written for quite a long time. I was just really happy with how that song went because it was really unexpected, it was kind of never meant to go on there so I think that’s why I like it the most. But there’s a track called ‘Sleep’ which is my favourite live track.
You released a video on YouTube of yourself talking through the meaning behind your songs, do you think it’s important for your fans to know the inspiration behind your music?
I think it just seemed like quite a nice idea when I first started putting songs out because some of the lyrical stuff in there is may be a bit cryptic. It was actually really difficult to do because of the way I write – I don’t really think about it, I just kind of do it – but I did like the idea of just talking through it a little bit.
The video for ‘Better Man Than He’ went viral and received a lot of critical acclaim, what was the inspiration behind this video?
It was done by my best friend who makes music videos and the idea came about because we had no money to make a music video basically. We had the song and we were looking at ways of making a video without using cameras and stuff and we found a video of a guy beatboxing in an MRI machine and it just kind of blew our minds. We contacted Barts Hospital and pitched the idea we had about shooting a video and they went with it which was so good. They have a charity at Barts for cleft pallet treatment and we pushed that and it all fell into place really, considering that the video cost us nothing and got the best result.
You’ve played so many gigs across Europe, do you have a favourite place to play?
Do you know what, I played in Switzerland in a place called Lucerne and that was insane, it was the craziest gig we’ve ever had. It was massive and people in Switzerland just seem to come no matter who it is. We played a festival there and Ed Sheeran had played the night before and the same people came out so that was pretty mad. I don’t think anyone knew who I was but it didn’t matter, it was really fun!
And have you got plans for a headline tour?
Yeah, the plan is to do the Nick Mulvey support tour until the end of this month and then kind of let the record do its thing for a bit. In December I’m doing a support tour for Bombay Bicycle Club and then I think in January, February time we want to do quite an extensive headline tour going everywhere.
Sivu’s debut album Something On High is being released on the 13th October and he is playing at Oslo, Hackney on the 14th October.