Starsailor interview

James Walsh explains his musical rivalries ahead of his Barasti gig

Interview, The Knowledge

Starsailor is on hiatus and you’re doing solo work now: how does it compare to working with the band?
The way things have gone, it’s proved to be the right decision. I’m working on a solo record, whenever I can, and on songs for a film called Powder: a rock’n’roll movie. I was working with [English singer-songwriter] Diana Vickers yesterday. Last year I went to Norway with [Ivor Novella winner] Sasha Skarbeck and recorded songs with an orchestra. There’s more freedom: when you’re trying to write the perfect record with the band, it’s a lot harder.

A lot of cooks, perhaps…
I guess so. It’s tricky constantly trying to move on from the last album and make sure it’s different enough to peak interest, but also make sure the fans don’t run away screaming.

Do you have regular contact with the other band members?
Fairly regularly. I see bass player James [Stelfox] in particular – he’s my partner in crime with songwriting. It’s important we get involved in different projects – as a result there may be interest in a new Starsailor album. When that day comes, we’ll probably get back together and do something.

You heard it here first…
It could be years away, but yes!

You had a feud with the Gallaghers a while ago: have you had any more run-ins?
There was a feud early on with Nickelback. We were on tour with them in a varied line-up: we wouldn’t normally play on the same bill as them. Our drummer, Ben [Byrne], was a little worse for wear and upset the lead singer, who said, ‘How dare you upset me in my own country!’ Ben said, ‘What are you talking about? I thought you were Canadian?’ The lesson is: don’t drink too much because you’ll do something stupid.

Which new artists do you love?
Adele is good, she deserves to be successful and world-conquering. London band The XX deserved to win the Mercury Prize this year.

You’re doing film soundtracks already. Do you think you’ll branch into acting?
I’d probably have to take a couple of years out to learn to act properly first. The last time I acted was in Little Shop of Horrors: a college production. I think the director picked me on the strength of my singing voice and struggled with my acting abilities!

Maybe a musical, then.
I haven’t got that classic voice for acting. Pete Postlethwaite had this incredible speaking voice that made everyone’s ears prick up. People say the opposite for me. They say, ‘When you sing, you’ve got this amazing voice that stops everyone in the room, but when you speak it’s all a bit monotone and down-key.’ But I can live with it!
James Walsh plays Barasti on Friday February 25.

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