Jamie Whelligan is a very talented performer on stage and also down in the Tube Stations of the London Underground. He’s been plying his trade down in depths of London for ten years playing covers as well as his own unique material. He’s had quite a lot of his own material out in different guises over the years but this time he’s got a new album out called Salad Days, which is released on the Great Sheiks label. So I went along to his family home in Oxton, Wirral to ask him about his new album and where he gets his musical inspiration from.
How would you describe your material – in terms of style and content?
I take a lot of influences on this particular album from singer/songwriters of late sixties/early seventies. People like Al Stewart and David Bowie in his Hunky Dory period. These influences were the starting point for me and my producer Nick Frater to do the album Salad Days. Musically it comes from those sixties/seventies songwriters, but the content is introspective from personal experiences. I like spending a lot of time wandering around North London.
What influences do you draw upon to create your music?
Over the years I’ve listened to a lot of music. I love Nick Drake. I’m from Birkenhead so you’ve got the connection with Liverpool there. I spend a lot of time in bars. I like chatting and conversing with people. I’m not a great listener but sometimes my antenna is tuned in to what other people are saying and it filters through into my music. For me music can never be a planned thing – the whole process of writing and making it.
How has your recent album Salad Days been received by fans and critics?
I don’t keep an eye on the website too much but a lot of people have been emailing and texting me saying how pleased they are that I’ve got something new out there. The feedback has been really positive. People have liked the melodies and the hook lines. People have also said they have been singing along to the songs. It’s interesting to hear how other people define what you’re doing. They might say it’s folk, pop or rock. That’s the great thing about music, everyone’s got an opinion.
What is next for you in 2012?
Unfortunately it won’t be watching Everton in the FA Cup final. I will be playing quite a few solo gigs in London in the summer, though it’s my intention to go on a bit of a holiday. I’ve been writing and recording a lot of new material. Later on in the summer I’ll be releasing a new single called Pipes Plus, with a video to accompany it. And I’ll hopefully get the chance to play some gigs up North as well. Salad Days is going to be released on iTUNES and Spotify. It’s is available for download on bandcamp.com.
Which venues do you enjoy playing in?
I like small intimate venues. Last year I played a small stately home called Lauderdale House in Highgate. I like to play venues that aren’t just beer soaked pubs – although I do like playing in beer soaked pubs because most of my gigs are in the latter.
Are there any other artists you would consider collaborating with?
I am collaborating with some fellow buskers from the London Underground. It’s inevitable that most musicians collaborate with each other even though some of them might not admit it. But there’s no one in particular I’d like to collaborate with.
Which songs by other artists would you liked to have written?
Land Of Make Believe by Bucks Fizz. Thinking more seriously about this one – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out by The Smiths. It’s a beautiful song about longing, passion and despair. It’s everything you would want wrapped up in a song without all the usual clichés. There is also another song I’ve been listening to a lot recently called Love Song For The Dead Che by sixties band United States Of America. It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end because it’s hauntingly beautiful.
Many thanks to Jamie for the interview.