Name: James Gillespie
Occupation: Singer, songwriter
Nationality: British
Current release: James Gillespie recently released his new single "Foolish Love".

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James Gillespie · Foolish Love

Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?

Everything I have every written has been from personal experience. I don't think I know any other way!! Sometimes it's from a dream … or something that I want to happen ... But it's always real.

For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?

That's a great question. Most of the time it's a realisation. I'll write one line and realise - wow. That's how I feel about that.

Then I think about it and start to write what happens in my head. I never think about how it's done or what the end product will look like.

Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?

Not at all. I mean I would like things to be laid out in a certain way but most of the time I'm in a panic to get it out. (laughs)

Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?

Not at the start. When I'm in the middle of it all I like to drink rum. I think it lets me say things I would normally be shy to admit.

What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?

It's impossible for me to force it. It has to just happen. So for me it's easy ... it just falls out!

What makes lyrics good in your opinion? What are your own ambitions and challenges in this regard?

I think if it's honest - then it's good. How can what you feel deep down be wrong?! I just have to be careful not to take the easy route with words, and think about what words represent that exact feeling.

Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?

The only control I try to keep is the time. I could ramble on for an hour and no one wants a 1 hour song!!

Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?

This happens a lot. And I always think just go with it.

As long as it doesn't change your initial vibe I think it just shows more about how you feel.

Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?

When it's finished I just know. I never go back and change lyrics or chords. I think that can be dangerous.

What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?

I'm fully involved in every single part. I write, co-produce, co-mix and even draw the artwork. I feel like if you let someone else do it all then you lose a part of the song. It has to still feel like a part of me when it's done and the visual aspect is the cover of that book.

People can judge quick so make sure you show what you feel.

After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?

I'm lucky enough to write non-stop so I don't feel empty. However there is a sense of loss when it's out. It's no longer mine. It's yours.

I also suffer from massive amounts of anxiety when it's out - scared that people will see too much.

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?

I do. Not because I think what I do is harder or I'm any way better. I just don't understand it in other things. Music and art are the only things I really understand.