Born in Riverside, California, the oldest child in a military family, Arthur James has been traveling all his life. His songs are landmarks of his journey that paint vivid landscapes of the many thousands of miles he’s seen in a struggle to find the meaning of ‘home’.
Music was always a means of escape and release. “Growing up all over - all over the world - I needed a place to put things. I needed a place to go to. A place that was familiar to me. Some place safe, you know? So, I started writing songs and living inside them.”
His lyricism lends to his patience and attention to the substance of every song, with nods to his influences, Gregory Alan Isakov, David Bazan, Justin Vernon, Matt Skiba and John K. Samson. His writing has been described as “complex and intelligently constructed.”
Arthur played all over the upper-midwest and fronted 5 different bands, living between Minot, ND and Minneapolis, MN from 2000-2012.
After moving to Washington in 2012, he played all over the greater Seattle area.
When he's not on the road or writing, he’s reading about quantum physics, black holes and other curious subjects. “I’m into autodidactism; I’ve always loved science and math and physics, so I find books or documentaries on that stuff and feed my head. It’s fascinating and I feel that it gives you the ultimate perspective. We’re just so bloody small.”
His new EP, The 4th Floor, was recorded in his home in West Seattle using very little instrumentation. “I’ve grown to really appreciate the sound of a room when music is being played in it. Like the little things that happen on the fretboard of a guitar when fingers move over it. I wanted people to hear those things. I wanted people to hear a real voice and real fingers, singing and playing those songs. Like the songs were being performed right next to you.”
The idea behind the EP is something that’s very important to him.
“This EP was written using other people’s stories. It's a selection of songs from a plethora I wrote about things that happened to other people. I canvassed social media, requesting stories from everyone I knew. Some people gave me their journals, other stories were left on a voicemail. The purpose was to shine a light on the relationship between artist and audience. It's intrinsic. But, like, there’s a dynamic there that got lost on everyone. So, I played audience to people's stories, then turned what I heard into a songs. Recording these songs and letting those people hear their stories through my music was, you know, an effort to show people what that process looks like. That interaction. That transaction, even.”