The New York-based artist is introducing a new chapter through his latest releases.
dba James draws inspiration from the 2000s to explore new soundscapes that showcase his versatility. His latest release "Comeback" features gentle synths and laid-back rhythms, accompanied by his captivating tender and melancholic vocals. To mark the release, dba James returned to Heaven Can Wait for the second night of his residency in New York, with his next show scheduled for May 18th.
Your new song "45" is unlike anything I've ever listened to before. What message were you hoping to convey with this song?
45 is a reminder of one’s own sovereignty - even when you are in a big city and feeling the isolation that sometimes occurs because you are in a big city.
It's hard to find an intersection because your sound is incredibly unique, but can you share some of the artists that have had the biggest impact on your music?
I was listening to a lot of Sparklehorse and Taking Back Sunday when I made 45. They’re some of my only rock influences and from completely separate worlds. Specifically the songs “King of Nails” (2001) and “You got me” (2011). Hardcore music from NYC, Boston and SoundCloud remixes are areas I come back to often…. although I’m always going through some sort of new genre obsession.
You recently played at the iconic venue in the East Village, Heaven Can Wait. How do you prepare for a live performance, and what do you hope people take away from your shows?
Getting ready to play a place like HCW is easy because the environment is 100% a rock club in NYC. I’m usually talking to someone like 2 seconds before I have to go on and end up having to run on stage which is probably not the best way to approach a show - haha. I love procrastinating. I hope people leave my shows not thinking about their personal problems.
How has the city influenced your music, and how do you see your sound fitting into the ever-growing culture of music here?
New York is the best place to write for me. But, I do like writing in other places as you can’t help but be influenced by the culture of wherever you are. Oddly, Portland, OR. has notoriously been the worst place for me to make music - maybe that will change. I love this series that I’ve curated for HCW - it’s such a cool thing to be able to support and play with friends from around town. There is a scene that feels real in NYC right now — not sure if I fit into it or not — but not sure I have to. I’m content doing me.
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