Music Q&A: Starsailor

Singer and guitarist James Walsh chats ahead of playing Leeds Beckett SU, 16 Oct; Sheffield Leadmill, 18 Oct; Liverpool Academy, 19 Oct; and Manchester O2 Ritz, 24 Oct

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What informs your music and songwriting?
My personal experiences, musical knowledge and influences. I never draw directly from the music I love but it can put me in the right mood to write. Going to a concert can be inspiring too like the artist onstage is laying down the gauntlet if it’s a good gig.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
I think we’ve evolved a lot as a band over the years. Working with various artists from different musical backgrounds has helped me personally. Also the world we live in now and the experiences are totally different from when we were 20 so that informs the writing.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
I’ve been writing songs for a film that I’m really excited about. It’s early days but there’s some great people in it and music is an important aspect of it so I was able to get quite involved beyond just contributing a few songs. I’ve also been writing library music. I love song writing whatever the project.

What’s on your rider?
It’s pretty boring really: Peroni, water, cold meats, beer, wine. The usual. Licorice tea is good for the voice.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
Most surreal but brilliant – Michael Stipe turning up at our dressing room door to thank us for supporting his band REM some years back in Dublin. Also the woman who kept getting them out in Denver, Colorado was a bit offputting. Not nearly as sexy as she probably thought it was.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Yesterday – it’s faultless. Melancholic perfection. Short and sweet and universally relatable.

What’s your worst lyric?
Probably from the first song I ever wrote: “From the moment that I met her. I always hated that green sweater. Four years ago she left me in pain so I decided to go insane.” I was only 16 then so four years before I was 12! It could only get better from there.

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