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Jim Nothing

Jim Nothing

Interviewed by
Ben Coley
Friday 20th March, 2015 10:15AM

Jim Nothing is the alias of Christchurch musician James Sullivan. James is better known as being a drummer extraordinaire and go-to man. Not only does he play in Salad Boys, X-Ray Charles, BnP and Bang! Bang! Eche! to name a few, but has recently stepped away from the kit and started playing and recording solo under the Jim Nothing moniker as well. His first release was 2013's well-received Death Traps, which he has just followed up with brand new EP Zig Zag Blues. It's a bratty version of garage pop with a good smattering of dirty punk that was recorded entirely on 4-track - usually in the spur of the moment. UnderTheRadar was curious to find out more, so we sat down with James to have a talk about Jim...

Hi James, how are you?

I'm good thanks.

Where are you currently?

I'm currently at my Dad's house in Melbourne, I arrived last night and will be here for a week.

What takes you "across the ditch"?

Well, I just needed a holiday really, but I also have a show lined up at Dane Certificates Theatre of Magic in Brunswick.

Oh cool! A Magic Theatre. Who are you playing with?

Yeah, its a pretty neat place for a concert. I've not been there before but I'm assuming it's intimate and oddball, which fits perfectly to my vibe. I'll be playing with Ary Jansen (Civil Union/Ralph) and Sarah Mary Chadwick (Batrider) which is exciting. I've been a big fan of both of their creative outputs and to be honest, I'm a little nervous.

Are nerves a part of your normal pre-show routine?

It can go both ways. I've haven't been playing solo for very long. Sometimes it's great and sometimes it's not, but nerves do come into it almost every time. I'm learning to deal with it, but I imagine it'll be a long time before I'm 100% comfortable with performing solo. That's another thing though, once you become too comfortable you loose some edge. I'm terrified of loosing that anxiety, but I'm uncomfortable in experiencing it. It's a trade off. I think it's vital to be a little on edge, a little anxious or nervous. It fuels the energy, stokes the fire.

You've got a new EP out titled Zig Zag Blues can you tell us a little about that?

Yeah, it was recorded between 2013 - 2014 on my Tascam 4-track at home in Christchurch, New Zealand. I lost a year in 2014. I wrote a lot of music but forgot to release anything. I was always onto the next idea before I was comfortable calling the previous one finished. That resulted in a lot of music in various states of completion. I planned to re-record some demos but when the time came the energy wasn't there. The energy is in the idea not realised yet. It's in the spontaneous outbursts and the manic states and because of that I've changed the way I view music as a creation. It's about expression and more often than not, the most real expression and the most real music is made in that moment. First take is the best take. I think the current state of pop music is disgusting. There is nothing real about it, it's completely contrived. People are too obsessed with what's hip or current or trending and I find it genuinely revolting. Sorry, I diverted a little there.

That's okay, can you elaborate a little more?

I just crave realness...

You mentioned that you recorded Zig Zag Blues on a 4-track cassette recorder, why did you decide on that format?

To be honest, I just find it easier. I've tried recording digitally many times before and I get nowhere. It's too frustrating trying to set up and capture a sound you are happy with. You spend hours looking at a screen and fucking around with plug-ins and mic placements and by the time you get something you are happy with the moment has gone. I find using a 4-track is vital to capturing the ideas in their purest form i.e. when they first arise. I can plug a guitar straight into my 4-track and it sounds killer. No pedals, no amps, just a guitar a lead and a tape recorder. Magic.

What else is in store for 2015?

There'll be a Jim Nothing/Wurld Series cassette split coming out on Melted Ice Cream records. BnP are recording an album and Salad Boys will have a 12-inch out hopefully by the end of the year. It's all coming up Milhouse!

Jim Nothing is playing with Wurld Series and Violet French this Friday 27th March at the Darkroom in Christchurch, head over here for more details.


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