Ones to watch: James Simcox


 If you're familiar with my blog, you'll know that I wrote once about a certain Mr Capaldi before he blew up. So today I bring you another singer-songwriter, from Newcastle but based in Glasgow, James Simcox He's also an audio engineer by trade, so the guy knows his chops. 

Here we have an original called Not Enough. It's a lament about not feeling good enough, something I think as people in relationships sometimes feel. It's angsty, but not angry. He pours his heart out and it's something akin to Julien Baker, meets Newton Faulkner. Lovely stuff. 

He does covers too! This time, he was recognised by yer man Newton Faulkner 

James is also plays bass in a band called Manatees on Fire which you would be able to see play in Glasgow if old Rona didn't raise her ugly head.  


as written on their FB page: so far we have only performed covers from a variety of artists including Rise Against, Blur, Queens Of The Stone Age and Nirvana. But the manatee can only grow stronger with time. A day shall come when Earth is ruled by our kind.

Picture credit: Eddie McEleney 

So, a couple of words with the man himself. 

How did you get into music?
Music has been the thing I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember. I think it started with seeing my uncle play these amazing bluesy licks on an acoustic and 5-year-old me thinking ‘this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen I want to do that’ so I started getting guitar lessons in school when I was 7 or 8. Though I didn’t really start hitting my stride with it until a good few years after when I started getting lessons outside of school from a guy called Doug Carroll who was an amazing teacher for me. He really opened my eyes to what I could do and was nice enough to record the first songs I wrote in his home studio so I’ll always be grateful for that - even if they were incredibly cheesy (even for me). After that I kept playing, writing songs, doing local gigs around the Dumfries area where I could but I always thought I could’ve been learning more so I decided to study audio engineering at college and then university in Glasgow thinking it would open up a few more doors in the industry for me but as much as I still love producing/engineering, making a living as a solo artist has always been the dream.

What instruments do you play?
Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, and a tiny bit of piano

Best gig ever played? With yourself or the band?
I think it’d have to be the first solo gig I played in Glasgow at the 13th Note three or four years ago. A support band had pulled out so I was a very last-minute substitute and I hadn’t really played properly in a couple of years because I was focusing on audio production and engineering for university so I was nervous as anything but it ended up being an amazing night. There was a great turnout, the crowd was lovely and I got a great reception when I was playing. That was definitely the night that made me want to pursue making a living doing this again.

Who are your main influences? 
Newton Faulkner, Tommy Emmanuel and Frank Turner

What's the ideal gig for you?
Gregory Alan Isakov opens, followed by the three I just mentioned then we’d all have a good boogie to Reel Big Fish

Give me three words to describe you as a musician. 
Slappy Tappy Cheese

And there you have it. Check him out on Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram, and tell them Ambivalent Peaks sent ye before he hits the big time. 

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