Drax Project’s Mitch James and Shaan Singh discuss fame and hit songs ahead of tour
Singer-songwriter Mitch James and Drax Project saxophonist, singer and quarterback Shaan Singh have known each other for years.
They’ve enjoyed each other’s music since their debut and enjoyed their own collaborations, so working together down the road, they explain, was always going to be the next logical step.
I meet them for breakfast at a bustling downtown cafe to discuss, among other things, how their two worlds will collide this winter.
The double national tour between the award-winning crooner and the chart-killing group will pass through Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Hamilton, and both feel amplified.
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Working with those with whom you enjoy the company makes the experience much better for the performers and the crowds, they vouch.
“What happens behind the scenes is the kind of energy the crowd will receive,” says James, verifying that their camaraderie on stage is an accurate representation of their relationship outside of it.
“We all share the same crew, everyone knows each other, we are all friends. It will be a real great team bond.
Their alliance also ensures that concerns about the other theft of the speedboat are non-existent. There is no competition here, says Singh, “just love.”
It could be argued that there is no need to go above and beyond when everyone is such an impressive artist in their own right. Over the past few years, Mitch James and Drax Project have always had success stories.
The two achieved milestones, such as the Best New Zealand Act award at the MTV Europe Music Awards and the opening act for Ed Sheeran.
The last few weeks have seen the latest version of Mitch James Be somebody are critically acclaimed and Drax Project reaches 100 million streams with its Six-60 collaboration Catch feelings.
With the creation of hits in their wheelhouse, I think there is no one better to divulge the recipe for hit songs.
When I ask what makes a hit song, they both laugh like I asked them to detail the intricacies of black hole theory. The creation of hit songs cannot be explained in a few words at breakfast, their chuckles translate.
Having to come up with some sort of answer, James simply says “if you know, you know”, while Singh settles for the word “inevitability”.
“Something that seems inevitable… like inevitable, but unique,” he says.
Whatever the formula, both have used it well enough to have handfuls of applauded pieces.
Both Drax Project and Mitch James being relatively mainstream artists, it’s easy to wonder what part of this creative process relates to developing radio material, designed for the average listener.
Do they make music for themselves, according to their personality and their tastes? Or are they sticking to sound guidelines to create tracks they know fans will voraciously consume?
“If I’m completely honest with you,” said James, “there’s a merger.”
“I have a thousand songs that I wrote on my own that I feel people won’t like because they’re too personal,” he continues, explaining how his ideal song is a “perfect storm” based on her own inspirations, but with sensitivities to which anything can relate.
In addition, Singh points out, music generally needs to be digestible in order to work.
“It’s pretty funny, people use the word ‘sell-out’, but nobody really understands how to make great music you have to make it presentable. It’s the same with any art form, there is abstract music, there is abstract art, there is mainstream art and mainstream music… I think it’s all. in this balance.
They agree that a lot of it is about trusting the fans, assuming they’ll stick around no matter what musical direction they take.
When it comes to fan bases, both recognize that theirs has reached deep dimensions in just a few short years. The duo discuss the dangers of fame, which includes “weird” fans who “panic” when they meet them. Singh explains, “They act like they’re not talking to a human.
“I’m struggling with that to be honest,” James follows with a deep breath, “it takes a heavy toll on you. “
By learning to adjust his mind to cope with being sought after and regularly recognized, the singer explains that he can only take each day as it comes. “There is nothing that can really prepare you for this,” he concludes, “but you know what you sign up for in the first place and if you don’t like it you can always quit.”
The pair admit they would prefer obscurity to fame, but don’t hesitate to mention that every unsettling interaction is thwarted by a handful of uplifting interactions – and that makes the pivot to fame all the more manageable. They credit those fans who simply profess respect for their music.
For fans eagerly awaiting fresh material, James assures his work is all written, he’s “just looking to record it now” while Singh says Drax Project has a whole bank ready to go, they’re slowly crumbling. . to the last details.
A more pressing question for fans is probably when can we expect a musical collaboration between the band and the singer. Of course, joining forces for a tour is something to celebrate, but will fans ever hear a track featuring James’s songwriting skills and dark guitar alongside electrifying saxophone and refined vocal arrangements from? Singh?
While there appears to be little of this nature in the immediate pipeline, that doesn’t mean the deal is unlikely.
James, when asked who he would most like to collaborate with, said: “I’m thinking about something between them.”
A statement met with raised eyebrows and a smile from Singh, it gives reason to think about what more we can expect from the duo in the future.