Jim Bauer is tipped for great things in 2017. When not thinking of melodies inside of his misfit mind, Jim is a constantly touring singer-songwriter armed with only an acoustic guitar and a distinct voice that soars above many of his contemporaries. This week, we caught up with Jim in Paris while on tour to discuss his music and his eagerly anticipated, and intimate, Rootstock 2017 performance on the Acoustic Stage…
Q. Hi Jim. Great to talk with you. What are you up to at the moment? Writing, Recording, Performing?
“I’m actually doing all of that as well as writing songs for other artists. Right now, I’m on tour with my solo project and recording songs for my first EP – coming soon!”
Q. Your voice is mesmerising. How would you define the sound of your songs?
“I define it as “Cinematographic Pop” because I feel like the major thing that connects all of my songs together is the cinematographic mood that emerges from them. I play a lot of different styles of music – from the Nineties mainly, like Alternative Rock, Gangsta Rap, and Neo Soul – and mix them all together. “
Cinematographic Pop: Jim Bauer’s music video to ‘Something Else Than Words’ is as haunting as the song. A modern classic in waiting…
Q. How did you first get into music and what made you want to be a musician?
“Like all musicians, probably, because of a girl! I wanted to go out with my music teacher’s daughter when I was twelve and the only way to be in the same classroom as her was to subscribe to the Beatmaking class that my teacher created in the school. A pretty cool class to do, yeah. But when I started Beatmaking I immediately became a geek and didn’t stop! I loved creating hip-hop productions. So, I never managed to go out with my teacher’s daughter but I did start to play music. As I grew up I grew into a musician and started playing guitar and singing when I was 15.”
Q. Where do you get your inspiration for your songs from?
“From the silence. When it’s silent enough I start hearing melodies in my head. Then I record them to not forget. I usually start recording a new song at two in the morning. I also find inspiration when I’m having fun playing with friends or when I wash the dishes or let go from thinking about anything.”
Q. What do you love most about making music?
“I don’t really know, to be honest. I’ve been connected with music my whole life so I feel it like a parallel world, a place where you can express your existence differently. For me, music is a way to connect with the universe and change the rules, be present, right here in the moment. Music is like meditation, but not just for yourself, for the whole world around you.”
Sounds and Visions: Jim’s 13-minute epic visual odyssey of his ‘The Misfit Boy’ EP brilliantly captures the songwriter’s love of “Cinematographic Pop”
Q. Do you have a particular song of yours you love to play live? If so, why?
“I love to play a Pakistani song composed by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Actually, it’s more like an improvisation, the music changes but lyrics always stay the same. It’s called ‘Dum Must Qalandar Must Must. I love to play it because people are surprised, in a good way, when they hear me playing it, so it feels like a kind of provocation, a challenge, to the audience to really listen. When most people watch me perform live with just my guitar, they figure me as a sort of Ed Sheeran or Jeff Buckley type, but when they see me performing that song, I disturb them in their sureness, and it’s funny and interesting to see how people react.”
Who do you consider to be your idols?
“No one, I hate them all! Ha ha! I love a lot of artists. Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Coldplay, Prince, Justin Timberlake, Hans Zimmer, Nobuo Uematsu, Dr Dre, Dhafer Youssef, the Beatles. I can go on…”
Q. Armed with just an acoustic guitar, your shows are intimate. Do you love performing live or can it be nerve-racking?
“When I’m on stage I’m in a trance. I don’t think. I’m not nervous, but one or two hours before, I do feel very anxious. I do yoga or play pranks or read jokes to calm down.”
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Q. What makes for an awesome Jim Bauer show? What can the audience at Rootstock 2017 expect of your performance?
“I’m not the one you should ask that – I have no idea what I’m doing when I’m on stage! People seem to like what I do, and how I do it, so I continue doing it. But I’m definitely unable to analyse what a Jim Bauer show looks like. Maybe that’s why people like it, I guess.”
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Q. What do you consider to be the highlight of your musical career so far?
For me, so far, it was the day you perform your first own show with more than one hundred people that have only come to see you perform. That feeling is more powerful than having a song that’s successful.”
Q. How do you prepare for a gig such as Rootstock 2017? Will you be doing anything different from a usual gig?
“I’m on tour right now, so I’m going to do pretty much the same show as I normally do, but of course, I never do the same thing twice because as I said I never in control of anything when I’m on stage! What is special with Rootstock is that it is taking place at beautiful Château and I have lots of friends performing the same day. It’s gonna be a great show that will feel somewhere between an intimate moment with friends and a big show in front of people that probably never saw me before. It will be a challenge, but that’s half the fun.”
Q. Are you releasing any new music this year or next? And, if so, what?
“There will be, probably, be an EP released in Septembre and then more songs next year. I have more than 50 songs finished now, so I have to find a way to release everything more quickly than I do now. We are thinking about it with my team now but there’s never a shortage of music!”
Star Ascending: Jim Bauer’s ‘The Misfit Boy’ EP is available now
For more information on Rootstock Jazz and Rock Festival, head on over to www.rootstockburgundy.com
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