What made you decide to start the band?

A global pandemic firstly, then, partly in reaction to my surroundings during 2020, but mainly because I have things I need to get off my chest. The name, ‘The Pink Nostalgia’ came from an interview with Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) where he said he was ‘obsessed with nostalgia’, and when I think of nostalgia, I often think of bittersweet memories; you look back on them with rose-tinted glasses; giving them this “pink” hue.

Introduce us to you and your musical history?

I’ve always written lyrics and poetry, and music is integral in my household; there’s never a moment when a song isn’t playing. My parents have basically brought me up on good music. I come from an acting background; I trained as an actor – and using that within my music, I’m mainly inspired by the theatrics of the New Wave and New Romantics movements. The clean cut, visual and musical aesthetic’s and motifs they had. I really wanted to use that in my own music, as well as obviously being inspired by modern bands like The 1975, The Japanese House & Bon Iver.

Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?

Literally bought myself LEGO, I’m not ashamed, not one bit. LEGO is so cool. I’m a big ol’ nerdy kid really. The Empire State Building stands proud in my room. 

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

My live band and I packed out The Finsbury in Finsbury Park, and I had a crowd of people singing my songs back to me. And we were all just dancing together. Surreal really when I think back to it.

What was the worst experience on stage?

Got my ring caught in my guitar strings during a really emotional unreleased song at an acoustic gig. Mortifying. Cheap jewellery isn’t worth it.

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about? 

For a 6’5 guy, I’m so scared of heights; everything is so much taller for me. Vertigo is a thing.

What makes you stand out as an artist?

Just that really. That I’m an artist with a solo project, rather than a conventional ‘band’. Think Justin Vernon as Bon Iver, Amber Bain as The Japanese House, Kevin Parker as Tame Impala, Francis and the Lights, the list goes on. To me, ‘The Pink Nostalgia’ is a project I like to merge modern and classic sounds together. 

What’s your favourite song to play live and why?

I love ‘Kodak’, because it really gets the crowd going. ‘Drifted’ is great too, because I feel like I can properly perform it. But I think ‘Pluto’ is my favourite. It will always hold a special place in my heart, it hits live, and it’s one that the fans love.

I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?

‘Radio Silence’ is one of those songs that take you somewhere else, it’s probably the most mature/pensive piece of songwriting I’ve done so far. It’s about bittersweet, and often sad memories of people, places and things that come flooding back to you at the worst possible times.

Talk me through the thought process of the single?

I write most of my lyrics for songs on the train, the gym or the bath; this so happened to be written on and about a train ride I took, where these memories and feelings just overwhelmed me; the words really just fell out of me onto my notes app on my phone. I was listening to ‘High and Dry’ from Radiohead’s ‘The Bends’; I had the whole thing on shuffle, and it kind of flavoured the mood of my lyrics. Thom Yorke has this wonderful way of saying complex things in small phrases, so that album really became the inspiration or springboard for this song.

What was the recording process like?

I recorded keys and vocals by myself in my home studio, and in London with my amazing bassist Joshua Crossley. This is my first time collaborating with Rachel Dover, who recorded the most amazing sax for me on the track. I produced and mixed the track by myself before it was mastered by the wonderful Tim Pennells of TXP Sound.

What are your plans for the year ahead?

This song really is just the beginning of this year. I’ll finally be releasing my third EP — it’s got my most personal writing on it to date! I’ve always written about other people, so it was nice to look inwards with my songwriting this time. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Spread the word. All is love. Joseph James, The Pink Nostalgia.