INTERVIEW // James Sun: On ‘If Tomorrow Ever Comes’, Influences and Collaborations

WORDS BY ISABELLA ROSS

Earlier this week I had the chance to catch up with Mitch, the guy behind James Sun. After the release of his latest track If Tomorrow Ever Comes I was excited to hear more about the process behind this bop. If Tomorrow Ever Comes is his second release for 2020, with another song in the works set to come out before summer hits us this year. In just seven days this track has racked up 6 000+ streams on Spotify following in the footsteps of Drunk on You. This track is a moody mix of emotional lyrics and a beat that won’t let you keep still. If Tomorrow Ever Comes has a bright and energetic feel a perfect afternoon pick me up. I was really excited to learn more about what went into the track.  

We started our chat with the origins of James Sun, Mitch mentioned the early stages of his career dabbling in acoustic music released under a different name. After deciding he wanted to change direction he came up with the new guise James Sun, a combination of his middle name and the way BOI described his voice in the studio.  

Isabella: I hear you picked up a guitar at 15 and started releasing music at 23. I would love to know what got you from having a passion to actually releasing music? 

Mitch: I think the growth really happened after leaving high school. A lack of confidence delayed me from taking the step between learning and actually releasing music. Once I got out of highschool I started gigging, people were really nice at pub gigs and inspired me to try and make something out of myself rather than just covering songs.  

I started writing tracks, and my mates got behind me when I was working on my acoustic stuff. People were really digging it, but I felt it wasn’t really mainstream or the style I personally love. I love dance tracks but I always felt that my voice didn’t suit that. One day Liam (Quinn) and I were in the studio and tried out a more electronic background and figured you know what I could probably try and make this work.  

I know you have mentioned Lauv, Ed Sheeran, and Bastille as a few of your major inspirations, do you think your appreciation for their music has changed or grown since making your own music? 

Yeah Ed Sheeran was a huge inspiration in my teens, and he still is today. I am heavily inspired by Lauv these days, I adore his style and everything he does.  

The lyrics in If Tomorrow Ever Comes you talk about feeling trapped and unable to escape the way you feel, have you found that the recent lockdowns have been a similar process or have you approached them differently.  

If tomorrow ever comes was more a reflection of a relationship. Feeling as if I couldn’t escape my thoughts, whereas now I am in a pretty happy relationship. Definitely I think being in lockdown makes you feel so isolated and really makes you have a negative perspective on things, as if the whole world is changing and you can’t do anything about it. As soon as it feels like things might go back to normal everything does a 180. I wonder are we ever going to be able to go to festivals, or will we all be sitting in seats away from each other.  

There are also lyrics that talk about dancing around your kitchen, which I think is something we can all relate to now we are stuck at home. If you had to pick three songs today for that dance list what would you pick? 

For sure I’d have to say I’m so tired by Lauv, even though it’s not meant to be a happy song I love the vibe. I’m actually pretty keen on that new Funny song by Zedd and Jasmine Thompson, and then my fave song at the moment is Breaking Me by Topic and A7S.  

With the production of your latest release there is such a bright and fun sound signature to James Sun, but the lyrics have a lot of emotional depth. What made you choose such a juxtaposition? 

I don’t know its just the way the vibe of the room goes I guess, everyone listens in and works together. Liam usually creates the sound and I write the lyrics. We find something we both dig and mash them together.  

You have mentioned Liam a couple of times, I would love to know more about your process together.  

For this track I was actually caught off guard by a family emergency so I missed out on the creation of the hook and everything. Which was a bit upsetting but I got there in time to get into the verses. Normally we jump in the studio together and I play an idea off my phone, we listen until we find something we like or think is catchy and then drive with that.  

Are you working on anything at the moment, have you found your process has changed being out of the studio? 

Music wise I haven’t made anything new but I definitely have tracks sitting there, I have two that will be released before the end of the year. My next release is really catchy with a happy feel, I’m super pumped for that to come out. Hopefully towards the end of the year I can get back in the studio and start writing again.  

Sounds super exciting both the new release and the prospect of getting back into the studio working collaboratively again. I’m interested to know how you are going about making your own sound in the pop world.  

I try to bring in an acoustic soft melody and combine it with the harder dance stuff. Pretty much all pop tracks have the basic layout with female vocals driving the melody. I am trying to bring in the male vocals and some softer acoustic qualities added into the mix. I aim for something that isn’t fully mainstream.  

At Temporary Dreamer we have a signature question, If Tomorrow Ever Comes what colour would it be and why? 

I’d say dark blue, it has a bit of a sad depth and it’s also pretty chill. The next one though will be bright yellow! 

If Tomorrow Ever Comes is quite collaborative and you have mentioned you really like that process, who would be your dream collaboration? 

Obviously Lauv would be the dream, but even Loud Luxury or Topic could be really cool.  

Do you have any collaborations lined up? Or anyone you are talking to that you would love to work with? 

Yeah so my next song coming out is actually a collaboration with one of my mates. I’m really keen to get it out there for summer.  

I know personally I have been listening to a lot more music while at home, have you found anyone new recently that you want to share? 

Yeah I’ve been listening to a lot of Topic and A7S. Another one would be Adam Turley from the US, he isn’t as big but he’s got really cool tunes. Lots of vibey tracks, perfect for driving down the highway.  

One last question, you have mentioned this next track a couple of times, when is it set to release? 

We don’t have a date locked in yet but it will definitely be out for summer this year so keep your eyes peeled! 

For now you can check out the rest of James Sun’s stuff here.

https://open.spotify.com/artist/4joXCMWD1t62KUedMCW17j?si=PbinDID2Rtyfso6WwES6Zg

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