22 Aug 2019
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Interview: Ivy Blue

04 Jul 2019 // An interview by Kerry Kingi

There's a lot happening in the world of James Brodie (AKA Ivy Blue) at the moment; 8th album Elstow Stars is due for release on 14 August 2019, 2 new songs have been recently released (Miracles and Wild Horses), and a 6-date NZ tour is starting next week.

Having proved that his music is far-reaching and can relate to many walks of life, James is also determined to tour in Europe, despite a recent setback.

James spoke to Kerry from Muzic.net.nz about his music, his inspiration and what the future holds:

How long have you been writing music for? And what inspired you to create music and become a musician?

I have been writing music since 2012, but I’ve been working on Ivy Blue since November 2013, having released (soon to be) 8 albums and an EP. I started listening to music at a young age and listening to music helped me deal with my disabilities (Autism and ADHD). Through being a music listener, I became a music fan and wanted to learn how to create just as the musicians I looked up to did. So, I got a guitar at ten years old and went from there. At the time I never thought that I would be here still making music 8 albums in, but weirder things have happened in the world.

What inspired you to have your album mixed by producers around the world?

With everything Ivy Blue’s done, we try to push our limits a little further than the envelope was designed for. Part of that is changing musical tracks and trying a variety of things to expand musically (for example, a lot of the stuff from the first four albums were very pop-oriented with rock elements thrown in for a different flavour; while the Present Shapes album is mostly an acoustic/hip hop record with orchestral elements). Ivy Blue also tries to do the same with the way albums are produced and distributed. Present Shapes in that sense was distributed for free via OneDrive for the first ten weeks of its existence, and for this album I wanted to push the limits of what can be done in a global sense. So, once the songs were completed and recorded, so me and the team I work with started looking at a variety of producers to mix and master the album; initially only looking for one person. But in the end, it was decided to use a variety of different people to mix the album and it has resulted in this interesting global journey that has gone with the journey that the songs have taken me on, and I hope other people will go on that journey too.

What artists and musicians influenced you?

I’m personally influenced by a lot of different musicians. Robbie Williams, U2, Ed Sheeran, Midnight Oil, REM, Queen, and Elton John are all on my radar right now. I’ve also been influenced by Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Boyzone, The Bee Gees, Alice Cooper, Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Passenger. The music that the people I work with listen too also influences me and those influences are too great to name.

What’s the most exciting part of your NZ/Europe tour that your looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to playing at all right now. I was assaulted last week and that’s thrown everything for Europe up in the air. As far as New Zealand goes- I’m looking forward to going around and playing some shows at home (some of these places I’ll be playing for the first time). I’ll be interested to see how those new audiences react and to see if they react in the same ways that other audiences do. We’ve also upgraded to a nice visual setup with video projection and some nice new lighting effects to better tell a story about the boy who grew up at Elstow-Waihou Combined School and dreamed under a Totara Tree in Te Aroha, New Zealand.

Additionally, it’ll be nice to go back to some cities I’ve done before. I’ve recently come off a run of shows that started in January and wrapped up in Invercargill in June. Those shows were a lot of fun and it was nice to bring some of the older and in some cases underplayed songs I haven’t played in a while out of the closet for a bit before bringing out this new material. Maybe some of those underplayed songs will make further appearances on the tour for Elstow Stars. Who knows? But once I get going- there’s no doubt that those who are watching will be in for a treat.

UPDATE: Since James Brodie completed this interview; Ivy Blue’s 2019 European Tour has been postponed until 2020 because of his injuries. James’s headline Auckland show on August 24th has been postponed until later this year, with details to be confirmed. James’s 3 support shows for Emma G and XFM in Napier and New Plymouth in July and August are currently unaffected and a limited number of dates have been confirmed for October.

Where can people find your music and social media?

I mainly operate on Facebook, Instagram, and my website. I also use Spotify for my music streaming and I can be found on most streaming services and digital stores. I am also in the process of starting a new YouTube channel with the new music and some other surprises that may be coming very soon.

Wild Horses (YouTube Visualizer)

What’s coming up in the future for Ivy Blue?

There are a few shows in the works for next year overseas (as I should be healed up and all good to go by then), and hopefully there will be a few New Zealand shows next year too. Originally, this tour was supposed to finish in April overseas, but the tour for Elstow Stars is now likely to go until late 2020 so that we can try to make it up to European friends if shows get postponed over there (and there may be plans for some long-postponed US dates too). All going to plan, I start in Asia in January and head around from there. At some stage, there will be a new album- but there’s no timeline for new music right now. My plan is to get through these shows and then when that’s done start thinking about new music.


 

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