Five Questions With Close Kicks

You may recognize the name, Darryl James as a songwriter and bass player in The Strumbellas, but now, he has started a side project called Close Kicks.

“Close Kicks represents the moment two artists bring out the very best of each other’s talents to create something extraordinary,” says artist, performer, and producer Darryl James. “I have had the honour of collaborating with over 100artists and have an extensive catalogue of songs to release over the next few years.”

Close Kicks has unveiled their debut single, “The House We Built”. The song was written with Kevin Griffin (Better Than Ezra) online at the start of the Pandemic. Darryl performed and produced the entire song on his own, and had it mixed and mastered in Ontario.

“This is a song about building something bigger than yourself. Being part of a team and creating something special,” says James. “The House We Built is an anthem that will keep you on the edge of your seat and send shivers up your spine,” says Griffin

Close Kicks teamed up with two Canadian emerging sound engineers to help push the limits of modern production. Mixed by Darren McGill and mastered by Kristian Montana, this song shines sonically.

Now, they have also unveiled a video to accompany the release! Check it out below, and find out more about Close Kicks via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Darryl James, and my artist name is Close Kicks. I’m a songwriter and the bass player in The Strumbellas and Close Kicks is my artistic side project. The name “Close Kicks” is about that connection which forms when two artists bring out the very best in each other’s talents to create something extraordinary.

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

The song The House We Built is my first ever single released with Glassnote Records. I wrote the song with Kevin Griffin from Better Than Ezra, and I produced and performed the entire song in my home studio throughout the early stages of the 2020 pandemic. My music and writing style falls into an array of categories, but I like to list it as Alternative Folk Pop.

How have you been keeping creative during the Pandemic?

Surprisingly, I have been keeping extremely busy creatively during the pandemic. For whatever reason, I feel that I’m still able to thrive in this environment. I’ve been collaborating with other artists by scheduling 1-2 online writing sessions each month, and I continue to work on the production and performance of those co-writes. And to be honest, I have a bit of a backlog of other songs I’ve co-written over the last few years that I keep chipping away at.

If I have any downtime I focus on upskilling, so that I can continue to progress as a songwriter and producer.  In addition to working on music, I’ve tried to stay creative through the release of my first single. Being a hobby photographer, I put my videographer hat on, and I shot my own music video for The House We Built with my family and I being the cast!  The director of the video, Daniel AM Rosenburg, and I worked together remotely to put a story together while he provided me with direction and coaching on the videography component.  The video, which also includes animation from illustrator Nicole Charles, will be released at the end of January.

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

Obviously, my newest release The House We Built! I’m really proud of this song. It’s a song about building something bigger than yourself. Being part of a team and creating something special. This is a concept that really ties in with what I’ve been able to build in The Strumbellas, and hope to build with Close Kicks.  And, I hope this universal message helps inspire others to reach their goals and achieve what they think was the impossible!

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?

There are so many Canadian bands that I love it would be hard to list them all, so coincidentally, I’ve created a playlist if you want to follow me on Spotify as I’ll be updating it weekly!  But off the top of my head, right now I’m listening a lot to Charlotte Cornfield, Terry Uyarak, and Jordan Klasson.

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