James Vincent McMorrow

Student Rag’s Susie Daniels finds out if Game of Thrones soundtrack singer James Vincent McMorrow has a happy recollection of his student days…..

Can you reveal to your thousands of student fans one unusual thing they wouldn’t know about you?
I’m a pretty odd individual and don’t live with normal constraints and I tend to avoid as much human interaction as possible. When you’re a student it’s, ‘let’s get all f***ed up’. I studied marketing for about six months – I didn’t give a sh*t about marketing but I didn’t want to not go to college and have to get a job!
Thing was I didn’t enjoy it so I started not turning up for classes but didn’t tell my parents. I’d leave home and wait a while for my parents to leave the house and then I’d go back home and watch tv all day.
I’d call my parents later in the day to see where they were or if they were coming home. When they were I’d leave the house and make out I was returning from college later on.
Sometimes I’d hide in the bushes for two hours so I wouldn’t be seen! My parents still don’t know I did this so if they read this this will be the first time they’ll find out! (laughs) I’ll post them a copy.

We look forward to seeing you at the O2 ABC in Glasgow, a great venue but not quite the same prestige as playing the Sydney Opera House. Was that venue a ‘pinch me’ moment and was it humbling or emotional to play there?
I think you get to play a lot of beautiful venues and the the Sydney Opera House was an incredible room. It’s so iconic and it retains a unique and singular status. You think, ‘wholly sh*t, I’m playing here, this might never happen again!’ When you play a place like that it’s bizarre.

Does the number of fans in a gig you play overwhelm you?
The person that I am, I’m not pre-disposed to all the attention. I suffer a lot of social anxiety and I never would have wanted to be on stage. The first three or four years of making music I never played in front of anyone. I was so terrified my shows would be bad. I think around 2011 was my first really big shows and I felt I needed to own a persona as I’m not naturally (a person who takes) to the stage. I was drunk a lot and f***ed around a lot but once I decided that was not what I wanted to do I decided to be myself on stage. My music is heavy and intense but I’m not.

Your new album, We Move, is that a proud/proudest achievement? Are the songs personal or about general situations and would you do write a concept album?
It’s never a considered thing cos I think the concept albums are bullsh*t. When I grew up I knew people into The Dark Side of The Moon and they were very pretentious. I don’t like a structured life – I have a very short attention span. We Move is who I am. A lot of the album is aspects of my life. When I was a kid I struggled with a lot of mental health issues and struggled to put them front centre and from others knowing. It’s not something men in Ireland talk about, bulimia and anorexia. It was around 15 years ago and was borne out of a sense of control. When I started making music things got a lot better for me. I’m very lucky to get to do this thing, it’s incredibly cathartic.

Did you see yourself being listened by a whole new younger audience/fanbase once Wicked Game in Game of Thrones came out?
For Wicked Game the Game of Thrones people approached me and said, ‘we heard you have a recording of Wicked Game, can we use it?’ I loved the idea of putting Wicked Game and songs like that on my set. When it first came out, sung by Chris Issak, a lot of people associated it with the video. I was glad that hopefully a lot of people thought, ‘oh sh*t, I like this song but I forgot about it.’
It can have a catalytic reaction and if it had been four years ago you would definitely have seen an uptake in fans but I’d already had a song on an American show called One Tree Hill. It was huge and from the success of that, it gave me the money to go and tour. Then I had another song on Grey’s Anatomy and once you exist on a certain level the response is relative to where you are.

Did it concern you that you were helping people to gamble when Glacier from Post Tropical, your second album, was used in the 2014 Spanish Lottery?(a little birdy’s told James we’re just winding him up!)
That’s so funny! I hadn’t thought about the cultural ramifications. There is a line I’ll draw and I’ve said no to more things than I’ve said yes to. The Spanish lottery people came to me when they saw my shows in Spain. If someone comes to me with an idea and it’s the right idea and ethos and is considered and thoughtful and it’s not shameful money-making it’s okay. I’m not a hypocrite; you can really get on a high horse as a musician.

What’s your vice?
I stopped drinking a few years ago so music is my vice now. I’m obsessed with music and it’s totally unhealthy. It’s all consuming and since I finished my album I’ve been working on ten different things to do with music.

James Vincent McMorran plays O2 ABC Glasgow Oct 10th.
His new album We Move was released on Sept 2nd.