James Bay on new music, changing his sound and losing the hat

Hat’s off

James Bay is back with a brand-new track, and he’s got his hair out. What the hell is going on?

What does the new stuff sound like?

“It’s a departure from what I’ve done. If I’m not moving forward I’m standing still and standing still is pretty boring. The first album for me was everything from Ryan Adams to Bruce Springsteen and Kings Of Leon, but I loved Prince and Michael Jackson and LCD Soundsystem but it wasn’t as relevant to that music. So coming out of touring ‘Chaos And The Calm’, one of the most exciting things for me was being able to really dive head first into those influences and more. I know I’m late to this party but Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Orange’ is an incredible album,that did loads for me.”

Who else has worked on it?

“It still feels mad to say it but the esteemed Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence + The Machine) heard this music and he called me up and he said, ‘I really love it!’ He came in and really helped sprinkle the last bit of fairy dust across the music.”


Why does he look different?

“When you make a certain sound and look your thing, it makes it all the more impactful to drop that and start with a new thing. So I cut my hair off and lost the hat. It felt only natural to me to tear that canvas down and put a new one up. That’s where so many of my favourite artists, from Bowie to Michael Jackson, they were chameleons and liked to reinvent themselves.”

When’s the new album out then?

“The album’s coming out spring time. And festivals are the plan, and more headline stuff – gigging for sure in 2018, absolute touring, as soon as all this music starts to come out!”

James Bay’s new tune, ‘Wild Love’, is out now. He plays Brixton Electric on March 15. Tickets are on sale now.