Interview: James Spaite talks 'Soil' and how he got there
James Spaite/YouTube

Singer and songwriter James Spaite has a new single out called "Soil" and for him, it's been quite the journey to get there. AXS conducted an email interview with Spaite to discuss his new single and his musical history. You can download the single on iTunes, as well as stream more of Spaite's music on Spotify, support him on Bandcamp, and watch him perform his previous track "Beloved" by using the media player included with this article.

AXS: Let's start at the beginning of your story. How did you get introduced to music, and what prompted you to choose it as a career?

James Spaite (JS): My history in music starts with my grandma. I have early memories of laying down under her baby grand piano in Oregon while she would play and trying to take in as much sound as I could with my little ears. I honestly didn’t think I would end up in a career in music. The summer after my freshman year of university, in 2013, I went on a two-week tour in the southwest United States with Hotel Books and Coldsons, then promptly after moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina to study abroad [and] toured in a number of provinces in Argentina. Connecting with people through live performances on those two tours made me realize that it was the right direction. When I came back, I knew it was time to make start taking music seriously.

AXS: Describe yourself as an artist. How does James Spaite make music that's different from other artists?

JS: My creative process is majorly sporadic. Kind of similar to the creation of Frankenstein. I take notes on everything. Conversations with friends about racial inequality. Personal experiences with the way that a cashew tastes if I chew it 30 times instead of five. The colors I see through the leaves when the light shines through. And then over time I piece them together to make coherent songs.

AXS: What should we know about "Soil" specifically?

JS: The thing that stands out to me most about my current project is metaphor. One of my favorite neuropsychologists, Heather Berlin, says that human thinking is entirely dependent on metaphor. So songs that are about soil and trees in reality are about painfully egocentric, racist statements that I have heard communicated to minorities and oppressed groups. I think that metaphor will be one of my favorite aspects about the [forthcoming] record overall - not only the single.

AXS: Is there a particular goal you're aiming for with the single and/or the album it will be a part of?

JS: I hope that audiences take away the importance of togetherness and that amidst differences it is crucial to dignify the humanity of people who are different than they are.

AXS: Do you have any upcoming live performance plans to promote the new music?

JS: To promote “Soil” I just finished a two week tour through Belgium, Germany, Holland, and Hungary. To promote the upcoming album, I'll start back up on tour in October from the border of Canada down to the border of Mexico. The tour is named “We Go Together” and is a journey of homecoming alongside my best friend JR Bishop as he finishes hiking the 2,650 miles from Mexico up to Canada [on the] Pacific Crest Trail. Each show will be oriented around simply being together in a space focused on conversations, music, and connecting.

"Soil" is now available on iTunes. Dates for the "We Go Together" tour have not been finalized yet, but fans can keep an eye on James Spaite's official website for the formal tour announcement.

For more on James Spaite, visit his official website.