Kris James talks new single Naive and how to throw a party in lockdown
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While lockdown for many up-and-coming musicians has been a frustrating period of inactivity, rising star Kris James has done just the opposite.
Between the usual Zoom quizzes and banana bread baking, the Liverpudlian singer-songwriter has been using the time to get fit, keep up regular songwriting sessions, put together a strategy for his debut album and even release a new single, Naïve, which is out today (June 5).
“I thought it was a good idea to come out of [lockdown] with some sort of positive experience,” he told us over the phone. “I thought I would lock myself away, train hard with a virtual personal trainer and stop drinking [alcohol]. I’m always away with family and work, so this is probably the first time in years I’ve had this much time to focus on it. I’ve even picked up skipping!”
When it comes to music, Kris is taking a more is more approach, with six track releases lined up in the build up to his debut album. The latest, Naïve, is a summery, carnival-inspired song that draws on his past popstar life. Before launching his solo career, Kris was a member of boyband The Scheme. “This is a song for all the survivors out there who end up having the last laugh,” he explains.
With over 70 songs recorded for his debut album, called The Highs And Lows Of Love And Life, Kris says lockdown has given him time to focus on the sort of artist he wants to be. “I’ve decided I want [the album] to be very sub-genre,” he explains. “I don’t want it to have one singular sound. It’s all about emotional feelings and life experiences. I don’t think we’re in a situation now where there’s many rules - the way it used to be very box-y and artists would be pinned to one genre.”
As well as music, Kris knows how to throw a party. Inspired by his upbeat new single Naïve, we asked him how throw a summer party during these strange socially-distanced times.
Food: Any tips for easy party food to cook in lockdown?
With this healthy mindset I’ve got myself into, I’m really loving cooking and making sure I know what’s going into my food. The first week of lockdown, because you couldn’t get anything from a supermarket, I was surviving on loaves of spelt bread I’d baked myself, with beans and eggs. It was ridiculously boring! Then Planet Organic announced they were delivering their Munch Fit meals, but they also got boring after a week.
I go for porridge in the morning with a couple of eggs. Lunch is a salad with maybe some sweet potato. I don’t have any carbs in the evening and don’t eat anything after 8pm. I’ve been baking as well – mostly walnut cake and banana bread, but I give them to my 78-year-old neighbour.
Music: How do you set the mood for a party in lockdown?
To be honest with you my mood is all over the place – I think most peoples’ are - so it really depends. I love Sam Fischer’s This City, and if you’re not in the mood for the standard version there’s an amazing dance remix of it by Frank Walker. Other tunes to get on are Doja Cat’s Say So - I love that Nicki - Niall Horan’s No Judgement, and Tequila by Jax Jones and Raye is so good, and Rover by S1mba. I’m discovering so many great songs through TikTok at the moment, which I’ve also signed up to during lockdown.
Drinks: What's the easiest but fanciest drink you can whip up?
Cocktails that are difficult to make are a real buzz kill at home, but Espresso Martinis are so good, not difficult to make and still a bit fancy. Kahlua, Vodka, a shot of double espresso and you’ve got a posh drink. Don’t have any more than three, through.
Games, quizzes and virtual hangouts: how can we keep them interesting?
I’ve done so many House Party and Zoom calls. I even did some method acting lessons on Skype with an actress based in LA. Because I can’t take anything seriously, I thought it was just the weirdest thing ever and very, very intense! I’m not an actor but I’m interested in it. It’s important to get out yourself, especially at the moment.
There is only so many quizzes you can do, isn’t there? I play this game ‘What’s In The Box?’ with my friends and family where I put something in a box and give them clues and people shout out what they think it is. I set it to old-fashioned game music any everything. Trust me, the more you drink, the messier it gets. And then it gets on to karaoke.
Film or Netflix party watch-along: what have you been watching that you would recommend?
I strongly recommend getting your teeth into Hollywood on Netflix. It’s so good – anything Ryan Murphy does is amazing and it’s a real eye-opener about what went on in Hollywood.
Another thing I have a problem with is getting into a regular sleep pattern, so for comfort viewing, the only thing that calms me down is The Vicar Of Dibley. I know that makes me sound so weird, but it’s relaxing and it’s such a great show. I appreciate it a lot more now than when I was a kid.