MP3 James Gary - zen SLAP
This debut release from one of Australia''s finest singer/songwriters consists of melodic, dynamic, classy alternative rock songs with thought provoking lyrics, sung with all the intensity his character-filled voice can muster.
7 MP3 Songs
ROCK: 70''s Rock, POP: Beatles-pop
''An absolutely gorgeous, powerful voice.
An interesting and unique artist.''
''Very well crafted, utterly musical and superbly melodic.
The music is damned good; I was moved by it and other people will be also.''
- Roger Sommers
''zen Slap, as a concept, to me is like having two understandings in your head that live in different, separate regions. You''ve never had a thread connecting them together until one day something happens or somebody says something that joins the two ideas. It''s like a slap in the face, a moment of awakening.''
James Gary has set on a path of his very own. Having established himself as a leading songwriter in the Australian music scene via such bands as Waiting for Venus and The Bite, James and his band The Resistance have their sights set firmly on creating their own niche in international markets. zen Slap is the debut EP... and the awakening of a new singer/songwriter.
With the demise of Adelaide''s industrial metal band Waiting for Venus at the end of 1999, James Gary found himself with an overflowing pool of new material and without a vehicle for expression.
After taking 6 months off to simply recharge, reflect and plan, Gary set about crafting the raw, acoustic sounds that spawned over 30 new songs for his repertoire. "I deliberately wrote every song on my acoustic. I wanted to be able to perform them all, either on my own, with an orchestra or everything in between. I believe that that is the mark of a good song - one person, one guitar, one voice."
Gary began playing solo shows around Adelaide, including the famous Governor Hindmarsh Hotel and showcases like the Australian Songwriters Association''s Wax Lyrical National Bus Tour. All designed to hone and flesh out the strongest material, he worked his new tunes to the delight of punters who danced and sang to Gary''s punchy rhythms and catchy choruses in the smoky atmosphere of the bar.
Early in 2001, Gary got back in touch with drummer Darren Lee, Waiting for Venus'' second and former W4V bass player, Brendan Moerman to play a number of three-piece shows around Adelaide''s East and West Ends.
Let''s Do It.
In December 2001, the trio whittled down and worked up 10 tracks to be recorded at Mixmasters Studio in June 2002, whilst Gary also painstakingly sifted through keyboard ideas at his home studio, SAmplifier.
In early 2002, Gary, Lee and Moerman entered the studio under the guidance of Brett Taylor, Mixmasters'' incumbent studio manager to lay the foundations of what was to become zen SLAP.
"It was a really easy process, in hindsight," says Gary. All bed tracks, drums, bass and guide acoustic and vocal went down in one day, with Darren nailing the drum tracks in one or two takes for each song. I knew that it was unlikely we would use every song on the release and I was prepared to leave some in the bank, which is what happened eventually."
It was to be a frustratingly slow process from there, however, with Gary needing to find extra funds and finish keyboard arrangements, as well as finesse with lyrical detail ad-nauseum. It was to be two months before Gary returned alone to complete what was thought to be the strongest track, Gossamer. "I think my biggest fear when going into the studio is having a day when nothing really works and wasting all that time and money. Thankfully, that never happened once. Brett and I recorded all parts for Gossamer as well as guitars and keyboards for Stranger Than Fiction. We then mixed Gossamer down and I took it away with me that night intent on shopping it around," says Gary.
Once again, Gary was not prepared to hurry back in to complete the project without the necessary preparation mileage behind him. It was at this point that he started looking around for the right people to help record the remaining tracks. On board came Andrew Eldridge on guitar, the brother of manager, Damien, Sam White (former Vendetta guitarist and now working on a soundtrack/animation contract with Channel Nine''s ''The Footy Show'')and Ritsuko of E-Type Jazz lent her expertise on piano. And so in the week leading up to Christmas 2002, zen SLAP was completed, adding one more track to the intended six track release (This Thing Could Go Either Way) just for good measure. "I really had to push to get ''This Thing'' on there. It was more a matter of time and economics than anything else. I really wanted to make it seven tracks, pushing the CD into the realm of not quite an album, more than just an EP. (This lead Scott from Radio 5PBA to dub zen SLAP an ''albumette''. I''m really glad it made it and since the release it has proven to be many people''s favourite much to my surprise," says Gary.
It was perhaps the very last take of the EP, which brought the most enjoyment and satisfaction to Gary. "Everything was pretty much down and so the Coopers Ale had been flowing freely that final evening. Brendan, Brett and a very reluctant Damien donned headphones with me and recorded the backing harmonies for Murphy''s Law Enforcement Agency. It was a real release from the pressures of most of the process and at the same time a celebration of what we had achieved. It was definitely one of my favourite memories. I wish beer was always that helpful but unfortunately, singing and beer are not compatible - unless you''re at the cricket!"
After collecting a swag of accolades for his debut EP, James is currently tuning up over 50 new songs on the table for his debut album due in the latter half of 2005
* Gossamer, track 1 of the new EP, is awarded 5th place in the 2002 Australian Songwriters Association Competition, making it two top 5 positions in the past two years for James with https://www.tradebit.comersex coming in at #4 in 2001.
* James attracts strong interest from commercial radio in pre-release copy of ''Gossamer'' from his debut EP, zen SLAP
* James Gary and the Resistance, comprising of Darren Lee (BB Steele -Sydney/Kickstart), and brothers Andrew (guitar) and Matt (Bass) Eldridge play to enthusiastic crowds in Melbourne and Geelong Feb 2003
* James Gary awarded a spot on the 2002 Music Business Adelaide''s
Eat the Street Live Performance Showcase
* Awarded an Arts SA Recording Assistance and Marketing Grant - December 2001