Recently featured in our Back-To-School 2013 Q&A, James Rose has had a very busy Spring and Summer. His quintet, Vive, has been featured on BBC Radio & Television, made several English festival dates, and just returned from a tour of Luthania. I wanted to catch with James about the new CD, Vive Deluxe, on Encanta Records that expands the EP released earlier this year by six more songs. Plus, we have discussion about the talk tour and songwriting. First up, here’s the video for the song “Tabula Rasa”, written by Rose and Sam Robson (lead vocal here), and from Vive Deluxe.
JW: So you’ve added six new tracks to the ‘Album’ released earlier this year. What’s the tracklisting?
JR: Vive: Deluxe is twice as large, remastered and offers a very wide palette of a cappella sounds, all coming from the Vive voice (6-part close harmony, one female & five male line-up)! I am (might I humbly submit) VERY excited to be launching the album this month, we are all so proud of it. The track listing is as follows:
1) Let Me Think About It
3) Ezekiel Saw De Wheel
4) All That You Are
6) Kiss From A Rose
7) Troubles We Find
8) Tabula Rasa
9) Your Motivation
11) Show Me
JW: How was the tour of Lithuania and Edinburgh Fringe Fest this past summer? Any upcoming mini-tours being planned?
JR: The tour was exhilarating; to be able to perform almost daily with such a close family of people was a true delight. Lithuania was as much a holiday as it was work; there were some truly unforgettable moments during the two tours. The next big tour for us is our involvement in the London Jazz Festival this November, where we will be performing in some exciting London-based venues (The Barbican Centre and The Forge to name a few), keep your eyes on www.vivevocals.com or www.facebook.com/vivevocals for the full list (tba soon)!!
JW: Are all of you still in university or graduated now? How does that affect the time for group practicing, recording, etc?
JR: Some of us have now crept out of university into musician-life, but a good portion of us are still students for a year or two more! Group practice and recording can easily get affected by daily business and life obligations, but we are all dedicated to Vive, often putting rehearsal above anything else! Personally, I dropped out of Guildhall School of Music with a year to go for many reasons, the most prevalent being a hand injury I have been suffering from, preventing me from playing my primary instrument of study (piano). The last few months have been a struggle for me physically to try and recover, but it has given me time to find new musical outlets and focus even more intensely on my a cappella career! I am thankfully on the mend, and hope to continue a different branch of study starting this month at another uni.
JW: It’s clear that your lyrics espouse a belief in a higher power or God (I hear this is Sam’s lyrics as well). However, your song presentation has never seemed ‘heavyhanded’ to me, as you’re ‘preaching’. Would you say that you’re a fundamentalist Christian or just someone who believes in something greater than himself?
JR: I have always drawn inspiration lyrically and musically from the great Christian lineage of a cappella music. My writing is not ‘heavyhanded’, but instead ‘spiritual’ and often ‘uplifting’ in message. I keep the religious orientation of my music intentionally ambiguous, especially considering Vive has six individuals with their own beliefs! Arguably, music itself is a ‘greater power’ capable of influencing emotions, and a cappella is the instrument we use to explore these messages and sentiments!