Do you get interviewed often? No
Is this going to come across well? Hopefully (I'm not pretentious I swear)
Should we do some quickfire questions to set the scene? Probably for the best!
Who are you? I’m James Biss (I go by either of those names) a musician/model/creative from Cardiff, South Wales, UK. I’m one half of the band James and the Cold Gun.
What do you do for a living? I’ve had a lot of random jobs, I’ve worked at an ice rink, been a tour guide, moved luggage for cruise ships, but currently I’m working full time on my band with only two side hustles: teaching guitar and being a TV and film extra
What shows have you worked on? I’ve done a fair bit over the past few years but to name a few: Sex Education, Doctor Who, Top Boy (and a whole load of period dramas!)
I bought one of those galaxy projector lights from an Instagram ad… (sometimes they catch me in that mood)
Biggest modelling gig? I shot for Bring Me The Horizon up in Sheffield for the amo album cycle!
Last 3 photographers you worked with?
Abdullah Yahia/ @aurcut : Also the first photographer I ever worked with, crazy vision, best mate from then till this day
Jamie Cortez/ @j_w_cortez : Me and Jamie have been through a lot together, amazing photographer who pushed me out of my comfort zone
Feisal El Khazragi/ @feisalvisual : Incredible photographer and musician in his own right
What can you see right now? I’m currently sat at a makeshift desk in my room 3 floors up on the top of a cliff, the sun is up and seagulls are flying back and forth outside the window. On a clear day I can just about see the Prince of Wales bridge, today though, the shapes are buried in a layer of cloud, I might be luckier later on.
What are you listening to atm? New albums by The Dirty Nil and Joe Vann, would recommend!
Last impulsive purchase? About two weeks ago I bought one of those galaxy projector lights from an Instagram ad… (sometimes they catch me in that mood). It arrived the other day and is actually great to nap to, I wanted to make my room look more interesting on camera, but I’m yet to do that so far haha.
Yeah, let’s go a bit deeper
What would you be doing if the world wasn’t fucked right now? I like to think I’d be touring somewhere in Europe, in the back of a van with my best mates, 3hrs drive away from the next venue. Probably tired and hungry but having the best time of my life. Some of my favourite memories are from touring the UK and Europe with the purpose of playing a show every night, meeting people I would never cross paths with outside of music and seeing places I would never be able to see without it. Thats what I’m missing most at the moment, part of it is being able to perform my music and the other half is that human connection that has almost completely been shut off for us, I hope both return soon.
Is that your biggest passion? I do a lot of things for fun, but without a doubt my ultimate passion is music. If I believed we all had a set purpose in life, then that would definitely be mine. I play guitar every day, whether it is to learn a new song, or write something new or I’m figuring out an exercise to help someone learn how to play barre chords. That’s definitely something I can’t live without. If I had to bring something to a desert island (aside from anything useful to survive) I’d have to bring an acoustic guitar with some spare strings haha. Music for me is just completely universal, I have a YouTube channel that I upload acoustic arrangements to and there’s people from all around the world who comment and watch. For something that I do for fun, the amount of times I’ve had to use google translate to read and reply to people still amazes me, it's a great feeling.
When did you start in music? I always remember singing, my earliest memories are singing to the old Disney animated films (Tarzan, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats) or marching around the edge of a large carpet singing to Elvis. I did all the school plays while I still had a high-pitched voice. Around 9/10 years old, I was fortunate enough to get piano lessons for a couple of years but when I went to big school I started on classical acoustic guitar and quickly moved to electric guitar when I was 13 or so. When I turned 20 I started learning drums too!
First band? I was enlisted for a school band the very same year I started electric guitar, I wasn’t so good at that point but we played during the Christmas assembly and set up gigs at the local youth club kind of place. That grew into my first band “Monkeys in Human Suits”, the name wasn’t my idea haha. Since 2006 I’ve always been in bands, I’ve written a lot of shitty songs but I’ve finally got to a place where I feel I’m writing my favourite music as part of my favourite band.
What are you working on now? As of today (29/01/21) I’m gearing up to release new music with James and the Cold Gun, we’re finalising a video directed and shot by the amazing Costa sisters, to release with our best music yet, recorded with full time geezer and Grammy award winning producer Adrian Bushby (Foo Fighters, My Bloody Valentine, Spice Girls). Despite the dire state the music industry has been left in from Brexit and our governments failures throughout this pandemic I’m beyond excited to release this and I’m looking forward to touring as soon as physically possible! I’m lucky enough to live with my band mate James Joseph, we met about 5 years back and I ended up joining this hardcore band he had at the time, it was short lived but afterwards we realised we worked really well together, so we started Cold Gun together, now we’re best mates, band mates and housemates
What does it sound like? One of my biggest influences is Queens of the Stone Age, but I’d chuck in Death From Above 1979 and The Hives too. I love high energy music, riffs and all that comes with it! Check it out if you’re curious.
What's important to you? I think it’s essential to stop and ask yourself that question regularly. (Obviously this can depend on your home and environmental circumstances) but I think a lot of people get so wrapped up in their work lives that they forget what brings them joy, life can be so fast paced and the last thing I’d want to do is wake up from a haze in 10 years and wonder what I did with my 20’s and why I worked my life away for someone else. Time is so precious to me, there are a lot of things that I would sacrifice to be able to live on my own terms. I don’t necessarily desire to be rich and famous, so to travel more, create music and be supported by that is my ultimate goal. Also, to live kindly, being environmentally conscious and having a fully plant-based diet helps me with that!
Where can we find you? Instagram: @jbiss @andthecoldgun
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeTigzQEonjLzBX-iWXqSow (I have a channel full of acoustic covers if you want to hear something softer)
Any closing remarks?
Thanks to anyone who stayed to the end of my self-absorbed ramble, you've done wonders for my ego. And don't take yourself too seriously, there's plenty of time to do that later x
All photos by: Abdullah Yahia IG: @aurcut