Richard James (musician)

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This article is about the Welsh musician. For Richard D. James, the musician with the pseudonym Aphex Twin, see Aphex Twin.

Richard James is a guitarist, bassist and singer-songwriter from Pembrokeshire, Wales. He was a founder member of the band Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, who split up in 2006. He performs and records as a solo artist, and more recently as part of the band Pen Pastwn.[1]


James was with Gorky's Zygotic Mynci throughout the band's lifespan, from 1991 to 2006, and appears on all their albums, initially mostly as a bassist. After John Lawrence left the band, James took Lawrence's place as guitarist. James wrote, and handles lead vocals on, some later Gorky's songs.

His first solo album, The Seven Sleepers Den, which appeared in 2006, is a conceptual piece of work which revolves around the singer's macabre fixation with corpses.[citation needed]

His second album was released on 21 June 2010 from Gwymon Records. Called We Went Riding, it features the talents of Euros Childs and Cate Le Bon.[2]

In late 2010 James was approached by Casio to endorse their XW-P1 performance syntheseizer. James turned down the offer citing that he didn't "like its colour".

In April 2012, James released his third album, Pictures In The Morning, also on Gwymon Records. The label calls it "a return to quieter, more intimate music."[1] The album features James's signature acoustic finger-picking and "the occasional sorrowful violin line";[3] stylistically, it's a return to the "earthily psychedelic folk-rock" of The Seven Sleepers Den.[4] As James prefers, the album was recorded in various rooms of houses, rather than a recording studio.[1] Former Gorky's bandmate Euros Childs again contributed backing vocals on three tracks and on another track where Childs contributed by whacking a dogs squeaky toy against his forehead to the rhythm of the beat (which he insisted should be recorded using an expensive high quality vintage condenser microphone at close range as well as microphones dotted around the room to achieve that 'room-sound').[5]

James curates the musical sides of both the annual Laugharne Weekend festival, and the more frequent In Chapters, a Cardiff-based music and literary event. His band Pen Pastwn evolved from the In Chapters house band.[1]

Pen Pastwn are planning to release a 45-track "silent" album - all 45 tracks will have nothing but pure silence on them.[1]

In the summer of 2014, James was rumoured to have bitten off the headstock of a Taylor 114E electro-acoustic guitar in a Guinness-fuelled rage before placing the guitars body on a busy Cardiff road for it to be run over by oncoming traffic. These rumours, however, are unsubstantiated and should not be taken as gospel.[citation needed]

Following a chance-meeting in County Tyrone with Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams which ended up in an all-night Poitín drinking session - James has committed to recording a concept album of Irish Rebel Songs entitled 'Come Out, Ye Black and Tans'. If the musician honours his contract the album should see the light of day and be released sometime in 2015.

Solo Discography[edit]

  • The Seven Sleepers Den (2006)
  • We Went Riding (21 June 2010)
  • Pictures In The Morning (23 April 2012)


  1. ^ a b c d e [1] Gwymon
  2. ^ [2] Wales Online
  3. ^ [3][dead link] The MMP: The definitive guide to music in Wales
  4. ^ [4] The Line of Best Fit
  5. ^ [5] Artrocker

External links[edit]

  • In Chapters, the event with music curated by James; the site also has information about his band Pen Pastwn
  • Richard James on Myspace: mostly about his 2010 album We Went Riding