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'Hello London' Continues to Expand its Musical Vision with 'Breathing In'

(Editor’s Note — James Froese, a former member of the band 'Farewell, Manchester,' is now recording as a solo artist under the name ‘Hello London.’ His recently released new single, ‘Breathing In,’ is out now on the streams, and both musically and lyrically it immediately grabs you and pulls you in. Hello London spoke with 1120 Press recently and we’re thankful for his time. We really enjoyed this conversation, and Hello London’s new music — as well as his album ‘Past Futures’ from a year ago — is worth getting acquainted with. Check it out on the streams. — Photo by Joanna Froese.)

1120 Press: Hey! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. So, let’s start with your new single, 'Breathing In,' which you just released and is now available on the streams. How does it feel having it out there and is there anything you want to tell us about the song?

HELLO LONDON (James Froese): I'm really excited about having this song out there because it's the heaviest song I've done yet for Hello London. I've always wanted this project to have a relatively intense rock side to it and I think this is the first song to truly capture that vibe. A friend of mine named Ryan Markiewicz mixed the song and I think he nailed the sound I was going for. There is a general angst and uncertainty underriding society since the COVID lockdowns and I wanted to get a little of that sentiment across. There was a huge 'positive mindset' movement leading up to COVID and I sometimes wonder if that backfired and now people are kind of left wondering, ‘what's going on?’ So that was a thought that I wanted to get across in the song and it felt good to create something a little more honest.

1120: This single is coming out on the heels of your album, 'Past Futures,' which was released last year. Is this new single an indication that there’s a follow-up album in the works? And if so, how's the writing process going?

HL: There is definitely a follow-up album in the works. I have a batch of songs that are

finished and ready to go and a few that are written but have yet to be recorded. The

process has been similar in regards to recording and mixing but I think I'm growing in that regard. There are so many different directions that I could take the project and I'm still feeling out my influences and seeing what works and what I want to move away from. I think the general vibe is more rock and less pop, but everything is still relatively mainstream.

1120: You worked on 'Breathing In' with Doug White at Watchmen Studios, someone you have worked with a few times over the last two years. Can you talk about that relationship and what it brings to your work?

HL: I recorded 'Breathing In' at my home studio and had it mixed by Ryan Markiewicz. Doug White did the mastering. He mixed a couple of songs on 'Past Futures' and mastered the whole album. I've been very fortunate to work with him and really impressed with how quickly and efficiently he works. It's been great to have feedback from someone as knowledgeable as he is and he brings a great, positive vibe to the workflow which is awesome to have.

1120: Prior to performing as 'Hello London,' you were in the band 'Farewell, Manchester,' as well as other past bands. What’s it like for you working as a solo artist as opposed to working in a band in terms of both process and experience? And now that you've been releasing music as a solo artist, do you ever see yourself returning to a band?

HL: I think as a songwriter I needed an opportunity to get back into a groove by working by myself. It's very easy for me to see the vision for what I want to do musically. I've played with bands where I was in a supporting role and that was great too. I enjoy playing music with others and the energy that having a full band brings, but for now I am content to keep this as a solo project. Hopefully in the future I can add musicians that are cool with following the vision for the project, and turn this thing into something bigger, but if it stays as a solo project for the entire duration of Hello London, that's fine too. The process is totally different. A solo artist can work really fast, which is nice. There is no interference with different ideas so there's more artistic freedom. Scheduling is way easier too. I could have 'band' practice on break at work in my car if I really wanted to. I think depending on where you are in life, it can be a good thing. There are times where playing in a band can be what you want from life and society. For me right now I like what I'm doing.

1120: Your music seems to include a wide span of influences, but at the same time, you have a unique sound that seems to be completely your own. Can you talk about where it might come from/how it all comes together?

HL: I just write the song that I'm feeling. Sometimes I'm influenced by pop bands, sometimes it's more rock. As long as it's me writing and singing, I feel that I can dip my toe in different genres and still have it sound coherent. This is a good example of how being in a band could limit my writing to staying within the image of the band, but as a solo artist you can play different styles and still have it be your own. Or at least that's how it seems to me.

1120: By the way, maybe this is just us, but 'Hello London' and 'Farewell, Manchester'... Do you hold some type of affinity for The Smiths?

HL: Ha! Yes, you got me, I love The Smiths and that's exactly where those names come from.

1120: What’s Hello London up to this summer?

HL: I just played Kenmore Porchfest, which was something I've been really excited about since I've never played a porchfest. After that I will be writing and recording more songs and planning my single and album releases.

8. Anything else you like to add?

HL: I think that pretty much sums it up. Thanks for the great questions!


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