1883 Magazine

Meet James Hersey, the Austrian-American artist who elegantly combines electro music with pop elements. Born and raised in Austria’s capital city Vienna, the multi-talented musician has been in the German and Austrian charts several times already and can brag about successful collaborations with Dillon Francis and Kygo.

He recently unveiled his latest EP ‘Pages’, an authentic project with soulful yet hook-driven songs. We caught up with James and had a chat about the music industry in Vienna, his relationship with Milky Chance and his Spotify playlist.

Hey James, quickly introduce yourself to those who don’t know you and your sound?

My name is James. I was born in Vienna, Austria and I’m half American. That’s why I sound like I’m totally American (joking). I have been writing songs for myself since a young age, and also write for other people now.

What would have been your Plan B if your music career hadn’t worked out?

I started when I was 17 and knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. If not, I would have done something related. As a kid I always wanted to be a marine biologist, but obviously not anymore.

Coming from Vienna, did you find it difficult to emerge as an artist internationally?

Yes, it was difficult for sure! I don’t know if it was because of the city, or the music they make but it wasn’t an easy place. You know that people don’t speak English, or at least not everyone understands it so it’s hard for them to understand the songs, and they have no idea what I’m talking about.

Tell us about your new Pages EP. What’s your personal favourite song of it?

My favourite song is the last song, Pages. I don’t think it’s the single or anything but it was a real moment that I captured nicely and the production came out so strange.

What is your approach when writing or producing a new song?

If I find something that I really vibe with, then that’s cool and I play it to myself a couple of times. I think “what could this song be” and that’s how I start.

You already toured with the likes of Milky Chance, among others. How did that connection come about, and did you learn anything from them?

We met at the Ray Ban Polarized tour in 2013, at the sound check. We were singing to each other backstage and hang out all the time. Then we decided we have to go on tour together or something. We are still skyping like every week. I will also see them in California next week!

If we could have a look at your private playlist, what kind of artists and songs would we find on there?
I have a shuffle mix on my Spotify playlist. There is a pretty diverse mix of music on there. What I have just added is for example Yung Hurn, an artist from Vienna.

Is there anyone you look up to music-wise?

Yeah I really look up to Stromae at the moment. He makes a really dope mix of electronic and pop music.


So you played at the Great Escape in Brighton, was it your first time? How was the experience?
It was my first time indeed. It was fun to be on stage but we had to do sound checks at different places and there was pouring rain! So we had to run around places, do a sound check and then go back and do a show, it was crazy.

Where are you headed to next?
So we are on tour right now, doing 9 shows in one week. We have shows in the Netherlands, Luxembourg and so on. Next I’m going to Los Angeles for a festival, and doing a couple shows. So yeah, it’s going pretty well! It’s been very busy.

Have you got any plans for this year?

Definitely! I have pretty two interesting collaborations coming up, then I have written and recorded a bunch of new music. And I will definitely release another EP.


James’s EP Pages is out now via this link. For all is latest news head to www.jamesherseymusic.com

 Interview Antonia Künzel

Photography Yoshi Kono

Grooming Evan Huang

Shot at The Light Lounge London

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