Kickin’ It Old School With Galen James

by Alysha Kaye Mendez on February 22, 2017 in Entertainment, Music, Living Texas, Austin,
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Remember when music was recorded on tape — a few takes, in the moment, no digital sound effects with a million computerized edits along the way? Galen James, who recently moved to Austin to be a part of the Live Music Capital of the World, remembers, and wants to recapture that purity.

love-bad-news-back-mayeb-copy“That’s how The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix did it — they were great musicians and I don’t want people to lose sight of that,” he said. “It takes a lot of work, and you have to be really solid, but it sounds a lot warmer — a band, exactly as they truly are.”

Galen is the real deal — he’s even worked with Doug Messinger, the guitarist for Van Morrison, to create his Pop-Jazz fusion analog tape masterpiece.

“We actually used the same tape recorder used by Pink Floyd for ‘The Wall,’” he said. “It took an entire year — and I also recorded the whole thing and put it up on YouTube. It’s easier to use a computer and a mouse and move things around — you can do a thousand takes just singing one line. That sort of thing doesn’t happen on tape. You have to rewind, manually turn up the knobs, and restart the whole thing over again.”

73390_10101229768540902_1892573758_n-copy-2When he’s not trying to bring back the transparency of music, the jazz studies major is teaching piano, jazz theory, and voice lessons at Eastside Music on 5th Street.

He’s played on Rainey Street, at Lucky’s Lounge, Speakeasy, and more eclectic spots all over Austin — and is lining up more shows currently.

If you haven’t looked this guy up yet — do it! His style is truly hard to place, which is awesome — you’re not sure what genre you’re listening to, but the jazzy undertones are amazing. The only close comparison that I can make is Jason Mraz.

“All my music is about my life, which is one of the difficult things about it — there are a lot of emotions artists can tap into, which makes playing very difficult sometimes,” he explained. “But I like challenging myself, that’s why I recorded on tape.”