James Shelley is the lead guitar player in a band featured in Billboard, AMP and on VH1 – The Blue Pages. This Tripper, ice climber and current Chinese tv show host is the our interviewee in the Tripping Musicians interview series….
What inspires your music?
Everything inspires music. Music inspires music, life, news, the world, people, relationships all inspire music.
How long have you lived in NYC and how has living there influenced you as a musician?
The Blue Pages moved to NYC 2 years ago and it has been extremely influential on us. There are 100′s and 100′s of bands here. When I first moved to NYC I was overwhelmed by all the music. Eventually, we started taking in all the music and culture here and really started to adapt life in NYC to our music.
Did you always know you wanted to create music as a career?
Yes we have all loved playing music since we were kids.
Have there been moments in your career when you’ve had to pinch yourself to make sure it was really happening?
Oh yeah these last two months I’ve definitely had to pinch myself to make sure it was really happening. For instance, in the last two weeks VH1 has done a few small specials on The Blue Pages by showing our picture and playing our song, which is really weird to see and hear yourself on TV.
What would your fans be surprised to learn about you?
Probably that we are all pretty adventurous. We go hang gliding, surfing, rock climbing and more all together. Also, maybe that we love traveling and cultural exchange hence the reason my singer and I signed up for Tripping.
What has been your coolest encounter with a fan so far?
Haha – this is a hard question. Actually, we don’t really look at “fans” as fans. Once we meet, we’re more like friends. How can I not like and be a friend of someone who supports me going after my dreams by playing music? If I were to have to pick, I guess it would be when some of our friends made a 14 hour round trip to see us play.
Is there a connection between travel and music?
There is definitely a connection between music and traveling; both are eye opening experiences. I mean music in the international language. There is something so special and eye-opening about when you can share music with someone that is not of your background or culture. It really makes the way you look at playing music differently. Whether you know it or not, traveling will definitely influence the songs you write or how you play your instrument; it forces you to look at your instrument a little different manner than you had in the past.
I remember randomly stumbling upon these musicians in some small mountain town in northern India. We did not speak the same language, yet they still let me sit down with them. Then one handed me an instrument and we started playing some music together. I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life.
If someone were to Trip with you in NYC, where would you take them?
I would immediately take them away from Times Square and explain to them if they want a local feel of NYC then they need to get away from Times Square. I would take them to Williamsburg, East Village, or the Lower East Side, to show them the artsy part of New York. I love showing people the neighborhoods they most likely would not find on their own like Williamsburg; that is where all the musicians, artist, actors, photographers, etc. live. Also, I would show them the local favorite cuisines like fette sau, crif dogs, artichoke, and more; I know its not the healthiest food, but it’s what locals eat.
Traveling to NYC and wanna hang out with James, maybe catch one of his shows? Connect with him via his Tripping profile.