Singer-songwriter Gavin James told David Hennessy why he wanted to remind people they are not alone with his new song Man on the Moon, how we all have to look after each other a bit more in these times and why he is probably the reason Temple Bar lost its cobble stones.
Achieving phenomenal global success, Gavin James has been one of Irish music’s biggest breakout stars of recent years.
Gavin’s latest single, Man on the Moon is released just in time for Christmas and has a powerful message for anyone feeling isolated or alone in this times.
Gavin told The Irish World: “I tried to picture someone on the moon, thinking that they are all alone and not realising that the whole world is thinking about them.
“I think a lot of people now feel quite lonely. I wrote it about my missus because my missus moved over here from London so she’s living over here with me now in Dublin and it’s just a strange time to move over here and try and make friends when the whole world is kind of closed.
“I envisioned the man on the moon as if he’s just up there by himself being like, ‘Ah f**k, I’m by myself on the moon’. But the whole world is thinking about you but you don’t know it until someone tells you.
“It’s about looking after the people you love because some days, they may feel like they have no one to talk to. Just looking after your mates, looking after your loved ones, looking after everyone because everybody needs a bit more looking after now.
“In particular this year, people might feel more disconnected than usual from their friends and family. This song is a gentle reminder that you are never alone”.
The song’s gentle reminder that physical distance does not have to break the bonds we have comes at a time when many are unsure if they will be able to get home for Christmas.
“I know a lot of people that can’t come home for Christmas. My sister won’t be able to come home for Christmas. She’s in London. It sucks if you’re away and you can’t get home. I know a lot of people in London that can’t get back.
“We definitely need to make sure everybody’s alright at Christmas so if you know anybody who’s by themselves- I’m going to call as many people as I can.”
This could easily be Gavin himself as he only moved back to Dublin in the second half of 2019.
“I was living in London for two and a half years. It would have felt a bit weird to not be home for Christmas. I don’t think I’ve ever not stayed in me ma and da’s gaff for Christmas.
From gigging in Temple Bar, Gavin would go onto sign his record deal when he was still only 21, he is still only 29.
His debut album, Bitter Pill was released in 2016 and reached number five in the Irish charts and his 2018 follow-up Only Ticket Home reached number two.
How has he got through lockdown? “It’s mad. You might wake up one day and have all the motivation in the world to do everything and then the next day you’re just like, ‘F**k everything. I’ve definitely done a lot more writing because of the lack of gigs but it’s been a blessing and a curse.
“The first movie I watched was Contagion. Don’t watch that. Terrible idea. I think I watched it the first week of all this. Terrifying.
“It seems like it’s nearly coming to the end of it anyway. We’ll get back to normal. It would be great to get people back to work and everybody feeling good. Going outside and hugging everybody would be a nice change of pace.”
Although he had a full album ready to go at the start of the year, all the writing he has done since means he will have to re-evaluate.
“I’ve never had so much time to write songs. Overall, I think I’ve finished 80 or 90 tunes. I have to whittle them down to ten songs and then see where I am. I don’t know what I’m going to do next year. I might end up doing two consecutive albums. I’m not too sure. I’ll find out in January. I’ll have a sit down, listen through the madness I’ve cooked up this year and see which ones are sh*t and which ones are not sh*t.”
His video Glow showcased all the beauty and madness of the Temple Bar we know but Gavin says it looks very different right now.
“Nothing there now. Even when the pubs opened, there was only a few of them open. I think most of the pubs in Temple Bar are going to close up until 2021. It seems like that.
“There’s no cobble stones anymore which is really annoying. I love the cobble stones. The amount of times I’ve fallen over on the cobble stones after a few pints. Maybe that’s why they’re getting rid of them: To stop people like me falling over and smacking their head.”
Gavin organised drive-thru gigs for July in his bid to get the live music industry back to work in a safe way.
Was he disappointed when these shows were cancelled? “It’s grand. It is what it is. We’ll figure out another way to get people back. You never know, summer could be festival time. Fingers crossed. You can’t squeeze into Whelan’s at the moment. Eventually we can get all sweaty and hug each other in Whelan’s.
“I see in New Zealand they’ve started doing arena gigs again. It just looks great. I can only imagine what it feels like to play for a big room of people now after not having done it for such a long time. It’s going to be amazing. That’s the one thing I miss the most, the gigs.”
Gavin has played fundraisers at the London Irish Centre in the past and is keen to get back to London when circumstances allow.
“I do love a London gig. The last gig I did was Shepherd’s Bush. That was mad. I miss all the chicken. There’s loads of different types of chicken in London that I love.”
Man on the Moon is out now.
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